"God, Why Did You Make Me This Way?"
(A problem of gratefulness, not self-esteem)
Over the past few decades there has been a huge shift in
public opinion regarding how people should view themselves.
Specifically, this idea is the need to build self-esteem or
self-love, or building up someone's self-worth. Do you detect a
problem here? The common denominator is "self". This is
basically a humanistic ideal that essentially puts man in
charge of himself as his own god. Man makes himself "god", the
center of this theology, rather than Jehovah God being first
and foremost. This is nothing new, for man has always tried to
come up with with ways to minimize his own sin and depravity
passed down from Adam's sin.
Traditionally, the Christian church responds to current
trends in usually two ways. The church either embraces new
ideas with little thought or discernment, or it rejects the
ideal and swings too far the other way by setting up a list of
extra unnecessary "rules" and "regulations". In Evangelical
circles "self-esteem" theology has been relatively embraced. In
Fundamental circles there is a resistance to this teaching, and
consequently avoidance of the topic. Therefore the goal of this
lesson is to suggest a different approach in an effort to look
at this subject from hopefully a balanced point of view. Here
are the questions to be investigated: What is a biblical view
of man? Should we not teach that our lives are valuable,
worthy, and important?
Biblical View of Mankind
Do you ever welcome these ideas?
Humanistic view: Man has a
basically good nature.
Scripture: Romans 7:18;
Titus 3:5; Jeremiah 17:9, "The heart is deceitful above all
things, and desperately wicked."
Biblical View: Clearly the
Bible teaches that mankind is fallen and totally depraved. We
are sinners in need of a Savior. Thankfully, Jesus Christ died in our
place to remove our sin and redeem us.
Humanistic view: The reason
that people continue to sin is that they do not think highly of
themselves; they feel unimportant; they have low self-worth.
They cannot be expected to behave properly.
Scripture: Romans 12:3 &
3:10-12; John 8:34, "Whosoever committeth sin is the servant
Biblical View: People sin
because they are born sinners.
(Note of interest from JMS: When Jesus
told His disciples at the Passover seder (commonly known as
The Last Supper), "This do in remembrance of Me,"
there is more than the picture of the fruit of the vine
representing His precious blood and the unleavened bread
representing His sinless body. We also must remember that,
because of the Passover, Israel was released from slavery,
from bondage to the Egyptians. Through Christ's blood atonement
on Calvary, the born-again believer is released from slavery,
from bondage to SIN! Praise Him!)
Humanistic view: Don't spank
Bobby; you'll damage his self-worth! He really has a good
Scripture: Hebrews 12:6;
Proverbs 29:16 & 22:15, "Foolishness is bound in the heart
of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from
Biblical View: Again, every
child and every adult is a sinner, naturally depraved.
Consistent loving discipline will not damage self-worth, but
actually correct the child and give him a proper view of right
and wrong. This will result in obedience, which produces the
fruit of joy. Contrary, lack of discipline will produce an
insecure child (no boundaries) resulting in willfulness and
Humanistic view: Jesus came to
die for us because of the great worth of mankind to God.
Scripture: "When we were
enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son." (Romans 5:10).
Biblical View: The point here
is that we were enemies of God. There was nothing good about
us, nothing deserving of God's salvation. He doesn't save us
because we are good or smart or intelligent or beautiful. He
simply chose to love us and to redeem us. Knowing this makes
God's love and grace that much more amazing!
Designed for God's Glory:
So is there any value in man? Is there anything else in
Scripture that God says positively to help us? Is there a
balance? What do we do when we are discouraged with ourselves?
How do we deal with apparent physical defects and
imperfections? What about disappointment over disease,
sickness, and accidents? What about those times when we hate
ourselves...when we hate life in general?
Some Truths to Keep in Mind...
Beware of Satan's goal:
"...to steal, and to kill, and to destroy" (John 10:10).
* He wants us to be miserable and unthankful, rejecting the
way God made us (Romans 1:19-22). It is not a matter of low
self-esteem. It is a sin problem.
* He wants us to ultimately reject God (Romans 1:25)
Application: How often do we
forget to be grateful, instead, choosing to murmur and complain
Realize God's special plan for each of
"...Thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise
Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made...." (Psalm 139:13 & 14).
* We must realize that God is our Creator--we belong to God.
We are not our own. (I Corinthians 6:19)
* He created each of us with amazing detail and special
Application: He planned even
the "defects and tragedies" of our lives for a special reason
(Romans 8:28). These are to build character and encourage the
brethren, "...we glory in tribulations..." Romans 5:1-5.
Understand which features are
"LORD, Thou art our Father; we are the clay, and Thou our
potter; and we all are the work of Thy hand" (Isaiah 64:8)
* Our wishing and complaining will not make anything
change, except ruin our attitude and the attitude of those
* Some facts of life that we cannot change: parentage,
aging, height, mental acuity, heritage, gender....
* This should effect how we talk of others, treat others,
and effect the kind of humor we use (being sensitive to others
Accept these specially designed
"unchangeables" by thanking God for them.
"In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God...." (I Thessalonians 5:18).
"But godliness with contentment is great gain." (I Timothy 6:6).
* This will combat discouragement, bitterness, anger, complaining, ungratefulness to God. We must thank the Lord for each of these things that we simply cannot
* We must realize that they are reminders to us that we belong to the Lord and that He is our Creator. It is not a matter of low self-esteem, nor is it a matter of
our own achievements.
* Instead we might work on that which we can change ? character qualities in our life through these unchangeables, for example: gratefulness, patience, joy,
compassion, faithfulness, et cetera (Philippians 1:6).
Finally, realize that God fully accepts
us, not because of us, but because of Christ's finished
"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God
through our Lord Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:1).
How do we apply this here and now?
Have you rejected Jesus Christ because you are angry about
some unchangeable feature in your life? Do you lack
perspective, living life with no purpose marked by
ungratefulness and inferiority, or ungratefulness and pride?
1 You must first trust in Jesus Christ for salvation and
forgiveness of all sin.
2 You must next thank God for all "unchangeables",
especially those you despise.
3 You must ask God to help you learn His lessons and develop
good character through these unchangeables. Learn God's
perspective on your life. You are designed for His glory, not
your own. The Apostle Paul understood this, and he chose to
"glory" in his sickness and weakness (I Corinthians 1:26).
What is the key to the whole self-esteem issue? Are you
bitter or content? The simple answer to the issue is choose to
be grateful to God!
Sunday School 6/27/04
Brother David Ameen Jr.
Kahua Baptist Church
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