Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast Episode 058 Building Biblical Self-Esteem
Welcome to the Terri Hitt – Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast
Episode #058 – Building Biblical Self-Esteem
Thank you for entrusting and investing your precious time with me to grow in Jesus together. I am blessed to be back with you to discuss more ways to live with eternal perspective.
I have been blessed over the last five years that we’ve had our youngest daughter home, to help her build self-esteem through who God desires her to be. Neglected for most of her life, learning to view herself with a higher esteem was not easy, and did not come naturally to her. However, once she knew whose she was through the sacrifice of Jesus, viewing herself through His eyes and building worth based on Him became tangible for her.
How do we build biblical self-esteem?
Many of us can think of someone with offensively high self-esteem. We know that often that conceit really masks low esteem of self. Or sometimes that inflated ego is because the person has been gifted with looks, wealth, or power that takes the place of God in their life. A person can begin to wrap identity in items, instead of who God created them to be through Him. Instead of a godly, biblical humility, they can achieve isolation, heartache, suffering, and mistakes or regret.
In the book of Genesis, we learn the story of Cain, who was the first child born to Adam and Eve. Cain’s selfish, jealous heart is revealed when we read about the weak offering he made to the Lord. In contrast, his brother, Abel gave the best he had, exposing his contrite and grateful heart. Cain clearly did not give from a heart full of love and devotion to God. I find it interesting that in Hebrew, the name Cain sounds like the verb translated “I have acquired.” Cain wanted to achieve and collect all he could for himself, then pass the leftovers to God.
Cain carried a secular, inflated self-esteem.
1 John 2:15-17 says, “Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.”
Had Cain built his inflated self-worth and confidence on God and His provisions, he may have carried an attitude and heartset like his brother, Abel, who desired God to receive the very best he had. Abel was pleased to offer a sacrifice made on God’s terms and desires because he held a respectful, honoring, and humble mindset of his position with his Heavenly Father.
Jeremiah 17:7 says, “But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.”
1 Corinthians 2:3-5 says, “I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.”
But can our self-esteem drop too low?
Then, there’s the flip side - those who build their worth on what they have learned the world expects. Some people have self-esteem so low that they are critical of every detail about themselves. Neither type of person is very enjoyable to be around for an extended time. Yet, I understand how easy it is to fall victim and get into the habit of harsh judgement on yourself. When we place more value on what others think of us (or what we perceive them to think), we will never “feel” good enough.
Self-esteem built through this method can be formed through many means. Sometimes it is the way a person is raised. Often it comes from the experiences we had with people we thought were our friends, our accomplishments, talents, financial worth, opportunities, appearance, relationships, spouse, or children.
Living with confidence, appeal, and worth created through a worldly perspective pulls us away from God as we rely on life experiences, people, thoughts, feelings, and emotions to build and inflate our self-esteem. We know culture and trends change quickly. Esteem for self through this method finds few highs and usually settles into depressing lows.
When we do not cling to the Lord and view or respect ourselves as He sees us, we miss the opportunity to experience life with the fullness God purposed for us.
We are each specially designed by God. He highly values us, no matter what we think of Him.
Psalm 139:13-16 says, “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”
What do we do if we do not want to possess or project a bloated self-esteem, yet we do not desire to live with low or no confidence? How do we build esteem for self that biblically follows what God desires for us?
Jesus was the perfect example of living with confidence in God, not self.
Romans 12:3 says, “Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.”
Jesus lived with the humble mind and heart of a servant. His only desire was to bring glory to the Father. Jesus placed the truth of who God is foremost in His life and obeyed every call made for Him. Glory was not something He craved or chased. Jesus lifted all praise, worship, honor, and glory to God. Yet, Jesus is worthy of living a life of high self-esteem. As the word is defined, self-esteem means a favorable impression of oneself or an inordinately or exaggeratedly favorable impression of oneself. Jesus could never live with an over-inflated ego, because He is worthy of everything. Yet, Jesus is our perfect model of exactly how God desires our esteem to be built.
Philippians 2:3-11 says, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
2 Corinthians 10:17 says, “As the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord.”
Through the life model Jesus left for us to follow, He demonstrated perfect humility, love, and obedience that can only exist through the strength of God.
Esteem others more highly than yourself.
Ephesians 4:17-32 says, “So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.
“That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in Him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.
“In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
This can seem impossible. People will always let us down somehow. They hurt us, offend us, and betray us. It isn’t always strangers. Sometimes it is our spouse, child, parent, extended family member, a co-worker, or someone we considered to be a best friend.
Yet, there is hope and healing through Jesus. Apart from Him we can do none of this. Jesus is our model for forgiveness. If He forgave each one of us, you and me, for all we have or will do, we can learn to forgive others. Eventually, we can even view them as worthy in Christ’s eyes and heart.
Only through a personal relationship with Jesus can we achieve the mindset of Christ, which removes the “self” from our esteem and shifts it to Christ and all He made. We then understand the following important life shifts.
1. Only God is perfect.
2. Each one of us is a sinner who can only be saved by the grace of Jesus.
3. As we mature in Christ, we will model our life after Him and see ourselves as He does.
4. Because Jesus extended grace to us, we can offer it to others, and allow ourselves grace when needed, as well.
5. We can construct personal esteem through humility modeled by Jesus and strengthened by a healthy relationship with God and the value He places on us.
Unless we honor, love, and obey God through an intentional, growing relationship, we cannot understand or appreciate the worth God sees in us and purposed for us and cannot build godly self-esteem.
When we study the word and connect through prayer, praise, and worship, we set God in His rightful place and honor what He values above this world or ourselves. We see the worth in others and build a healthy esteem by fruits of the Spirit, and God’s values and expectations that drive us to seek Him for fulfillment, value, and worth.
Through this strong and maturing relationship we allow God to fulfill us with the desires He placed in us. Esteem is built by a committed, consistent, Creator who yearns for each of us to shine for Him, not selfish personal glory.
Romans 12:1-8 says, “Therefore I urge you, brothers, on account of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but think of yourself with sober judgment, according to the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and not all members have the same function, so in Christ we who are many are one body, and each member belongs to one another. We have different gifts according to the grace given us. If one’s gift is prophecy, let him use it in proportion to his faith; if it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is giving, let him give generously; if it is leading, let him lead with diligence; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.”
2 Corinthians 12:6-10 says, “If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it, because I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message, even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Ephesians 3:12 says, “Because of Christ and our faith in Him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.”
Construct your worth and esteem of self on God’s view of you. Allow Him to work through you to hold that esteem to a biblical value and use God’s heart and mind to penetrate your life and carry you to do the work He has purposed for you.
Father God, thank you that none of us should have to search this world for our worth . Help us not to build our self-esteem on secular values and keep us from forming warped opinions of ourselves or others, but let us strive to view all You have created with the love and worth You deem us to hold. Enable us to seek and worship You with the praise You deserve and please You with the value we place on You first, others next, and then self. Thank you for sending Jesus to model exactly what we need to do to live a life pleasing to You. In Your precious name we pray. Amen.
Thank you for listening to this episode. Please visit terrihitt.com to access podcast episodes housed in one convenient location, read blog posts, transcripts, and access additional resources designed to mature your walk with Christ and encourage you to raise or influence children to chase Jesus instead of this world.
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I pray this podcast draws you nearer to Jesus and helps you cling to Him, despite any circumstances in your life. Until next week, keep looking Up and find new ways to Live With Eternal Perspective.