Is Building Your Self-Esteem the Answer?

All around us, self-consciousness has become a crippling epidemic.
All around us, self-consciousness has become a crippling epidemic. (StockFree | Sorinus)

All around us, self-consciousness has become a crippling epidemic. Many people feel trapped and limited by bad self-image. The reigning wisdom of the day might tell us to solve this problem by building our self-esteem. But there's something else to consider.

Let's turn to an exchange Jesus once had. In His day, the religious people had turned away from the living commands of God to conform to the wisdom and traditions of man—turning from the Creator toward the created. Jesus told them:

"You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men ... Thus you nullify the Word of God by your tradition that you have handed down" (Mark 7:8, 13, NIV).

To walk in freedom, we must seek guidance from the Word of God—not the wisdom of man—for hidden in its manifold truths is His power. Though the word of man may contain form and structure, it cannot transform our hearts.

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So let's reconsider the prevailing wisdom regarding self-consciousness. Our world believes the opposite of being self-conscious is having a good self-image. But I believe that the opposite of conscious is unconscious. Therefore, the opposite of self-conscious should be self-unconsciousness, should it not?

Losing consciousness of self happens when we become more conscious of God than we are of ourselves. As Paul said:

"Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. ... If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new" (2 Cor. 5:16–17, NKJV).

To lose our awareness of self, we must gain an awareness of God. If you desire to grow in your consciousness of God, pray this prayer with me:

Heavenly Father, please forgive any tendency I have toward the worship of self. You said to take up my cross, deny myself, and follow You. Lord, for too long I haven't denied myself. I've been overwhelmingly conscious of myself. Please forgive me and teach me to serve You. I want to become increasingly conscious of Your will and ways and less and less conscious of my own. I turn my eyes toward You today. In Jesus's name, amen.

Want to dive deeper into the topic of self-consciousness? Check out Lisa Bevere's book, It's Not How You Look, It's What You See.

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