“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in Iowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself” (Phil 2:3 NKJV).
One of the greatest struggles for humanity is the discovery of our own value and self-worth. People often feel so very empty and insignificant. The cares of life tend to batter down our self-image and leave us with a sense of meaninglessness and even self-loathing. This is part of the reason why so many people turn to so many vices–alcohol, drugs, sexuality–in an attempt to “fill the void.”
The world is quick to offer solutions. The self-appointed therapists of afternoon talk shows and the mega-rich attitude coaches of late-night infomercials tell us that we need to practice “self love,” and engage in more positive “self-talk.” They tell us that we have to love ourselves first before we can ever learn to love anyone else. Yet, however quaint their advice may be, it is as far from truth as the east is from the west.
The Bible tells us that positive self-image does not come through believing we are wonderful, but through the knowledge that God loves us. We don’t need better “self-esteem,” but need a better understanding of God’s estimation of us! In fact, the Bible tells us that the first step to wholeness is understanding and accepting our own wretchedness and turning in utter dependence to God’s awesome grace. Perhaps the old children’s song has more practical advice on developing self-esteem than all of today’s pop-psychology: “Jesus first, yourself LAST, and others in-between.”