There have been a lot of advancements and discoveries in clinical psychology with my generation – so much that it is often rare to grow spiritually as a believer and NOT take into consideration how relevant some psychological findings are as they relate to a person’s self esteem. I think it goes without saying that multiplied millions of people suffer from having a low opinion of themselves (low self esteem.)
Made available to the insecure masses are hundreds—possibly thousands—of self-help books that try to repair a self-esteem problem in mankind that Jesus Christ fixed once and for all 2,000 years ago through God’s plan of redemption.
What Is Self Esteem?
In a nutshell, self esteem is nothing more than how you see yourself, and based on what you see, you will conclude what your worth is and how valuable you are. The sad truth about self esteem is that mankind has become very impressionable to the opinions of others and has allowed how other people see them to influence the way that they see themselves.
Dictionary.com defines self esteem this way: a realistic respect for, or favorable impression of oneself; self-respect.
There are scores of great books written by Christian authors that can help you develop a stronger walk with the Lord, how to pray, or even to help you find out what God may have called you to do specifically so that you can find your “spot” in this world. While these books are great, and can help you to a degree, the fact is that many times people give more attention and study to these books than God’s Word, which only ensures that you’ll have the continued problem of seeing yourself the wrong way. Without knowing the Bible for yourself, you have no way of knowing if you are being led into un-truths that will keep you from experiencing true freedom in Christ. To expose the lies that you have believed about yourself, you must discover what God says about you!
Your Identity as a Believer
The spiritual health and self-esteem of a Christian is determined by how much that person knows regarding what God has said about them in His written Word, AND whether or not they believe it. Show me someone that knows very little about God’s Word, and I’ll show you someone that lives a defeated Christian life and has a low opinion of themselves.
Your identity as a disciple of Christ and a son or daughter of God must come from His Word and the way that God has planned it rather than getting it from someone else that may or may not know God for themselves.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
I think many people misread or do not see this verse for what it is really saying. “Old things have passed away, behold, all things become new” does not simply mean that you have been given a second chance. Yes, it is true that your past has been forgiven and forgotten, and it does mean that God has given you a clean slate…a new beginning. But, that’s not all it means. So many people read this verse in light of who they are and how they currently see themselves.
Not Better of the Same, but Something New and Different
You see, God does not take your life and just clean it up. He turns you into someone DIFFERENT. The reason why your past no longer matters and that “old things have passed away” is because after you were born again, YOU were no longer YOU. Sure, you have the same body, same hair style probably, same set of clothes, you probably still work at the same job, etc. But something happened on the inside of you in your spirit – what the Bible calls “the hidden man of the heart.” You received a NEW IDENTITY from the Creator of the Universe. I know that doesn’t sound that exciting to you, but it will. Check this out…
Federal Witness Protection
Imagine that you witnessed a big time mob boss murder someone, and in exchange for your testimony in federal court, the government has to put you into the Federal Witness Protection Program. The life that you have come to know has just ended.
They don’t ask you who you want to be—they just create a new identity for you and push you into it with very little training. They might give you a handbook of do’s and don’ts to help you adjust to this new life that has been dropped into your lap. You now have rules that you are not used to following, and you don’t get to return to your old life in any way, shape, or form. If you do, you put your life in danger. Your safety is in your new identity where you can be protected by the organization that gave you the new identity. The government doesn’t know you or call you by your old name. They only know you by your new name and how they have classified you in their system. It doesn’t matter what you have done in the past…even if you have committed crimes yourself! Because you are a new person with a new identity, they cannot prosecute you for those crimes anymore because you are this NEW person now. You aren’t TRYING to become a new person…you were MADE into a new person the minute you agreed to go into protective custody. Your old life doesn’t even matter…at least not to them. Your old life has no use for you anymore…it has become forever insignificant and irrelevant.
So, you spend the rest of your life learning how to live by a new set of rules that only apply to you as long as you live according to this new identity. If you try to return to your old life in any way, or try to assume your old identity – even for a moment – then you put your life in danger and risk being exposed to those that seek to steal, kill, and destroy who you are. Your enemy would love nothing more than for you to return to your former life where you are unprotected so he can kill you. Your protection and salvation from this insane murderer is found within the confines of your new identity. It must become your reality—you must find ways to brainwash yourself and change the way you think and look at yourself! You must learn all you can about how to live this new life that has been given to you.
It’s not too far-fetched, is it? It happens to people all the time. There are thousands of people living in the Witness Protection Program with new identities. Do you see the parallel I am using here?
Behold All Things Have Become New
If you are born again, you are NOT the same person. You are a NEW creation, which means you have a new identity. In the moment of your decision to follow Christ, your position in life went from sinner to saint. It doesn’t matter what modern medicine or what psychologists will tell you. Embracing this reality is the only way that you can permanently change your behavior and truly change your own opinion about yourself (your self esteem).
Knowing everything God has said about you and choosing to believe it will change what you say about yourself (if you really believe His Word). I know this all sounds too easy, because it literally eliminates the pressure to clean up your life and become worthy of what Christ has done for you. Yes, exactly! And that’s the reason Jesus Christ took your place on the cross. He took your disobedience and gave you His obedience. It has already been done, so just act like it.