That sounds very strange, doesn’t it? How could self-esteem be a danger? After all, everywhere we turn we hear that we really need good self-esteem and we must feel good about ourselves in order to have a good life.
Well, there are two key problems with our search for self-esteem:
- We’re looking for the wrong thing.
- We’re looking in the wrong place.
Self-esteem—feeling good about yourself—is a biblical oxymoron, a self-contradiction. The Bible tells us that our own natural selves are sin-infested and capable of nothing good. We learn that even the best things we can do look like filthy rags to God. So, feeling good about something that is inherently sinful and selfish is looking for the wrong thing.
For ten long years I searched for self-esteem and tried so hard to feel good about myself. I thought a successful career would do it, but I achieved that and found it empty. I thought the right relationship with a man would give me those good feelings, but relationships came and went, and none of them brought me the fulfillment I wanted. I bought homes and clothes and accumulated things and recognition, but the more I piled on what was supposed to bring me good self-esteem, the emptier I became.
If you’re looking for self-esteem today, you’re in the same danger I was in. It’s a dead-end road taking you nowhere but to emptiness and disappointment. Let me encourage you to abort that fruitless search and instead, set your heart to know God. Jeremiah wrote:
Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord (Jeremiah 9:23-24).
Set out to know and understand God. The more you do, the better you will feel about yourself. I promise you—it’s true. Good self-esteem comes as a by-product of knowing God better and better and appreciating who you are in God’s eyes.