The thing about pride, is that it is incredibly simple, while at the same time being incredibly complex and pervasive. We in the church have heard time and time again to flee from pride, after all, “God resists the proud but give grace to the humble.” This brings up a troubling inner conflict. How does our fight against pride lead us in our quest to achieve healthy self-esteem?
Should we reject the idea of high-self esteem and thrust ourselves into a pit of monastic self-denial, rebelling against every attempt of the flesh in it’s pursuit of self-glorification?
Or perhaps, we should find ourselves on the other end of the spectrum. We should wonder, “if Christ has loved me so much that he should die for me, if he, being God, should die for me, then I must be worth loving! I must view myself as important and as indispensable to God’s kingdom as He did!”
Maybe we would be better off just remaining in the middle of it all. Riding on a wave of self-worth blown about by our victories and subsequent failures, up and down, up and down, hoping to someday land on any semblance of solid ground.
It becomes clear after reading these possible courses of thoughts on self-esteem that the options presented will leave us empty, and confused. The truth of the matter is, if we are left to figure out how to view ourselves, we do a poor job. All of these points of view fail us because they are, at their core, symptomatic. They reveal to us that our attention is centered directly on us. Whether we believe we need to have high-self esteem, low-self esteem, or middling self-esteem, a common thread sits and screams out from each perspective: SELF.
Here’s a fact. If we’re worrying about what our self-esteem or pride should look like, we’re operating from a sinful mindset. Our minds are not focused first and foremost on God, then on our neighbor, but on ourselves.
Timothy Keller’s biggest exhortation for the Christian is that we open up our eyes to the reality that God has taken us out of the “Courtroom”. The courtroom is the place we transport ourselves to when we feel we are judged by someone else, or when we are trying to judge ourselves. It’s where we present our “exhibit A’s” and our evidences as to why others should think we’re “worth it”. Many times we place ourselves in the position of the defense and of judge. Heavens, throw jury in there too! The problem is, we don’t belong in the courtroom.
READ: WE DON’T BELONG IN THE COURTROOM.
Christ has gone into the courtroom on our behalf. Once and for all. When we were unworthy (and held against God’s standard we are all unworthy), he changed the verdict from “worthless”, to “WORTH IT”. Because of Christ’s atonement, redemption, and empowerment offered to us, we are free to walk out of that courtroom, with our heads held high, with shouts of wonder and amazement, “GOD HAS COUNTED ME WORTH IT!”
We need not question how the world views us or even how we view ourselves. We need not rush to our defense. The verdict is stated. The courtroom is cleared. Let’s not call it back into session. Instead, let us walk and meditate on our identity that is found in Christ. Not self-esteem or self-identity, but God’s esteem and God’s identity for us. When we live out this reality, daily reminding ourselves of our identity in Christ (worth it), it’s then, that we find ourselves with the freedom of self-forgetfulness.