I was reading an article recently about children with low self-esteem and how parents can boost their child’s confidence by giving them praise and countering the child’s negative attitudes about themselves with appropriate comments. I found this rather interesting. In college I studied a lot about the psychology of self-esteem issues in mental health. As a woman of divorce I think my own self-esteem took quite a beating for a while. My self-analyzing personality probably didn’t help with boosting self-esteem because I felt like such a failure for a while. Thankfully I have learned some truths that have helped me to realize that the lies of the enemy are constantly telling us we are unworthy and no good. So how can we have good self-esteem? Where does our self-worth come from? Good question!
What is self-esteem? First of all self-esteem and self-worth can be used interchangeably. According to Dictionary.com self-esteem is 1. a realistic respect for or favorable impression of oneself; self-respect. 2. an inordinately or exaggeratedly favorable impression of oneself.
Notice the key word, “realistic” in the definition. My low self-esteem or self-worth during and after the divorce was not a true and realistic attitude and I had to discover this over time. Obviously looking at the second definition a person can be capable of having too much self-esteem and be overly cocky and proud. So how can we know what the right amount of self-esteem is and how can we prevent the image of our self from being blown out of proportion? I go back to the Bible for the answers. The first clue to begin with comes from the New Testament.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect, Romans 12:2, (English Standard Version or ESV).
Christians are not to fall into the trap of following the world’s thinking in any area of our lives; we are to look to Jesus as our guide. Jesus does the work through the Holy Spirit of renewal in our mind, our attitudes and the way that we think. We are not to be concerned with what we think or what other people think about our worthiness. Our opinion and the world’s opinion don’t matter because the only opinion that should matter is the true opinion, what Jesus thinks. Does Jesus count us worthy? Paul answers this question in the letter he wrote to the Galatians.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen, Galatians 1:3-5, (ESV).
I think the obvious answer is YES! Jesus does count those who are His as worthy. After all He died for our sins. He brought us out of the darkness and into the light.
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us, 2 Corinthians 4:6-7, (ESV).
We are the clay jars because we are human beings and God allowed us to know of the glory of His Son, Jesus Christ. We know that Jesus is powerful and that we as followers of Jesus are given grace and mercy from God through our fellowship with Jesus Christ. Just knowing all that Jesus has done for us should be enough to make us realize that we are worthy to Him. But there is more we can learn. In First John we learn more about the light that shines.
The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes, I John 2:10-11, (ESV).
If we are walking in the light then we can’t hate anyone, do you see that? We can’t hate our brothers and sisters in Christ and we can’t hate ourselves any longer because we are walking in the light and glory and power of Jesus Christ. He has renewed our minds and changed our hearts to have an attitude of worthiness. Now that is transformation on a grand scale, isn’t it? Want more proof? Okay, here it is.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit, 2 Corinthians 3:17-18, (ESV).
So my friend, we are walking in the glory of Jesus Christ and so our self-worth, our self-esteem really becomes Son-worth and Son-esteem because the Son of God is transforming us into His glory, into His image. Wow! That just takes my breath away for a moment. I have to really stop and think about this for a bit.
Realizing that I am a forgiven child of God through the blood of Jesus shed on the cross I have to come to the point of truth, that I am worthy and I can’t wallow in self-pity any longer. The lies of this world won’t stand against the truth of Christ’s glory and light. Now do you see who you are in Christ? Now do you see that you are worthy because you belong to Jesus Christ?
What are some practical ways that we can apply this truth to our lives and the lives of our children? I think the first step is to know who we are in Christ. We know that we are worthy and that there is transformation going on inside us. We need to keep studying the Bible and growing in our knowledge of who we are in Christ so that the transformation work can continue in us.
The second step is to guide our children to the truth of who they are in Christ. They may not be the best student in the classroom but if they know who they are in Christ then they will work harder to improve their grades. Why? Because they know that they have the power of God surging through their veins and that nothing is impossible for them.
But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26, (ESV)
I can do all things through him who strengthens me, Philippians 4:13, (ESV).
“Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me? Jeremiah 32:27, (ESV).
Are you beginning to get the picture that for adults as well as children if you know who you are in Christ Jesus then your struggle with self-esteem should be over. The power source we plug into each day is the glory of God, through the light of His Son. We are worthy not for anything that we did or didn’t do but because we belong to Jesus Christ and don’t ever doubt that truth.