Self-Esteem: What’s Wrong With Esteeming Self?

egoWhether 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.

Romans 12:1-3:

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.

6 thoughts on “Self-Esteem: What’s Wrong With Esteeming Self?

  1. Carol

    People are so caught up in themselves…and it’s tragic when the “people” we are referring to are supposedly Christians. One of the reasons why I left the organized hodgepodge called Church because it was more about a certain group of people in the church who was so caught up in themselves they thought they were the only ones capable of serving God in that particular place..and left no room for anyone else to serve God…unless it was in positions they didn’t want to do, like working in the nursery…

    When people are so caught up in themselves…whether it’s because they think their money finances the work being don in that church, or whatever “talent” they bring to church…they miss the point of worship, and that is to focus on God and what He has done and will do. Not us.

  2. truthinator

    Your article is perfect for today’s self-indulgent culture. I heard Sproul, and Ravi both talk about America’s over-abundance of self esteem on the radio ths week. If there is something America does not need, it is more self esteem. Your Biblical proof was perfectly on target. Thanks.


  3. Carol

    I agree. There is just so much talk about self…whether it’s about themselves, the “work” they do for the Lord, the spouses, the kids….and these are blessings, but we must never forget blessing the Lord and Praising Him. We are created for HIS pleasure…and NOT God there to entertain and amuse us and make us feel good about ourselves…

    The breath we take is in God’s hands and if we have the next breath it’s according to God’s will…so we need to take our eyes of SELF and look to HIM!

  4. Lakewood Member

    Don’t forget Matt. 2:26 when Jesus said that the second of the two great commandments was to “Love your neighbor and hate yourself.” Ooops… Jesus didn’t say that… my apologies. Jesus said, to love your neighbor AS YOU LOVE YOURSELVES.
    What did Jesus mean by that? Could it be that love for oneself is a relative thing… relative to one’s love for God and for one’s neighbor?
    The problem with your essay is that you are analyzing love for oneself in a vacuum and as an absolute.
    If someone wanted to analyze your essay as shallowly as you have analyzed … say Joel Osteen’s messages, we could simply accuse you of advocating disdain for oneself. And then we could write an essay that concludes your ideas lead to the manifestation of absolute disdain of oneself …suicide.
    Of course, I am sure that is NOT your intention. But then I am also sure that Joel Osteen’s message is not to Love yourself more than you love God or your neighbor.
    Perhaps a deeper analysis mixed with a little common sense is in order.

  5. Chrystal Post author

    Lakewood Member…I do disdain myself, my wicked, sinful self. The wickedness and sinfulness that God’s Holy Son had to die to redeem. There is nothing good or righteous about me apart from the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

    Please, take just a moment and hear my heart and Scripture on this. Self-esteem teachers say that first before you can love others, you must love yourself. But, that’s not what Scripture teaches because self-love is really just conceit and self-exaltation and sinful.

    So, as far as self esteem is concerned, please never forget that “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6)

    Now, if you’re going to use what Jesus said about loving your neighbor as yourself, please at least take the whole passage into consideration instead of taking one verse. Let’s look at it.

    Luke 10:25-37:

    25 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
    26 And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?”
    28 And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; DO THIS, AND YOU WILL LIVE.”
    29 But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
    30 Jesus replied and said, “A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho; and he fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went off leaving him half dead.
    31 “And by chance a certain priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
    32 “And likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
    33 “But a certain Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion,
    34 and came to him, and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
    35 “And on the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return, I will repay you.’
    36 “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands? ”
    37 And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” And Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”

    Now, these scriptures show that Jesus is telling us to esteem others higher than ourselves, not to esteem ourselves as high and others higher. It’s teaching humility, sacrafice and charity.

    To learn about humility, here is some good places to start…

    1 Peter 5:5-7:

    5 You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.
    6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time,
    7 casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.

    And don’t forget…

    Php 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.


    1Pe 3:4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

    Here’s some more:

    Colossians 3:12-13:

    12 And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;
    13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.


    James 4:6:

    6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.”

    This is enough to show you that Scripture teaches us to be humble, and esteem others more than ourselves. Not to esteem ourselves.

    This too:

    James 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

  6. truthinator

    Thanks Chrystal.

    Dear Lakewood,

    Please take this with the love and compassion with which it is written. Please leave Joel Osteen and find a real church that teaches from the Bible. You have probably never herad the truth from God’s word because Joel doesn’t tell the truth.

    He is a ‘nice’ man with great hair, lots of money, all the things of the world…however, the Bible does not speak well of having ‘Your best life now’.

    You need your best life to be in eternity with Jesus. Please read your Bible front to back. That is the only way you will see who God is. Encourage Joel to do the same.

    Please continue to view this site. Chrystal does an excellent job of representing the truth from God’s word.

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