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Posts Tagged ‘self-esteem’

Esteemed

I found some old church newsletters I’d written little articles for a half dozen years back and thought I’d recycle some through here.  Hope you find them encouraging.  Here’s one from July 2004:

Everybody’s thinking about self-esteem
On talk shows, Oprah knows she read it in a magazine
‘Cause we don’t like ourselves so much
We just need to feel the touch
Of someone who’ll accept us in our need
(from “Nothing to Hide” words & music by Geoff Moore & Phil Madeira)

 

Some time ago I heard a pastor preaching from 1 Peter 2:9-12.  One of his points (in talking about us as a purposed, chosen people) is that we are precious. Then he said something which has stuck with me – all our worries about self-esteem go back to the old sin, namely, focusing on ourselves.

We’ve probably all heard the description that the word “sin” revolves around the letter “i” and that “I” (ie. selfishness and doing self’s will rather than God’s) is the root of all sin.

So here’s a new spin. As Christians we know that glorifying ourselves and worrying over how good (in other’s eyes) we are is wrong. But we’ve generally bought into the worldly way of thinking in that we sill need a healthy self-esteem.  I’d like to propose that we do not need a healthy self-esteem!  We need a God-esteem!  [editor’s note: Wherein the first word “self” or “God” is the source of the esteem.]

The problem with self-esteem is that no matter how humble we try to be, we are still focusing on us.  What we do, our looks, our money, our success, our good deeds, our prayer life, our acts of service.  IT’S NOT ABOUT US!  It’s about God!  Who He is!  What He says!

Who is God? Well, in (very) short, God is the omnipotent, omniscient, all good, perfect, loving, just, creative Creator-Redeemer who lovingly created you and I. Not because He was bored or lonely or wanted to experiment. But in love so that we could share in the love and joy of the relationship of the Godhead (Trinity).

So what does God have to say about us?

“the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” Genesis 2:7

“what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?  You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.” Psalm 8:4-5

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:29-31

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

I could easily go on.

In my sociology class in college we learned about two different types of status. The one is achieved status. This is based on what a person does, his or her achievements, and is often the one more highly praised in America. The second is ascribed status. This is based solely on someone giving you a name, a title, a position. We tend to try to achieve status – even in God’s eyes. What we’ve got to realize is that nothing we could could ever say or do can change the love God has for us (see Romans 8:28-39). God has given us a name, His own name, and that is the sole basis of our worth.  We are esteemed!

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1

“But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1 (spoken to God’s chosen people, note our connection through 1 Peter 2)

Again, I could go on.

Let us focus not on what we think about ourselves or what others think about  us. Let us understand just how much God loves us. It’s not because of who we are but because of Who He is! You can’t do anything (no matter how good or “religious” you are) to make Him love you more. And even when you are bad and sinful, He still loves you just the same and still wants to be your Father, bringing you into His family and transforming you.  Do you see it?  It’s not about us, it’s all about Him!

Note Moses’ reminder to the children of Israel,

For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.  The LORD did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples.  But it was because the LORD loved you… (Deuteronomy 7:6-8a)

It’s based on God and God’s love!  There is no higher love, there is no higher esteem!  Know it, believe it, understand it, live it, be content with it.

And be grateful. Love God, serve God, praise God daily.  Not because it is a condition of His love (it’s not) or because it earns us more love (it can’t) or because it gives us more worth (it never could).

When you get up in the morning, look at your matted-haired, bad-breathed, fuzzy-toothed self and know that who you are is who God called you – His child. And know He loves you.

So in the continued words of Geoff Moore (and the Distance),

 

 

 

 

We’ve got nothing to hide, nothing to loose
Nothing to fear, and nothing to prove
He loves us just the way He made us
And no matter how high, no matter how low
No matter how far we still have to go
He loves us just the way He made us
He can’t love you more,
He won’t love you less

 

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