The subject of self esteem is an interesting one with many questions and variables attached to it. The first question that needs to be answered is where does it come from? I think that by definition since self esteem is the way that we perceive ourselves that it would seem logical that it comes from ourselves, that we create it on our own and achieving it is part of growing and maturing as a person. I think that this is a common thought process in the world today whether a person is a Christian or not. But I do not think that this is true at all. The origin of self esteem is simple to me. God gave it to us. We are fearfully and wonderfully made and God declares us valuable even though we do not have any inherent value on our own.

The Bible talks about our extreme depravity and the apostle Paul compared our ability to attain worth and value as filthy rags. The visual on that one is disgusting, but as Paul often did he is using an extreme example to make an extreme point. He compared us to menstrual residue. I think that the Bible is clear in stating that we in and of ourselves do not have any value that we can bring to the existence or enhancement of this world outside of the love and grace that God has shown towards us as humans. We do not even have the ability to recognize God’s love unless He imparts that ability to us. What are we without Him? We are nothing. Our value is as the creation and just as I have admiration for a beautiful car, artwork, music or structure the esteem of the creation is truly of the creator and maintainer.

With a self achieving thought process, it is easy to see why we live in a world that would struggle to have self esteem. The interesting thing is that as Satan often does he creates a system that attempts to supplant God’s system. God’s has imparted value to all humans and the world would attempt to have us believe that it is not that simple and that there has to be a way that we can earn or achieve value on our own. No wonder lack of self esteem is a major problem in our world because imagine believing that value and worth is achieved, but never really deep in your heart being able to get there. One of two things will happen. We either give in to the thought that there has to be a way and create a false system in which we can achieve a false sense of value and we work under the premise that this is the best that we can do or we succumb to a deep feeling of inadequacy. It’s a bleak prospect either way and this is the world that we live in right now and it is getting worse.

In addition, the natural progression if we do not truly see value in ourselves is that we do not truly see value in others. The spiral downward into emotional anarchy and depravity is inevitable and it is happening right in front of us. We live in a dog eat dog world where the value of others is whatever value that they can contribute to ones personal existence. God imparts value to us so that we can impart value to others. I think that we see the battle of these two world views in direct application in two specific areas in our world today. They are parenting and marriage. God declares both of these institutions as sacrificial and serving. The world does not see it that way and sees that marriage and parenting are for personal edification and so when that is not achieved it is natural to abandon the process without thought of consequence. We see the evidence of the thought process all around us,

The conclusion to me is to declare the capital “T” truth of the love and grace of God. It’s not totally logical and often, just like grace, difficult to accept because we, as humans, do not have inherent natural value. The Bible declares this clearly. But, and this is a big but, we have imparted value given to us by the creator God of the universe simply because He created us and esteems us as His own. It is difficult to understand, but it is a fact that we have to embrace and without it there will be difficulty in understanding God’s plan for our life and having the ability to walk in His grace and peace daily. We can’t become more or less valuable by anything that we do. We just are valuable and worthy because He said so. Self esteem is given and accepted not accomplished.

I have the opportunity to work with people that are struggling with some issue in their life. I try to bring the Truth of the word to them, but I think that many people get so caught up in their own personal reality that it clouds their judgement. One of the reasons I am so against the morally relative culture that we live in is that it propagates distortion from reality and Truth. I use a capital “T” because I think there is relative truth and I think that there are things that are transcendentally true and then there is capital “T” Truth that is absolutely true all the time and for all time

God presents many of these truths to us in His word and I try to focus on them even when it is sometimes hard to discern the proper application of that Truth. I don’t think that the struggle to discern application alleviates the responsibility for all of us to keep trying to get the application as correct as possible or alter or alleviate the fact that Truths exists. There are several truths that I commonly use in dealing with solving issues. God is sovereign, God loves us, all of us, Jesus died for us, all of us, and gave us grace just to name a few. It’s that last one that has my attention lately and a specific part of it.

Grace, what is it and what does it mean? I can give all the pat answers and we all know them, but the word says to work out our grace daily. What does that mean? Well the angle that has intrigued me lately is that I meet so many people that are saved, and I truly believe that they are saved, but they truly don’t understand God’s grace and what it means as it pertains to one particular issue. There is much depth to grace and different aspects to it, but the one that intrigues me is as it pertains to self esteem. Self esteem is the value that we place on ourselves.

I am finding that the core issue with many disorders and issues in life directly come from a lack of personal self esteem. There are presenting issues and presenting manifestations of those issues, but what I see more and more is an underlying lack of worthiness as the driving force at the most primal level. I am not going to tell you that I have done extensive research, but I am tracing anxiety, depression, substance abuse and especially eating disorders all back to lack of worthiness and lack of self esteem. The most interesting part is that I can share the Truth of God’s love and His declaration of worthiness through the shed blood of the cross and philosophically it can be understood and yet never be incorporated into a person’s life. It’s not for a lack of desire to want to embrace the Truth, but a deep inability to believe it is true.

I know much of pathology is deep seated, but I am finding that this is one of the foundational Truths that is lacking in many people, Christian and non-Christian alike. It is hard to convince many people that they have innate value as a human being just because they exist. I think that the culture has inserted many wedges to keep people from this foundational Truth by creating so many standards by which value and worthiness are earned instead of received. I have so much more to say about this issue that I think we are going to have to explore it depth with at least one more post.