Whether people like Joel Osteen and his followers know it or not, self-esteem is one sign that we are living in the last days. We live in a time when many people, half the church by latest estimation, is numbing their sadness and discontent with anti-depressants. Afterwards, they seek out spiritual Dr. Feelgoods who will gladly soothe the ego and tickle the itching ears. Our sinful nature makes us susceptible to the type of deception that magnifies man, although he is wicked and undeserving of magnification, and gives us the illusion that we are somehow more than what we are… lost.
Let’s face it, people like to feel good. What could be worse than walking around in abject misery every day of your life? That in and of itself is enough of a reason for some to bolster the ego and chase away all of the negativity… it’s a pleasurable thing! But can man exalt himself and still be faithful to God? How could this be possible when the very nature of self-esteem and self-exaltation is the opposite of what God’s Word tells us is necessary for repentance?
Scripture tells us that in these last days men will be lovers of self rather than lovers of God.
Paul wrote to Timothy:
2 Timothy 3:1-5:
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. (emphasis mine)
Today’s feel-good messages being preached from the pulpit hamper the ability of the listener to be cut to the heart with conviction, and impedes the way to repentance. When men build or puff themselves up to say, “I am special” or “I am a wonderful person,” how is that any different than what the Pharisee in Jesus’s parable said about himself? “I am thankful that I am not as other men, but I am (fill in the blank).” However, a tax gatherer who stood praying nearby wouldn’t even lift up his eyes to Heaven, but instead, in his contrition, he smote his breast and prayed, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” (Luke 18:10-14) Notice that he didn’t say, “God, have mercy on me, a wonderful and special person.” No. He humbled himself, as we all should, and sincerely asked for God’s mercy on behalf of himself, a sinner. Which one went away justified? Not the Pharisee. It was the tax gatherer, who came before God in humility and confessed that he was a sinner, who was justified before God. Straightway, Jesus gave a warning that those who would seek to exalt themselves shall be abased, and those who humble themselves before God will be exalted.
Paul reinforced these truths and warned about them in his epistles. In 2 Timothy, he warned Timothy that in the last days men would be lovers of self. The fact that we have major ministries built on the principles of esteeming self above all should be a gigantic red flag to all Bible believing Christians who eagerly await the return of Jesus and watch the signs of His coming. Knowing the hour in which we live is late, is it any wonder that Joel Osteen’s church, which is built on self-esteem, is the largest church in America? Should this surprise us? Not if we know the signs of the times given to us by God in His Word.
Let us always seek to humble ourselves before the throne of God and seek His mercy and forgiveness.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.