Summary: You were created in teh image of God, and that makes you very special.
We sometimes call someone who is in love with himself a narcissist. What you may not know, though, is the story from Greek mythology from which we get that word. There are actually two Greek characters in the myth -- Narcissus and Echo. As the story goes, the goddess Hera got angry with Echo and cursed her by saying that she was doomed to repeat whatever she heard anyone else say.
One day Echo was hiding in the woods when the young man Narcissus was hunting and got lost. He called out to his friends, “Where are you?” Echo was forced to say, “Where are you?” He said, “I’m over here.” Echo said, “I’m over here.” So Narcissus started toward her and she got scared and ran away. Every time he called out to her, she answered.
She ran until she came to a clearing with a pool of water. When Narcissus came to the pool, he looked down and saw his own reflection for the first time and immediately feel in love with the beautiful young man he saw. He said, “I love you.” Echo who was hiding said, “I love you.” Narcissus thought it was this young man calling back to him. He wanted to be with him, so he jumped in the water, dove to the bottom of the pool and drowned.
The Bible has much about pride and about having too high an opinion of ourselves. But I suspect that more Christians struggle with the opposite problem -- not thinking highly enough of themselves.
In Romans 12:3, Paul said, “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly…” It is significant to me that Paul said we are not think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think, meaning that there is a level of self-esteem which is proper.
When Jesus taught in Luke 10:27, "You shall love....your neighbor as yourself", that suggests that there is an extent to which we should love ourselves. In fact, it may well be accurate to say that we’re going to have difficulty loving others if we don’t have a proper respect and love for ourselves to begin with.
James Dobson once took a survey of women and concluded that the number-one source of depression among women is low self-esteem. Studies indeed seem to show that women suffer more from low self-esteem than men do but it’s certainly a problem faced by both.
Low self-esteem, simply stated, is the inability to feel good about yourself. It is usually characterized by feelings of inadequacy, worthlessness and a lack of self-confidence. People with low self-esteem feel inferior and just simply don’t feel good about themselves. It is wondering why other people have so much more talent and ability than you do. It is feeling incredibly unattractive. It is disliking everything about yourself and wishing, constantly wishing, you could be someone else.
Which of us, men or women, have not experienced some of those feelings?
We need to develop a high self-esteem. Now, what I mean by high self-esteem is not a boastful spirit or a self-righteous attitude. It is simply a feeling of self-worth. It is self-confidence in your abilities or talents, whatever they may be.
I. Why is Self-Esteem Important?
We need to develop self-esteem because it affects so many areas of our lives. It affects our home life, it affects our relationship with others. But it also affects our work in the church. A Christian with high self-esteem is more likely to become involved in various programs of the church and in teaching Bible classes. He recognizes what his talents are and seeks to use them for the Lord. On the other hand, Christians with a low self-esteem are like the man who hid his one talent (Luke 19). They won’t use their talents because they are afraid of failure or criticism. They compare themselves with others and say, "Let So-and-So do it. He can do a much better job than I. I just don’t feel qualified."
Remember when Moses told God, “I really don’t feel qualified to do this job of leading your people out of Egypt. I really think you ought to get somebody else to do it.” And God said, “Who do you think gave you that tongue? I gave it to you. I expect you to use it.” (Exodus 4:11). Granted that a rather loose translation, but it gives you the idea.
The same thing happened when God picked Gideon to lead the Israelites into battle. Gideon said, “I’m a nobody.” God said, “Go in this might of yours!” (Judges 6:14).
You see, having a proper view of ourselves can make us better Christians. We can become more confident servants of God. I’m not interested this morning in boosting our egos. But hopefully a better self-esteem will cause us to be willing to do more for God and for others.