Christian self-worth By William H. Burns III 10.16.02
Today is the day the lord has made. But, we make some days better than others.
Sometimes, there isnít a good day because we donít feel good about ourselves; possibly because there is a lack of love for ourselves and a lack of self-worth. "A new humanity is the goal of Godís loving action, and he uses acts of human love to attain this end. God is the source of these acts (1 Corinthians 8.3). He awakes the faith, which comes into action in love (Galatians 5.6). He pours forth the Spirit who frees us for loving activity (Galatians 5.22)."1
We should love ourselves, as God loves us (1 John 3.1). The love of oneself is fundamental to our relationship with God, and His relationship with us. Our relationship to others should be as we love ourselves 2,and thus, our ability to glorify God in all we do. How do we know what love is if we cannot have love for ourselves? Itís impossible. 1 John 4.11 tells us, "Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." And further, 1 John 4.17 says, "We love, because He loved us first. Because of this, humans, each and every one of us, should be very aware of our self worth. We are important to God, others and ourselves. Recognizing this, even bad days can become better, and good days become great. We are then in a better position to go about our day, doing our best at everything we do, being the best we can be to each and every person we meet. These things glorify God. We are justified through Christ to the Father, and have worth.
We should love ourselves because of our importance to God, and therefore, be able to give unconditional love others and realize our worth. We so important to Him that:
He created us in His image. It is our entire image that should reflect the image of God.3 Genesis 1.26
He sent His only begotten son to be crucified for our sins. Matthew 27.50
He will take on all of our problems. Matthew 11.29, John 3.16
When the son left this world He sent the Holy Spirit. John 14.16, another helper and comforter.
He gave us a soul to make us more than robots.
Through Him we can accomplish more than we ever can hope for. Ephesians 3.20
We are so important to Him that we are saved, through faith, by a gift from Him (Ephesians 2.8-9). We are so important to Him that gifts are given to us, which are far beyond anything the World could offer (Galatians 5.22-23).
Yes, we should have self-worth because of our importance to God. Self-esteem is largely based on our feeling of worthiness. Worthiness is, in many cases, based on our upbringing. Experiences of success and failure, and how people reacted to them when we are young can affect how we perceive ourselves. This perception can continue through adulthood. Fortunately, for the Christian, worldly success is not important, and self-worth and love are from God, not man. As to the love and worth we should have, Watchman Nee comments, Our soul life, as it experiences death, loses its power and becomes as much dead in the matter of affection."4 And, he further observes that man, going through the transformation of the mind and becoming a new creation should have a love, which is selfless. There are two types of love Christ Jesus wanted from Simon Peter, sacrificial love and that of a true friend. This is the love we should have knowing we are loved by God and deserving of the love.....* of ourselves and others. When we donít feel worthy of love, even Godís, thatís low self-esteem in the Christian sense. We are unworthy of Godís grace because of sin, but Christ Jesus has removed a Christianís practice of sin. And, we are justified through Christ to the Father and have worth.
Now to the nay sayers of self worth. The Christian view of self-worth acknowledges sins and failures, but it doesnít demean our deepest significance as creations of the living God. Because we are created in the image of God and He loves us, we possess great worth, significance, and value. Self-worth is a realistic self-appraisal, along with humility. Humility is not self-negation or the rejection of all our God-given strengths and abilities. Humility involves a grateful dependence on God and a realistic appraisal of both our strengths and weaknesses.5 This compares to pride, which is an arrogant, haughty estimation of oneself in relation to others. Pride is characterized by seeking glory for ourselves which belongs to God for giving us what we have. God hates a prideful nature (Proverbs 16.18; James 4.6; 1 Peter 5.5). God has given each person abilities, talents and responsibilities that enable them to serve Christ and the Church more effectively. To deny the existence of these gifts is self-deception, not self-denial.# A belittled, criticized, shamed, rejected, I am no good attitude increases the likelihood of failure, and a further loss of self- esteem and self-worth which is a favorite tool of Satan. We are justified through Christ to the Father and have worth.
