Self-Esteem (Part 5)

XII. As seen earlier, Scripture assumes that men have an inherent love of self and thus a favorable or superior opinion of themselves. EPH 5:28-29; PRO 20:6; 21:2. A. However, one's opinion of oneself can be a complete delusion. PRO 30:12; GAL 6:3. B. A good man may even by score-keeping himself for his own goodness come to this conclusion. JOB 33:9. C. Remember that the Pharisees were big on self-esteem / self-righteousness. LUK 18:9. 1. But they were blind to the fact of their own corruption and hypocrisy. MAT 23:25-28. 2. Under such delusion, they were blind men leading blind men. MAT 15:14. 3. Suffice it to say that the humble will receive leaders and teachers that feed them with God's opinions of themselves (JER 3:12-15) but fools will desire teachers after their own self-centered hearts. PRO 17:4; 2TI 4:3. D. Mind that the self-centered Pharisee despised others. LUK 18:9; JOH 7:47-49. 1. His high self-esteem did not make him into a better person! 2. “People with high self-regard, the evidence says, possess low regard for others. Instead of seeking opportunities to serve others, they seek to manipulate others. Furthermore, people with high self-regard tend to anti-social behavior. People incarcerated in maximum security prisons have very high self-regard, for example....So, to the question, 'Isn't it possible for a child to have high self-esteem and a high level of respect for others?' The answer is an unequivocal no.” (Dr. John Rosemond, Family Psychologist, The Washington Times, April 12, 2009) 3. Remember that the first-ever manifestation of inordinate self-esteem was Lucifer, who became Satan/the Devil who is a destroyer. REV 9:11. 4. Those who build upon a foundation of high self-esteem are therefore under the maximum delusion: they are doing the lusts of the Devil, the Destroyer who is not the least bit interested in the well-being of the individual or the society and they are promoting a destructive trait as a positive, constructive solution to problems. 5. Mind how this is actualized in the thinking of elitists who think themselves the necessary lords of the masses and who affirm, “Ordo Ab Chao” (order from chaos) is the model of human government. Talk about anti-social behavior! XIII. Another problem with the psychology of self-esteem is that it weakens people's resolves to perform well before reward, thus promoting an entitlement mentality that doesn't square with the real world, setting the individual up for disappointment, disillusionment and depression. A. Mind that Scripture abundantly affirms that good performance should precede reward. GAL 6:4-5, 9; 2TH 3:10. Self-Esteem 8-18-13 Page 11 B. “Today's typical parent seems to think that his/her child is the only fish in the pond worth noticing, which is really too bad for his/her child. It's bad for all of us, actually, because the research also finds that the higher a person's self-regard, the lower his regard for others. (It is also noteworthy that high self-esteem puts the individual at high risk for bouts of severe depression.) People with high self-esteem want to be paid attention to and served. They believe in their entitlement....today's young college graduates, by and large, are not looking for work; rather, they are looking for benefits packages (i.e., entitlements). They can't handle criticism, I'm told.....Researchers have discovered that people with high self- esteem tend to overestimate their abilities. If anything, they are over-confident. As a result, they don't cope well when life deals them a bad hand or their performance doesn't live up to their self-expectation. For those reasons, they are highly prone to depression. Because they believe that anything they do is deserving of reward, they also tend to underperform.” (Dr. John Rosemond) C. Israel as a nation fell into this false sense of over-confidence and entitlement under a delusion that they were nationally and racially a chosen people guaranteed prominence and blessing regardless of their performance. D. An example of someone whose self-esteem could not endure a setback is Ahithophel. 1. Ahithophel was a noted counsellor in Israel. 2SAM 16:23. 2. But Ahithophel was intoxicated with his own ability. He could not handle it when his counsel was not followed. 2SAM 17:23. 3. His high opinion of himself was his undoing. E. Jonah was told to preach impending destruction to wicked Nineveh. JON 1:2. 1. Jonah's reluctance was at least partially owing to the fact that he knew God would probably show mercy to Nineveh. JON 4:2. 