Genesis 1:27 (NKJV) So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
Did you know that some of the most powerful weapons of Satan are psychological?
Fear is one. Doubt in another. Anger, hostility, worry and, of course, guilt top the list. Long standing guilt is hard to shake for some. An uneasy sense of self-condemnation seems to hang like a fog over too many Christians. Perhaps one of the most deadly weapons in Satan’s arsenal is low-self esteem since it has such a pervasive effect on every aspect of our lives.
I’m talking about a gut level feeling of inferiority, a sense of personal inadequacy and a lack of self-worth.
There are four ways that Satan uses low self-esteem against you:
1. Low self-esteem paralyzes our potential.
Low self-esteem results in a tragic loss of human potential, watered down living, wasted gifts and broken dreams. According to a survey, low self-esteem is a key contributor to depression, especially among women. According to Dobson’s study, 51% of the Christian women surveyed rated low self-esteem as the chief contributor.
In the parable of the talents, the man with one talent was immobilized by fear and feelings of inadequacy and he tried to play it safe by burying his talent in the ground. His life was a frozen asset. He did exactly what a lot of people with low self-esteem do—nothing.
2. Low self-esteem destroys our dreams.
We can’t live in our dreams or on our dreams but we can live by them. Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Low self-esteem will destroy any hope of realizing God’s great plan for our life. We all need the hope of a better tomorrow. “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” We may be able to exist without hope but we cannot live as God intends without it.
When the Israelites came out of Egypt, the Promised Land that God had promised was ready but the people were not because of their low self-esteem that had translated into a lack of faith. They forgot who they were because they forgot whose they were. Expecting great things from God and attempting great things for Him can be destroyed by low self-esteem.
3. Low self-esteem ruins our relationships.
Low self-esteem can keep us from believing that God really loves and cares about us. Such thinking leads to inner questions and resentments which can seriously undermine our relationship with God. If we don’t really believe that God wants the best for us, how can we really trust Him?
One of the most common ways of dealing with feelings of low self-esteem is withdrawing from our relationships with others. If we don’t love ourselves, how can we love our neighbor? Low self-esteem wrecks interpersonal relationships more than anything else that I know.
4. Low self-esteem sabotages our calling.
If low self-esteem results in isolation from others, how can the Body of Christ function in a healthy manner? If the members of Christ’s body are not functioning as members of the body then Christ’s ministry is hindered.
Feeling like “I’m not good enough for this… I’m not good enough for that” robs God of the marvelous opportunity for Him to show His strength through ordinary people like you and me. Nothing sabotages Christian service more than thinking so little of yourself; God isn’t even given a chance.
How important is it to have a healthy self-esteem?
How you see yourself and how you feel about yourself will affect just about every aspect of your life. You will probably think, speak, act and react as the person you think you are. The writer of Proverbs says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” The real you is the person God sees, not the image you project (Prov. 23:7). The truth is—you will never rise above the image you have of yourself in your own mind.
Where is the primary source of our self-esteem
God and His truthful Word is the key to straightening out our false beliefs about ourselves. God is the key to moving from the problem of low self-esteem toward a positive self-concept. He is the key for turning away from the disease to the cure of the disease of low self-esteem.
What are the primary sources of low self-esteem
1. The outer world (Social) includes all the external factors that have gone into your makeup—parentage, upbringing, how you were trained, treated, loved and cared for, a reflection of the reactions of the important people in your life and all your life experiences up to the present.
2. The inner world (Psychological) —this includes the mental and emotional equipment we need to cope with life. It includes our senses, our nerves, our capacity to learn, register and respond. This also includes the fact that every human being has a sinful, selfish human nature which affects everything that we do.
3. Satan and his cunning wiles use our low self-esteem as weapons against us. He uses inferiority, inadequacy, and self-belittling to defeat Christians and prevent them from realizing their full potential as God’s children. He has the ability to put thoughts in our minds that do not originate with us.
We cannot think wrongly and live rightly. We cannot believe error and practice truth. Self-belittling and/or self-condemnation is not Christian humility and runs counter to the basic teachings of the Christian faith.
How do we develop a proper estimate of ourselves?
Christians are called to develop the picture of their worth and value from God, not from others. The healing of our low self-esteem hinges on the choice we must all make: Will we listen to the world, the flesh, and the devil or will we listen to God in His Word?
What are the two biggest lies we believe that contribute to low self-esteem?
1. The unregenerate person is deceived into thinking that one need not be saved or that salvation is by works and that salvation can be put off to some later day. All the world religions except Christianity believe in a works based faith and they are all deceived. God’s word teaches that salvation is by grace alone (Eph. 2:8-9).
2. The regenerate people are most frequently deceived by thinking of themselves in terms of their old nature (Rom. 8:5-14) rather than their new nature—failing to realize who they are in Christ. How can anyone feel good about being a slave of sin as a result of having a sinful nature?
Consider this analogy: When an individual has poor self-esteem due to an ugly appearance and then has plastic surgery and looks great, that surgery does not necessarily or automatically improve that person’s self-esteem. In a similar way, when an unbeliever becomes a new creature in Christ, that conversion experience does not help his self-concept if he still thinks that the real person is his sinful nature instead of his new one (2 Cor. 5:17).
What is the biblical basis for establishing our self-worth?
God created me—in His image as a unique person. His creation gives me worth. (Gen. 1:27)
God loves me—God is a loving heavenly Father. His love gives me a sense of belonging. (Jer. 31:3)
God planned for me—God wants my heart to be His throne. His plan gives me significance. (Psa. 139:16)
God gifted me—God gave me natural abilities and spiritual gifts. His gifts give me competence. (Eph. 4:7)
God’s Son died for me—Jesus died on the cross for my sins. His death makes me acceptable. (2 Cor. 5:16-18)
The above facts establish my permanent worth. What God accomplished can’t be changed. To deny these facts is tantamount to calling God a liar and is a refined form of blasphemy. Because God has accepted me, I can act with confidence because of who I am, not to prove who I am.
What is our new position in Christ?
If you don’t fully understand your identity and position in Christ, you will see very little difference between yourself and non-Christians. Some Christians think that they are just a sinner whose sins are forgiven trying to hang on until Christ returns. They think that having their sins forgiven is the only thing that happened at salvation and that they are still the same person they were before.
Peter says that we have become “a partaker of the divine nature” (2 Pet. 1:4). A born-again believer is no longer “in the flesh” but “in Christ.” Paul said in Ephesians 5:8, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.” Second Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” Romans 6:6, “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.” Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
We must believe and live in harmony with the truth that we are eternally different in Christ. It’s not what we do that determines who we are. It’s who we are that determines what we do.
What are some of the implications of God’s truth concerning our self-concept?
My past—forget it! God is more interested in where we are going than where we have been. (Phil. 3:13)
My present—thank God for it! I will thank God in all circumstances for all things. (Eph. 5:20)
My potential—discover it! My potential is God’s gift to me. What I make of it is my gift to Him. (1 Tim. 4:14-15)
My performance—affirm it! I will give God the credit for all He enables me to do. (2 Tim. 4: 7)
My possessions—share them! The poorest person has something to give that riches cannot buy. (Matt. 10:8)
Center your thoughts on Christ and think about others rather than yourself. Thank God for the way He has gifted you without looking down on others. Don’t despise your weaknesses; they keep you dependent on God. Amen!