"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 of sin."
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 nature.
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 him."
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 selfishness.

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 when discouraged?

Realize God's special plan for each of His children:
"...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 characteristics.
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 non-changeable:
"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 around us.
* 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 needs).

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).

Be Content
"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 change.
* 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 work.
"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
Kapolei, Hawaii

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