2. To declare that Nineveh would be overthrown in forty days (JON 3:4) and it not happen would detract from Jonah's credibility as a prophet. 3. So he went into a deep blue funk. JON 4:1. XIV. High self-esteem may also be behind blame-shifting: “Something outside of me made me err.” A. Saul was thrust into prominence as Israel's first king. 1. He had natural endowments above his peers. 1SAM 9:2. 2. But he blamed circumstances and the people for his mistakes. 1SAM 13:11-12; 15:24. 3. Saul was also prone to depression. 1SAM 16:14-16. B. Israel in Ezekiel's day couldn't come to terms with their difficulties so they blamed it all on their ancestors. EZE 18:1-3. C. “Time and again, experiments have revealed that people tend to attribute positive behaviours to themselves and negative behaviours to external factors, enabling them to take credit for their good acts and to deny responsibility for their bad acts.” (Dr. David Meyers, The Inflated Self) XV. Self-esteem can factor into the corruption of religion. A. Mind how the Arminian scheme of salvation is counterpart to the self-esteem problem. 1. It is assumed that God loves all mankind equally and that Christ's blood was shed for all mankind equally. 2. However, the only ones who are eternally saved are those who positively decide for God. They only are deemed worthy of salvation. 3. Therefore, God saves on the basis of an obligation according to this scheme. Self-Esteem 8-18-13 Page 12  4. But salvation is by grace, which is “favour or goodwill, in contradistinction to right or obligation, as the ground of a concession.” 5. Salvation is according to mercy, which is “forbearance and compassion shown by one person to another who is in his power and who has no claim to receive kindness.” TIT 3:5; 1PE 1:3. 6. God does not save sinners because of any worth in them but rather because of what is in Himself, because of His own purpose. 2TI 1:9. 7. God saves in such a manner that no man can boast. ROM 3:27. B. Self-esteem can also corrupt religion by turning into a means of personal fulfillment rather than submitting to God's will. 1. How many seek a church which satisfies their needs rather than glorifies God? 2. How many seek spiritual teaching that strokes their egos or does not push them out of their delusions and comfort zones? ISA 30:10; 2TI 4:3. 3. How many see faith, prayer and obedience as means to get God to bless their will rather than means for doing God's will? XVI. God does attach value to His people. PSA 135:4; LAM 4:2; PSA 116:15. A. Their value is according to His comeliness upon them. EZE 16:14. B. Their worth arises from His grace towards them, not upon any inherent worth they have in themselves. 1CO 1:30-31. C. They should so live by grace as to be accounted worthy of Him and His mercies. LUK 20:35; 21:36; ACT 5:41; 2TH 1:11-12. XVII. “Well, pastor, this whole series of messages sounds like you are saying that it is wrong to strive for excellence in anything in this world, or to compete for a reward.” Ans. No. A. Competition can be a positive force to improve one's personal or business performance. It helps to pare away unnecessary burdens and inefficiency, which lowers both personal and business costs. If just being “in business” is all that matters, why are we commanded to be “Not slothful in business...” (ROM 12:11)? B. Scripture teaches that Christian living is warfare, which is strife to obtain victory. EPH 6:11-13. C. Scripture even likens Christian living to competitive games. 1CO 9:24; HEB 12:1. D. What we do should be done with zeal and might. ECC 9:10. E. What we must guard against is vainglory; all should be done to the glory of God with thanksgiving. COL 3:23-24; 1CO 10:31. F. Our true prize is the “...high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (PHIL 3:14). XVIII. We had earlier noted that believers must come to grips with both their worthlessness by nature but also their redeemed and regenerated condition and position in Christ. A. Grace has fitted us with a new nature to do good works (EPH 2:10) and “good” is a value assessment. B. We are no longer totally depraved sinners; we are redeemed by Christ's blood and are saints who sometimes sin. ROM 7:21. C. We can please God. HEB 13:21. D. We therefore do not need to wallow in hopelessness and futility. We are not condemned to be viewed by God or by our own consciences as the hapless products of our old man, our past sins, our weak spots or our present failures. E. We “can do” through Christ by faith, and this is the victory. PHIL 4:13; 1JO 5:4. Self-Esteem 8-18-13 Page 13
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