Monday, April 3, 2006
The Problem with Self-Esteem
“ ‘And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
When Scripture says, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” it is not saying, “First learn to love yourself, and then love your neighbor.” Rather, it is saying, “It is obvious you already love yourself. Love your neighbor in the same way.”
It is this love of self, this obsession with self, that gets us into trouble. We don’t need a better self-image. We don’t need greater self-esteem. And we certainly don’t need more self-love.
But here is what we do need. Jesus said “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). Notice that He did not say, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him esteem himself” or “let him love himself.” Rather, Jesus said, “Let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”
In the original language, the word “deny” means “to repudiate, to disdain, to disown, to forfeit, to totally disregard.” That is not an easy thing to do.
So in reality, the basic problem in our lives is not our spouse. It is not our boss. It is not our neighbors. It is not our upbringing. It is not low self-esteem. And it is not a poor self-image. It is the overt love of ourselves. Jesus said, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matthew 15:18–19).
So here is what it comes down to. The ultimate choice in life is between pleasing ourselves or pleasing God.
For more relevant and biblical teaching from Pastor Greg Laurie, go to www.harvest.org.
Copyright © 2006 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000.