The Teaching Of Self-esteem

by Pastor Paul M. Sadler

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Scripture Reading:

“Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince [refute] the gainsayers.” — Titus 1:9

Satan never rests in his insatiable desire to corrupt the Word of God. A case in point is the present-day teaching of self-love, self-esteem and self-worth. The influence of this unsound doctrine has nearly permeated every strata of Christendom, including the Grace Movement. Like the beat of a drum, this theme is heard almost constantly from the pulpits of America and frequently appears on the pages of Christian literature. Beware when you hear or read: “It is important to feel good about yourself,” “Learn to love yourself,” “Probe your innermost self to understand why you think and feel as you do,” “God sent His son to die for you because you are of great value.”

On the surface these phrases may seem commendable, but in reality they are diametrically opposed to the Scriptures. The above has been weighed in the balance and found to be wanting. For example: “The heart [innermost self]is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9). Paul concurred when he said, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh, [old nature or self]) dwelleth no good thing” (Rom. 7:18).

The old man (self) is at enmity against God. He hates God and the things of God and left to himself he will not seek God. The Scriptures, from beginning to end, speak with a unified voice that the old nature is rotten to the core (See Rom. 3:9-18).

Consequently, our old man (self) has been crucified with Christ. Paul made reference to this when he wrote to the Galatians, “I am crucified with Christ [i.e. his old man]: nevertheless I live [Paul’s new nature]; yet NOT I [self], but Christ liveth in me.” We are to put off the old nature and put on the new, which is created in holiness and righteousness (Eph. 4:22-24). It is futile to improve one’s self- image, especially since God abhors any attempt to do so. Rather, we are to conform ourselves to the image of His dear Son. Thus, those of the household of faith are to live accordingly:

“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let us esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:3-5).

Self takes great pleasure in acclaim, indulgence, approval and praise. It glories in all these things. But are we not robbing God when self is esteemed more highly than His glory?

“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have of God, AND YE ARE NOT YOUR OWN? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (I Cor. 6:19,20).

Shall we permit the “love of one’s self” doctrine to overshadow the love of God in Christ Jesus? God forbid! May God help us to stand against this insidious teaching that essentially robs God of the glory that is rightfully due Him.

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