This is the fifth in my series on the teachings of the Bible regarding self-esteem. We are looking at various aspects of self-esteem from a scriptural perspective. So far, we have established that we are precious and loved by God, and that we don’t have to do anything to earn that love. The fact that we are imperfect sinners doesn’t alter His love for us in any way. Finally, we have seen that we should be humble in our relationship with God, realizing that we are totally dependent on Him.
So, if we are so precious and loved by our Father, why do we experience self-esteem difficulties and why do so many have self-critical thoughts? Why do we not recognize our true, God-given worth? Why are so many people so miserable?
To answer these questions, we have to look at scriptures on Satan and sin. In John 10:10, we are told:
Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy. John 10:10
There are various ways to interpret this verse, but I believe that Satan comes to:
-steal your proper identity as a beloved creation of God
-kill your joy in this life and
-destroy your ability to serve God.
Look at the fruits of your self-critical thoughts. Does God benefit from the names you call yourself? Do your negative assumptions of your future bring Him joy? Is His kingdom advanced by your belief that you aren’t as important or lovable as other people? Do your feelings of inadequacy help you reach out to others or share the gospel?
Satan benefits from our self-demeaning and self-critical thoughts. In fact, I believe that Satan feeds us self-critical and self-demeaning thoughts because it serves his purposes. When we have negative beliefs about ourselves, and our thoughts are bombarded by self-criticism, our behaviors and our choices change. We sometimes become negative or mean toward others, inducing pain. We certainly are being negative and mean toward ourselves. We become ineffective in sharing God’s love. We back away from important activities because we feel inadequate or unworthy. Many feel they cannot even attend church because they have done too many bad things. We don’t experience joy, and we certainly don’t experience abundant life.
In Revelation 12:10, John writes:
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. Rev. 12:10
He accuses us both day and night. Does that sound familiar?
Unfortunately, when Satan accuses us, it sounds like our own voice. We don’t recognize the source of the thought. We accept the thought without question. It becomes as natural as breathing. With each self-critical thought, he has won another battle.
Would your reaction be different if you immediately recognized those self-critical thoughts as coming from Satan? Would you listen to them and accept them if the voice sounded like Satan? Would it make a difference if the voice you heard was raspy and sinister like a movie monster? Of course it would. Unfortunately, the voice sounds like your own. You have to remind yourself of the true source. You have to catch the thoughts and refuse to listen. You have to be diligent in changing your thinking. You might try praying that God will help you stop being self-critical. He just might!