Thursday, April 10, 2008

Self Esteem Issues

Some of us (me included) have self esteem issues. We say to ourselves things like, "I'm not smart enough" or "I'm not as good looking as he or she" or even just "I'm not good enough."

In a world where it often appears to be a matter of survival of the fittest, how we look at ourselves is crucial. But even though we may want to give up on ourselves, there is help...and hope. We can find self esteem in what some call "God esteem."

May we all find that now!

This from Max Lucado's Grace for the Moment, Volume 2:

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. - Ephesians 4:32 NKJV

Our heavenly Father is kind to us. And since he is so kind to us, can’t we be a little kinder to ourselves? Oh, but you don’t know me, Max. You don’t know my faults and my thoughts. You don’t know the gripes I grumble and the complaints I mumble. No, I don’t, but he does. He knows everything about you, yet he doesn’t hold back his kindness toward you. Has he, knowing all your secrets, retracted one promise or reclaimed one gift?

No, he is kind to you. Why don’t you be kind to yourself? He forgives your faults. Why don’t you do the same? He thinks tomorrow is worth living. Why don’t you agree? He believes in you enough to call you his ambassador, his follower, even his child. Why not take his cue and believe in yourself?


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VERSEODE said...

By Andrew Wommack

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God created us to live our lives focused on Him. His purpose from the very beginning was that we should be “God-conscious,” not “self-conscious.” Until Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they were so unconscious of self, they did not even consider their own nakedness. But after their disobedience, they became fully aware of themselves and wanted to hide from God. Their focus had shifted from God to self.

Self-consciousness is just another way of saying self-centeredness, and self-centeredness really is the root of all grief. People grieve for a lot of reasons, but if they really took the time to analyze their grief, they would find that it is always the result of self being deprived of something it wants. So, the answer to dealing with grief can be found in dealing with self. If you can ever get a revelation of this truth, I guarantee you, it will set you free and change your life forever.

For example, there are times when there is a real financial crisis in someone’s life, but most of the time financial problems come from trying to live above one’s means, attempting to fulfill self-centered desires. If you were to look at your situation objectively, not as a typical Westerner but from a world point of view, you would find that at your poorest, you still have more than most of the people on the planet. It’s not that I am against prosperity. I’m not. But it’s important to have the right perspective. If you’re miserable or unhappy over the fact that you don’t have a bigger home, a newer car, or a wide-screen television, something is wrong. It’s our self-centeredness that turns a want into a need and then that need into a personal crisis, which causes us to grieve.

It breaks my heart to see so many Spirit-filled believers acting just as selfishly as the world. Trying to use God to obtain the things they couldn’t get in the world, they’re still focused on what’s in it for them. They either never knew or have forgotten some of the most important scriptures in the Bible concerning finances. Matthew 6:33 says,

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

God has already promised that our needs are met in Him and that they will be added to us as a by-product of seeking His kingdom first. It’s completely unnecessary to focus your attention on trying to get something from God that He has already provided. When you do, it leads you right to the door of self-centeredness.

Even in the case of the death of a loved one, our grief is rooted in our personal loss. We focus on the situation from our point of view. “How can I go on without him or her? I won’t ever see him or her again on earth.” We convince ourselves that we are mourning over the death of this person, but it’s really over how it will affect us. If that person was born again and is now with Jesus, it should be a time to rejoice. Can you imagine the atmosphere of a believer’s funeral if we focused on the one who was with Jesus and what he or she was experiencing, rather than our own self-centered thoughts about what we’re losing? Instead of grieving, what an exciting time of thanksgiving and praise it would be.

Another huge source of grief is the grief that many experience in their relationships with other people. Why, because when you are focused on self, it’s easy to be offended. If you’re experiencing bitterness, hurt, or anger in your relationship with your boss, a friend, or as is most often the case, someone in your own family, God’s Word leaves you no room to misunderstand the reason. Proverbs 13:10 says,

“Only by pride cometh contention.”

