An Examination of Self Esteem

Is our real problem with proper self development a poor self-esteem? Many are convinced so.

Yahweh is Great! Psalm 8:1These proponents strongly affirm that unless we have a proper view of our own lives, we will not have a proper view of others. If we do not love ourselves, then we cannot love others. Their conclusion is then to boost up man's view of himself.

Is this assessment correct? Psalm 8 stands out telling us that developing a proper self perspective can only come from properly understanding God. In fact as we look at this short Psalm, we will find that instead of searching for a good view of ourselves, we are called to come to grasp a right perspective of God.

Below is an evaluation of self esteem from Psalm 8.

Focused on God not on self

1 (For the choir director; on the Gittith. A Psalm of David.)

O LORD, our Lord, How majestic is Thy name in all the earth, Who hast displayed Thy splendor above the heavens!

1. God is great!

Man will gain a proper perspective of himself only when he understand himself in light of God His Maker. From verse 1, we discover that man is not even great enough to include in the equation of what makes greatness.

Here we learn that God is great. There is no other star on the stage of the universe. Only God deserves full praise and adoration.

When man compares himself with other men, women or animals, he thinks himself to be important, great, rich, wise, and influential. But all of these acclamations soon turn to dust when he stand sin light to the Creator.

God has a majestic Name, not man. The works of God are to be focused on rather than the deeds of man.

God is Mighty

2 From the mouth of infants and nursing babes Thou hast established strength, Because of Thine adversaries, To make the enemy and the revengeful cease.

2. God is mighty!

God's stength is clearly seen when He humbles His enemies through the mouths of infants and nursing babes. Man by himself is so weak and frail. But here we see God taking further steps by using infants that are unconscious of the interworkings of the complex world outside themselves.

We do not see man's cleverness here. Man's weakness is on display here so that God's mighty power is clearly seen. Man is the weak tool empowered by God!

God's ability is so great that He can use the most humble things to accomplish His purposes, but God's amazing ability to do this great feat!

God is Great

3 When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, The moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained;

3. God is the Creator!

When God wants to show off His mighty power, He doesn't choose man to illustrate His point. In Job He uses the dinosaurs and storms. Here in Psalm 8 The heavens, the moon and starts are instead spoken of.

Man is absent here. Although man is a special work of God, we see here that there are plenty of other mighty works of God. God doesn't here speak about man this way. His heavens are being displayed here.

God is so great. He is the Maker of the most splendid works around us. Any rudimentary study of astronomy quickly humbles the lofty concepts of man. God is great. He made it all.

Man is not God's greatest work.

Self Esteem Concept

Psalms 8:1-9

God Esteem Concept

 

1. Man says, Man usually compares himself to other men or animals. We find here that this is the improper basis on which to judge man. We need to be fair and judge man in light of God. And frankly, when compared, we find that God has a majestic Name. He is greater than all. and His glory goes beyond the heavens.


							

1. God says,

Instead of thinking about the value of man, we need to get a proper value of God's Great and majestic Person.

God is great!

2. God's stength is seen when He comes and humbles His enemies through the mouths of infants and nursing babes. We do not see it is man's cleverness but God's amazing ability to do it!

2 From the mouth of infants and nursing babes Thou hast established strength, Because of Thine adversaries, To make the enemy and the revengeful cease.

God is so great that He can use the most humble things to accomplish His purposes.

God is mighty!!

3. Although man is a special work of God, we see here that there are plenty of other mighty works of God. God doesn't here speak about man this way. His heavens are being displayed here.

3 When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, The moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained;

God is so great. He is the Maker of the most splendid works around us. Any rudimentary study of astronomy quickly humbles the lofty concepts of man. God is great. He made it all.

God is the mighty Creator!

4. Man is a humble creature rather than a great one. He has little strength. He naturally would not demand any special attention. Man is from earth.

4 What is man, that Thou dost take thought of him? And the son of man, that Thou dost care for him?

God is in a completely different class with man. God is glorious. Man is a slight and humble creature.

