|Mitzi and Marijo several years ago......|
Much is said now days about self esteem. How people are crushed and ruined with poor self esteem, how they can spend years in therapy because of incidents in their past which robbed them of “self esteem”. I am not minimizing the concerns here but simply looking at them from a bit of a different perspective I think.
The Bible has much to say about “self”.
Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. (NIV)
OK this says to deny himself or maybe that could be written our SELF. That sounds like maybe shining the spot light on someone or something other than ME. Oh, my. I wonder what else is said about this topic.
7 For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, 8 but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, 9 holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict …….(NKJV)
A Bishop is to be an example, someone who is not self-willed. That might mean someone who thinks of the good of others. And it also says self-controlled. Wonder what else the Word says about SELF?
2 Timothy 3:2-4
2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God (NKJV)
This one is talking about men during the final days, it looks like it is painting an apt picture unfortunately and it says they will be lovers of themselves, along with a rafter of other negative descriptions, rather than lovers of God.
This is getting pretty descriptive but there is still some more to pin point this description of SELF.
19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery,[a]fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders,[b] drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (NKJV)
“Selfish” seems to be raising its ugly head again in these verses too. along with many “attributes” that most of us would not like to have.
I am going to turn this around and look at some of the good parts of “self” soon= but let’s take a look at some of the “promises” regarding selfish self.
In his self-sufficiency he will be in distress; Every hand of misery will come against him. (NIV)
A wise man fears and departs from evil, But a fool rages and is self-confident.(NIV)
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence.(NIV)
7 eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; 8 but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, 9 tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek….(NKJV)
I think those are not things we’d want to claim for our own, are they?
Where is the hope? Where is the help?
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.(NKJV)
Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.(NKJV)
The best hope is knowing that God created you to be uniquely you. He had something special in mind and thought you up, your personality and all those unique things which make you, you BEFORE you were ever conceived. He might not have chosen the circumstances around your conception if there was sin involved BUT that made you no less precious and unique to Him. You are one of a kind. God’s purpose for you is special and only for you. You do have a purpose. You were not an accident.
Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. (NKJV)
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. (NKJV)
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.(NKJV)
Looks like the Bible is saying that it is all about denying your SELF rather than exulting yourself. Letting go and placing your SELF into the most capable hands of Him who created you in the first place, he who made you unique, special and created you in His image.
Something to think about while you do the following:
Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
And with the followuing promise how can we go wrong?
To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified… (NKJV)
(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.