This verse makes it clear that pride is the source of all contention. I know there are a lot of people who don’t want to hear this, but it’s not your circumstances nor the personalities involved in your situation that causes you grief; it’s your pride. Pride is not a leading cause of contention; it’s the only cause. However, pride is like a stick—it has two ends.

Most people recognize the one end of arrogance and haughtiness as pride, but fail to see the other end, which is low self esteem resulting in false humility, timidity, or shyness. People who consider themselves timid or shy are really just full of pride. Their low self-esteem causes self to dominate their thoughts. They are so focused on self that all they can think about is what people may think if they say or do something wrong. To protect self, they become timid and shy, causing themselves much grief. If they were asked to give a testimony or lay hands on someone for prayer, their pride would prevent it. They would not take the risk of SELF being criticized.

Those with false humility, on the other hand, believe that to debase self is humility and to exalt self is pride. But that’s wrong too. This is what James 4:10 says,

“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”

What happens when you humble yourself (with the correct understanding of true humility), and God starts to exalt you? The truly humble will let Him, but the proud won’t. They are too concerned about what others think and will try to deflect it by debasing themselves. It’s just another form of pride.

True humility is agreeing with what God’s Word says about who you are and doing what God’s Word says you can do. Then, quit worrying about what people may think, whether they praise you or condemn you. It just doesn’t matter when you are truly humble and dead to self.

I had to work through this very thing when I first started ministering. God used a wise man to set me free when he said, “Andy, if you ever get more concerned about the people you are ministering to than you are about yourself and what they think of you, God will use you!” For that to happen, it meant I had to humble myself and accept the fact that God had a message He wanted me to deliver that would one day help change

the body of Christ’s perception of God. For a man who was so introverted that I could hardly look someone in the eye, I had to die to self and become alive in Christ.

The Apostle Paul says in 2 Timothy 2:11,

“It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him.”

And in Galatians 2:20 we read,

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

These Bible verses teach that we are supposed to be dead to self and alive in Christ. And, if we were really dead, it would be impossible to be offended. Dead people never feel a thing. You can kick them, insult them, or even lie about them, and they just don’t care. They won’t grieve over anything you say about them or do to them, because they’re dead. The reason you are so easily hurt or offended is that you are still alive to self and full of pride.

However, if you begin to focus on becoming dead to self and alive in Christ, you will probably fail. I used to resurrect self every morning in prayer while trying my best to kill it. I confessed all of the sins I thought I had committed: “Pride! Arrogance! Lack of study of the Word!” On and on, it would go until at the end of my devotional time, I had spent the entire time focused on myself. Stupid, stupid!

The correct way to deal with self is to shift your focus. Find someone who needs prayer or ministry. Help them in their situation, and you will find yourself forgetting about your own needs. You’ll also discover that what you thought was so important is really insignificant. Love for another person will always overcome self. It will require that you give yourself away and become a living sacrifice, but it’s worth it.

Romans 12:1 says,

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”

Isn’t it interesting that self-sacrifice is considered by God to be our reasonable service? To do that, you must humble yourself, reject self as “lord,” and lay it on the altar. The only problem with a living sacrifice is that it tends to crawl off the altar. Even if you make this commitment in your heart right now, you’ll have to renew it again tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year. As long as you are here on earth, you will have to make the decision to love Jesus more than self, every day.

We have been lied to about what is important and what will produce the fruit of love, joy, and peace in our hearts. In a day when self is being exalted to the max, understanding the consequences, or the fruit, of self-centeredness is critical. In the end, it will only lead to grief. To help you, I have a booklet called Self-Centeredness: The Root of All Grief. It may ruffle a few feathers, but it will help you understand the truth about self-centeredness. And if you’re willing to apply what you learn, it will set you free from the grief you’re experiencing in your life.

Hi Alex,I thought you may like to see this piece by Andrew Wommack which helped me a lot.God Bless,Mike.

Alexander said...

Thanks verseode! Very helpful!