God is so merciful!

5. Man is frail but God did somethign special in this weak being. He specially honored man by doing something special in and through him.

5 Yet Thou hast made him a little lower than God, And dost crown him with glory and majesty!

We should note here that God took special steps to use man. God gave him an honor that he didn't deserve. But it is God who gives it. He is much greater than the one who received the honor.

God is gracious!

6. Man is God's servant. At his best, man serves God as he was appointed. He was responsible for caring for God's creation on earth but then through his failure brought a curese.

6-8 Thou dost make him to rule over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things under his feet, All sheep and oxen, And also the beasts of the field,The birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, Whatever passes through the paths of the seas. 

God is the great ruler. God is in charge of all and delegates authority and grants ability to rule as He sees fit.

God is the great Ruler!

7. When greatness is discussed, man does not fit into the picture.

9 O LORD, our Lord, How majestic is Thy name in all the earth!

Yahweh alone is majestic and mighty. Even though man has authrity, we find in the end he is but a servant to carry out God's good work.

Yahweh is majestic!

ome alive and apply to our present problems! Praise God!

In summary, we find that man only can be properly evaluated in light of God's person. If we use ourselves or other people to judge our lives, then we have an improper view of our lives. God will be left out in the cold. There is no doubt that this secular world is so strong because we are very earthly minded. This brings a very improper view of God.

We put everything backwards when we focus on the self-esteem of man. Instead of seeing God's greatness, we focus on our greatness. The scriptures do not allow us to have this concept. We are not to look at ourselves but to our God. Galatians 6 says to get a proper concept our ourselves.



Something is wrong with the teaching of self-esteem but it always seemed hard to pinpoint.

One might mention it is the overuse of the word. We find it absolutely everywhere, if not the word, certainly the concept. But popularity, though one must be cautious, does not insist on error.

Or one might mention the way it is used to shape our basic concepts about ourselves and our relationship with us. Certainly this was not taught Christian living years ago. But this doesn't make it wrong.

One problem with rightly evaluating self-esteem is in trying to understand what it really means. If we would define it as 'a good and proper concept of self,' we cannot find anything against the teaching. Because of this reason, this poor theology has been destroying the mind of modern Christians. Why?

We should have a proper concept of ourselves. We should not despise what God said was good. To be fair, we sometimes have the wrong view of ourselves. It is not true. We are proud and overconfident on who we are. This leads into a false belief that God accepts us because we are valuable and special. We end up confident that God loves us because we are loveable. In conjunction with this, we are upset with God when He doesn't show His saving love to all. In fact, we change around our theology to accomodate our wrong concepts.

A study in Psalm 8 brought clarity about how to look at this issue of self-esteem. It amazes me how a Psalm can powerfully c

 

The self-esteem movement has stolen lots of glory from God. How? Man begins to esteem himself highly and think less highly of God. When we look at Psalm 8 or any other place in the scripture talking about glory, we do not find man praising man. That is idol worship. Instead we have God and His works being openly declared and praised.

When God speaks about showing His glory through man, it is through weak and sinful vessels. We do not see this "I am a great person" concept. We do not find man being patted on the back by God saying, "I couldn't do without you."

Nor do we find the notion that we cannot be our best person unless we think highly of ourselves. This pride causes us to be too preoccupied with ourselves rather than others.

But is it not true, that people who look down on themselves do not rightly treat others. We gain a correct picture when God's Word becomes our standard, not some notion of what we think is good or right. God's Word touches our heart, we are convicted of moral failure. We then in turn ask for God's cleansing through CHrist and His empowerment to live rightly. We through brokenness find restoration which is doing what the Lord wants.

The world would instead insist that we are not that bad. We need to cheer up and have good confidence that we are special people. This talk causes us to look away from God's standard and His forgiveness.

  BFF Homepage  | Top | Back | Discipleship Page
Biblical Foundations for Freedom