Then Jesus said to all the people: "If any of you want to be my followers, you must forget about yourself. You must take up your cross each day and follow me" (Luke 9:23 CEV).

Self-Esteem + Self-Image + Self-Worth = Self-Absorbed

I realized this past week that we are bombarded by "self." It's not that I haven't known that we are a self-absorbed people, it's just at this particular moment I've realized we've been deceived by terms that seem so innocent, unless you really look at them through God's perspective.

Self-Esteem — Self-Image — Self-Worth

These words sound innocent enough, don't they? But sadly, every other magazine article, self-help book, commercial and Oprah episode shares to some extent the wisdom of the world in regards to having good self-esteem, self-image and self-worth. Satan wants us to be obsessed with "self" — he wants us to think it's all about us. If we're honest, the irony is that we get our self-image, self-esteem and our self-worth from OTHER people — it's really not from self at all!

Just for kicks, as long as we're talking about "self," let's throw self- righteous on the table for thought. We can't be self-righteous on our own. The only way to be self-righteous is when we are comparing our "self" to others. Isn't it funny that in reality all four of these "self" terms truthfully have more to do with "others" than they do with "self."

The world says, "Chart your own course, be different, be your SELF!" Cheetah girls sing about it and motivational speakers teach us how to do it. However, if we are seeking to be like Jesus, to live as a Child of God, then maybe instead of wasting all this time trying to build each other's "self" esteem, we could encourage each other to be like God.

The lie that we've believed is that it's all about us!
I find it interesting that the bible never says anything about self-image, self-esteem or self-worth. God never encourages us or commands us to have good "self-images." Even as Christians, we tell our children, "You can do anything! You can be anything! Believe in yourself!" But, if we look at our lives through God's eyes and His truth, it's not about "self" doing anything. God tells us we can do all things through HIM who gives us strength (Philippians 4:13). He says we are HIS workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works which HE prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). He says He is at work in us giving us the will and the power to achieve HIS purpose (Philippians 2:13)! We've often tried to chart our own course, and in the process have missed the truth of our existence — that we were created to do one thing and one thing only: God's will.

The lie that we've believed is that it's all about us, but the truth of God's word is that it's all about HIM. There would never be a need for self-esteem if we choose to live a life filled with "God" esteem! The truth of who we are is found in the very nature of God. We were chosen by God and created to be like Him in TRUE righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:24). What other "esteem" could we possibly need to accomplish great things and more importantly, to accomplish the will of God?

May we trade in our self-absorbed life for a God-absorbed life. May we embrace the power of our God-esteem and our God-Image and may we find our worth in the one who created us to do great things! May we find freedom in who we are made to be by the Father. As Soren Kierkegaard once said, "Now with God's help, I shall become myself."

God-Esteem + God-Image + God-Worth = ME