Thinking more about yourself is not the path to freedom. The self-esteem agenda demands that you turn your thoughts onto yourself, thinking more and more about yourself. The Bible has a different type of message; it’s a counterintuitive worldview: The more you think about God and others, the freer you will be.
Self-esteem is a call to admire yourself—to place your primary focus on you. It is one of the most damaging concepts propagated in our culture. This unbiblical teaching blinds many Christians because they believe it is the answer for people with problems, particularly those who struggle with guilt, shame, fear, or insecurity. They are dangerously wrong.
From a biblical perspective, the term low self-esteem has some inherent problems. For example, if low self-esteem were the real issue with an individual, the solution would be to elevate your self-admiration and think more about yourself and how you can increase your self-acceptance. But that is the problem.
Thinking more about yourself would lead to more painful self-consciousness, self-awareness, or delusional self-congratulations—assuming you are somebody when in reality, we’re all hopeless, apart from the grace of God (Romans 3:10-12).
One of the deceptions of self-esteem is spending more time reflecting on yourself when your thoughts about yourself already consume you. Jesus came to rescue you from yourself, not to turn you into yourself. Looking inward to elevate your estimation of yourself will lead you to dizzying disappointment.
The solution to this dilemma is an ever-increasing awareness that you are naked before God and that He must clothe you in the righteousness of Jesus Christ (John 8:36). The counterintuitive message of the gospel says we’re depraved and hopeless, which is the perfect spot to experience the filling of God’s redemptive hope and love.
Time to Reflect
1. Have you succumbed to self-centered, inward thinking that leads you farther into yourself? If so, what is the solution?
2. How does God’s salvation free you from introspection while releasing you to love Him and others well?