Low self-esteem is a thinking disorder in which a person feels incapable, unworthy, incompetent, and unlovable. Many people suffer from this debilitating condition, hence why depression, suicide rates, and self-harm are rampant. While depression has been proven by studies to be a medical condition in some cases, low self-esteem hasn't. Why do you think society has so many problems in this area? Maybe because there's a lot of pressure to attain "perfection" in all aspects of our lives in our society and if we fail, we become a laughing stock. We become nothing.
Let's see...there's got to be something in the Bible somewhere telling us to feel good and amazing about ourselves. That'll surely solve our self-esteem issues for every single day of the year.
The Bible doesn't state anywhere that we should feel good about ourselves. Although David acknowledged and proclaimed that he was fearfully and wonderfully made in Psalm 139:14, he wasn't saying that to flatter his ego or feel prideful about his appearance, instead he was offering a praise to God. David was esteeming God, not himself.
The word "esteem" means to respect and admire. I can't find a single verse in the Bible that tells us to esteem ourselves or raise our self-confidence. Yet there's plenty of self-help books and web articles telling us that to overcome our self-esteem problems, we need to build more confidence in ourselves and feel good about who we are.
Quite frankly, telling me to feel good about myself or have more confidence in myself severely clashes with sorrow over my sinful nature. I can't have any confidence in my flesh whatsoever. There is nothing good in me or any Christian except Christ Himself (Jeremiah 17:9, Romans 7:18). Sin is a constant reminder of why I need daily dependence on Christ every hour. Without Him, I can do nothing(John 15:4-5). Self-confidence is just a concept of turning "self" into an idol. It's a trap luring us into elevating ourselves to the same level as God. Hmmm...where does that sound familiar?
I think the real problem is that we're misinterpreting how we feel on the inside and what society is telling us. Self-esteem stems from an issue inside of us, not around us. It's a reflection of how we respond the mirror of God's Word.
Christ didn't suffer and die for us just so we could gain an identity for ourselves to wear proudly as a name badge and spend the rest of our lives catering to our vanity and ego. But we do a spectacular job distorting, twisting, and taking Scripture out of context to fit our silly ideals and live how we want. I mean, what human alive doesn't want all the focus and attention on himself/herself? It's ingrained in our sinful nature.
God isn't the least bit interested in making us better, prettier, skinnier, and more confident versions of ourselves. His main concern is conforming us to the image of His Son Jesus (Romans 8:29, Philippians 3:21). To shape us to be the ambassadors and warriors He's called us to be so we can take the gospel to the lost, sick, and hurting people out there.
All self-esteem really does is bring our attention to things that don't matter. What really matters is whether or not we are loving God, loving people, witnessing, and making disciples.
Too often, we let ourselves get caught up in how society perceives us and defines us, distracting us from turning our attention to the needs of others. Our focus is blurred because we care more about fulfilling expectations of the cultural norm society has at every corner. Honestly, it's exhausting striving to prove our worth to people. Thankfully, we don't have to prove our worth to God! God chose us long before we existed into being. (Ephesians 1:11) We don't need to work harder or try harder. God's done all the work for us! Our worth is dependent in Christ alone. Our identities are received, not achieved. We can simply rest knowing God's love isn't based on our merits, status, and abilities. His love is unconditional.
In order to resemble a life governed by love, humility, and truth, we must understand whose we are. Knowing and embracing our identity in Him wholeheartedly enables us to truly love, accept, and effectively serve others.
Even when friends betray us or people reject us, our identity won't waver when it's firmly staked in Christ.
Here are some wonderful and encouraging truths about our Christ-given identities.
Who I Am In Christ
I'm forgiven(Ephesians 1:7)
I'm redeemed(Colossians 1:13; Colossians 2:11)
I'm chosen(Ephesians 1:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 2:9)
I'm a child of God(Ephesians 1:5-6)
I'm renewed(Colossians 3:9,10; 1 Peter 1:23)
I'm holy, set apart, and blameless(Ephesians 1:4; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 1 Peter 1:15-16)
I'm beloved(Romans 1:7; Ephesians 2:4; Colossians 3:12; 1 Thessalonians 1:4)
I'm right with God(Ephesians 2:13; 2 Corinthians 5:18-20)
I'm sealed by the Holy Spirit(Ephesians 1:13)
I'm God's masterpiece(Ephesians 2:10)
I'm raised up to sit at the right hand of God with Christ(Ephesians 2:6; Colossians 2:10)
I inherit every spiritual blessing(Ephesians 1:3; Philippians 4:19)
I'm a new creation(2 Corinthians 5:17)
I'm free from sin and condemnation(Romans 8:1-2)
I have unlimited access to God's throne(Ephesians 2:18)
I can come boldly and confidently into God's presence(Ephesians 3:12)
I'm a member of Christ's body(Romans 12:4-5)
I have the mind of Christ(1 Corinthians 2:16; Philippians 2:5)
I'm connected to God and bear fruit(John 15:5; Galatians 5:22-23)
I'm a bondservant of God(Ephesians 6:6; 1 Corinthians 7:22; 2 Timothy 2:24)
I'm an ambassador for God(2 Corinthians 5:20)
I'm a warrior for God(Ephesians 6:10-18)
I have a new body(1 Corinthians 15:40-44)
If you're struggling with overcoming self-loathing or self-esteem, beg Jesus to turn your focus away from yourself and onto Him. Because the world desperately needs to see the overflowing and undying love of Christ channeling through us.
"He must become greater, I must become less."-John 3:30
I am defined by God. My worth and value comes from what He did on the cross. My esteem belongs solely to the Creator, not myself. Esteeming myself feeds pride and self-centeredness, downplaying and ridiculing the perfect image of His Son who lives in me. My sin nailed Him to the tree, He died to set me free. My heart and soul will magnify the Lord. He alone deserves praise and glory.
Let this truth be a daily reminder for you as well.