During the past 50 years or so, much has been written concerning the topic of self-esteem. Theories and philosophies abound as to how to gain self-confidence and achieve a healthy sense of self-worth. The prominent view of many secular psychologists and professional educators is that self-esteem is self-generated. But the problem with self-esteem is SELF! (Rom 8:5-14; Gal 5:24; Eph 4:17-24)
A dictionary definition reads: Self-esteem: confidence in ones own worth or abilities. While perhaps helpful to an extent, the problem with a self-generated self-esteem is that, with its focus on SELF, it may lead one to be self-centered or self-absorbed. The doctrine of secular humanism states: Man is the measure of all things. In other words, SELF, rather than God, is the ultimate source of value. Humanists boldly assert: No deity will save us; we must save ourselves (Humanist Manifesto II, 1973). This is the root of modern mans problem. He wants to do his thing without any assistance, authorization or condemnation from God. In short, he himself wants to be god (Gen 3:4-5).
As followers of Christ, we need to realize that our true sense of worth comes, not from ourselves, but from Almighty God. First, we are of great worth because God created us in His own image. So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them (Gen 1:27). Unlike animals, we have the ability to think and reason to make choices that will affect where we spend eternity (Ecc 12:13-14; 2 Cor 5:10; Heb 9:27). Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it (Ecc 12:7).
Second, we are of great worth because God loved us, even when we were unlovable (Titus 3:3-7). In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him (1 Jn 4:9). We love Him because He first loved us (I Jn 4:19). This is the love that you and I are to be grounded in, that we may know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge (Eph 3:19).
Third, we are of great worth because Christ died for us, even when we were unworthy. For when we were still without strength [powerless, helpless, hopeless], in due time Christ died for the ungodly [unlovable, undeserving, unworthy] (Rom 5:6). But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom 5:8). Because of His great love for us, Christ gave Himself a ransom for all (1 Tim 2:6). He paid the penalty for our sins so we could have salvation. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor 5:21).
So we see, self-esteem is not rooted in SELF it is rooted in God the God who created us in His own image, the God who loved us even when we were unlovable, the God who sent His only begotten Son to die for us, even though we were unworthy. May we never be negligent, but always diligent, to give our gracious God the praise, glory and honor He so richly deserves! (Ps 139:14).