Summary: Although this passage is not the cure-all for self-esteem problems, it clearly will make a significant difference. Walk with the Lord and serve the Lord and you will feel better about yourself.
Lifting Self Esteem Through Church Life
1. People will try anything to build their self-esteem:
A mild mannered young man came into a counselor’s office ready for a divorce. He complained that his bride was so bossy that she was driving him off the wall. He wanted things to change, immediately.
He told him that he needed to build his self-esteem and that this would take time. Then the counselor gave him a book on assertiveness. He was so desperate to change things that he read the whole book on the way home. By the time he reached his house he had read the whole book. Determined to be a victim no more, he stormed into the house and walked up to his wife. Pointing a finger in her face, he said, "From now on, I want you to know that I am the man of this house, and my word is law!
I want you to prepare me a gourmet meal tonight, and to finish the meal with a fabulous baked dessert.
Then, after dinner, you’re going to draw me my bath so I can relax.
And when I’m finished with my bath, guess who’s going to dress me and comb my hair?"
"The funeral director," said his wife.
2. Self-esteem is not merely a contemporary issue. People have always been people, and self-esteem has always been an issue, even if different terminology was used.
3. When God confronted Cain after God rejected his offering, God asked him, “Why is your face downcast?”
MAIN IDEA: Although this passage is not the cure-all for self-esteem problems, it clearly will make a significant difference. Walk with the Lord and serve the Lord and you will feel better about yourself.
I. Proper Self-Esteem Begins with SOUND Judgment
1. In the Christian arena, FAITH is what sets us apart
• Many Christians evaluate themselves superficially, based upon things that will not last….
• But sometimes those the world defines as failures are God’s success stories, and those designated as successes are failures in God’s eyes….
• We have to ask, “Which value system do we use?”
2. God’s Perspective: The solution to ARROGANCE is not detesting ourselves, but an accurate perspective regarding who we are.
• As David Lieberman explains, “Self-esteem and Ego are inversely related—when one goes up, the other goes down…a person with low self-esteem is highly sensitive…The greater our self-esteem, the less hurt we feel when someone is disrespectful.”
• You can see how important this is to church life; conflict is much more likely when people are sensitive and grasping for control
• God wants us to find our self-esteem not by depending upon others around us to give us our way, but by virtue of realistically understanding ourselves and finding our sense of specialness in our walk with God…
3. Want to feel better about yourself? Do the RIGHT thing; nurture your Christian walk (faith and faithfulness), and you will nurture your self-esteem.
• Control yourself and make decisions based on God’s wisdom and not emotion, and you will feel better about yourself; you will be more tolerant of others, not easily insulted, not angry all the time
• If you depend upon constant approval for others, you will become an angry person when you do not receive it
• People with low self-esteem are often so focused upon themselves that they do not sense the freedom to enjoy others…or, if involved, they cannot receive from others (only give)…
Walk with the Lord and serve the Lord and you will feel better about yourself.
II. We Nurture Self-Esteem by APPRECIATING Our Unique Contribution to Church Life (4)
1. We all are to be a unique PART of the body, the church
• It can be SO hard for some people to get involved; we think other people might do a better job than we, so we do not volunteer; we feel unworthy to serve.
• We’ve all been embarrassed over the years, and it can traumatize us so much that we take great pains to protect ourselves, not willing to take a risk
• But folks, none of us are that different from the rest of us.
2. We tend not to appreciate what comes EASY to us; but what comes easy to us is a good indicator of where we need to serve.
• It is easy for me to write, for example; other people find that a struggle. But those same people cannot understand why I cannot sing or do so poorly at sports because those things comes easy to them….
• There are abilities you have, anywhere from decorating to organizing that many of us cannot handle….
3. Rick Warren put it this way: At the Judgment Seat of Christ, I think Jesus is going to ask a lot of us, “why weren’t you more YOU?”