What self-worth is not: being self-centered, self-gratifying, or living self-affirming lives. Or, with a me first attitude. But, to live and love sacrificially for Him (John 21.15-16) and to be His friend (John 21.17), remembering always that itís through that which God has given us that we are what we are. What we are, humans who, because of sin, do fail, but Godís forgiveness and love never fails.
Humility is not the same as humiliation, and self-condemnation. The Self-Crucifixion Theology assumes, humans are worthless, that our desires, thoughts, and individual abilities should be denied or crucified, that we should put down our human nature, and that Christís thoughts and attitudes should completely engulf our lives. This view seems to be spiritual, but denies (and therefore, squelches) the individual gifts, abilities, personalities, and capacities that come to each of us from God and are intended to be used in His service.7 This theology fails to recognize we as Christians, have been crucified with Christ and now live as new creatures in fellowship with Him. This does not mean we are to become robots who reject our abilities or talents and stifle our personalities, as some would teach. We should, however, submit to His control, and God will work through the unique individual differences he has given to each person for His glory. Those who teach Self-Crucifixion Theology do not know Godís character and nature, and would have people think He is a God of shame and quilt, not love. Shame and quilt are the tools of darkness. Self- Crucifixion Theology is a teaching, which lacks acknowledgement of Godís loving view of man and teaches condemnation. The Father sent the Son to save His children not to condemn, this is Godís love; versus quilt and shame expounded by those who are judgmental and condemning. 1 John 4.8 tells us, The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. Those who do not know love condemn; and those who love, save. We are justified by grace through Christ to the Father, and have worth and forgiveness comes from God, not man. Our spiritual relationship with God is special to each one of us and does not involve another manís shallow and selfish view of love.8
Being unworthy in Godís eyes is not the same as worthless. As Iíve mentioned, God knows our worth. Many people must come to recognize their worth to themselves, and others. We should love ourselves because of our importance to God and it is through His love we love. And, we have assurance of Godís love (John 3.16); our strength is through Him (2 Corinthians 12.9). We can rejoice under any circumstance (Philippians 3.8, 4.1-12, 4.4), and our future is secure (Ephesians 2.8-9). We all have assurance of Godís help and support in weakness. Joshua 1.5 tells us, ....I will not fail you or forsake you and is repeated more than 1400 years later.9 Yes, we have a right to love, and be loved. We have self-worth regardless of what anyone says or does, not because of our own accord and volition, but because of our relationship with Him and grace. We are justified through Christ to the Father, and have worth; God does not make junk.
Yes, today is the day the Lord has made. We can enjoy every by minute knowing we are His children, and He thinks we are special and valuable, no matter what the World may think. You are justified through Christ to the Father, and have worth. No person can take this away from one of His. No one.
I would admonish those whoís worth comes from the soul to be aware that this worth is not what I am discussing. Things of the soul are subject to change depending on the situation or circumstances. What is being discussed is the love and therefore, the worth, which is from God. You, man, the world and anything else which has been created cannot give what the Creator does(Romans 8.29).
Today is the day the Lord has made, enjoy it. God loves you and you are worth it.
Pastor William H. Burns III
Notes: 1. Gerhard Kittles and Gerhard Friedrich, Dictionary of the New Testament, Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmanns Publishing, 1985, p. 9 2. Mark 12.33 3. Life Application Study Bible, NAV, Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 1995 4. Watchman Nee, The Spiritual Man, vol. II, p. 206: Colossians 10.3, Romans 12.1 5. Gary Collins, Christian Counseling, Revised Edition, Dallas: Word Publishing, 1988, p. 316 6. ibid, p. 318-319 7. ibid, p. 320 8. Watchman Nee, The Spiritual Man, vol. II,p.210 9. Hebrews 13.5