Thesis: We need to look to God to tell us who we are.
1. < Show the congregation a mirror >
a. "This is obviously a mirror."
1) You probably look at one several times each day (some more/less).
2) Anytime you want to see how you look, step in front of a mirror.
b. Looking at the unseen part of ourselves is much more difficult.
1) How do we see ourselves? Probably not as accurately as we should!
2) Illust. Have you ever had the experience of hearing a slim and attractive young woman talk about how fat she is? You're thinking, "What's wrong here?" You know fat, maybe you are fat, and this gal is not fat. Surely she's putting you on! Not at all. In her mind she really is fat.
2. The issue becomes: How do we really see ourselves? Is it accurate? Do we have self-esteem? If so, is it genuine? What is it really based on?
I. THE PROBLEM WE HAVE WITH SELF-ESTEEM.
A. People have had problems with self-esteem since the Garden of Eden!
1. OVER-INFLATED SELF-IMAGE (Gen. 3:5).
a. Just before eating the forbidden fruit.
b. Adam & Eve wanted to be like God.
c. Wanted to be MORE than what God had created them to be.
2. NEGATIVE SELF-IMAGE (Gen. 3:7).
a. Just after eating the forbidden fruit.
b. Adam & Eve experienced shame and guilt.
c. Viewed self as LESS than what God had created them to be.
B. Ever since the Fall we've experienced the same two perversions of how we view ourselves.
1. Too high--sinful pride.
2. Too low--feelings of shame or worthlessness.
3. Wouldn't it be nice if we could see ourselves the way God does?
II. FALSE APPROACHES TO SELF-ESTEEM.
A. Talk ourselves into feeling good about ourselves.
1. Characteristic of pop psychology/positive thinking approaches.
2. Illust. Alan Loy McGinnis writes about this approach: "There is something pathetic about members of a weekend seminar--at least the kind endemic to southern California--in which participants stand in a room and shout over and over, `I like myself, I like myself.' With the enormous emphasis on introspection and `finding yourself' in current pop psychology, many people emerge from therapy self-focused, self-centered, and self-absorbed. One man, whose wife left him a few months ago, went to see a counselor. He says, `After some therapy I now know that Jan lost a wonderful man. I've recently fallen in love with a fantastic person--myself.'
B. Try to find ourselves so we can feel good about ourselves.
1. The Bible doesn't say a whole lot about "finding yourself" except to say the way to do it is to lose yourself (Matt. 10:39).
2. Illust. Tony Campolo puts it this way: "If there was such a thing as a self waiting to be found, undoubtedly by now someone would have come along and found it. You would expect that out of the hundreds of thousands of young people who take time off to find themselves, one of them would come back and say, "Hey, Doc, I did it. I looked and looked and finally found myself!" But the reason this doesn't happen is that no such thing as a self is waiting to be found. Rather than waiting to be discovered, the self is waiting to be created. And there is only one way to create a self, an identity, a meaning to one's life, and that is through commitment. Show me somebody with a clear-cut commitment and I'll show you somebody who knows who he is and what life is all about. I have yet to meet a person who has dedicated his life to Jesus Christ without reservation who lacks an identity or a purpose for being. I have yet to meet a person who has said, "For me to live is Christ, to die is gain!" who doesn't have a definite image of who he is. The problem is that most people would rather play the game of self-discovery than make a genuine commitment, for commitment costs everything a person is and has.
C. Try to rid ourselves of evil so we can feel good about ourselves.
1. I have low self-esteem because I'm a dirty rotten sinner. If I want to feel good about myself all I have to do is stop being a DRS!
2. Illust. Someone has put the problem this way: "Sometimes we even put ourselves down for religious reasons. There are times when our religion makes us too introspective for our own good. Spending more time than we should trying to discover all the sins in our lives can guarantee that we will end up depressed. If we concentrate too much on rooting out the evil that lies within us, we will find much more than we can handle."