Posts Tagged ‘ Self-Esteem ’

Who Am I? Knowing My Identity

“Hello, again!

In the last few weeks, I have been hearing and reading a lot about identity.

Who am I?

In terms of identity, the major theme has been how we identify ourselves. This includes:

  • Identity politics — Being known by political party or with whom you most closely agree.
  • Job-based/Skill-set identity — Being known by what you do or know.
  • Relationship identity — To whom you are connected: husband/wife, boyfriend/girlfriend, father/son, mother/daughter, friend …

It is this last one that has the most applicability to today’s topic, especially for the Christian.

Losing myself

What happens when the ideology, job, or relationship status changes?

You see, if your identity is dependent on something external, it can lead to major confusion and even crisis-mode inside. You could be screaming, “I don’t know who I am anymore!”

This is where someone may say, “This is why we need strong self-esteem.”

completely disagree.

Yes, I said completely disagree.

Why?

Because self-esteem focuses on the self. This is the antithesis of Christianity and relationship with God, as it says you can find peace within yourself.

Instead, you need something stronger.

So, how then should we live?

Where is your identity? How about starting with the Bible.

“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me”
Matthew 18:5

“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
Matthew 18:20

Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
John 14:13-14

“And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues;”
Mark 16:17

Now, what does Jesus mean by “in my Name”? Does he mean “Lord, please do this for me, in Jesus Name. Amen”?

No.

I think this hearkens back to the 10 Commandments, specifically number 3:

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain …”
Exodus 20:7

Is using the Lord’s Name in vain using it as a curse word?

Partially, yes. Mostly, no. It is more like saying you are a Christian (My identity!), doing something wrong, and claiming God either approves or even commanded it. THAT is using the Lord’s Name in vain more than anything else.

But what does Jesus mean?

Literally taking on the identity of Jesus Christ.

Not just living by “What Would Jesus Do?”

It means to think, talk, and act like Christ.

It means you put yourself out of the way, and you let Jesus Christ live through you.

Then it does not matter your skill-set, job title, political affiliation, who you know … well … a little bit who you know … 😉

Whatever happens around you and in your life does not matter that much when you know you have the Lord of the Universe living in and through you!

So, how do you identify? What is your first thought when asked who you are?

  • I’m a Republican/Democrat/Libertarian.
  • I’m this or that.
  • I am a husband/father/wife/mother/sibling.
  • I know so-in-so.

Or is your first thought “I am a Christian. I am a child of the living God. I am a son (or daughter) of the Most High! My heavenly Father adopted me through my Brother, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!”

This is why it is important to study and memorize Scripture (I admit to being weak in memorization!), because it helps us better understand the meaning of life.

What is the meaning of life?

To glorify God.

This is why theology is important. (Scary, I know, but that is the big reason I make these blogs/vlogs, to give you a hand in it.)

Theology is simply the study of God: who He is, what He wants from and for us, and how we can live for Him.

We find our identity by living for him. We glorify God the Father by allowing God the Son to live in and through us by the power of God the Holy Spirit in us.

Then we can know that no matter what is going on around us and in our lives, we are good to go. Because we are in Christ.

It is who we are.

He is our identity.

And it is not by our own power. It is through our weakness that He is stronger! (2 Corinthians 11-13, especially in 12:9!)

Be excellent, my friends!

 

God-Esteem

I grew up in the midst of a relatively new social experiment that has taken hold of our society.

Self-Esteem

I know many people who struggle with self-esteem and/or have struggled for a long time.

It sounds so good!

“Believe in yourself!”
“Find your self-worth!”
“You are beautiful!”
“You are precious!”
“Look within yourself to find happiness!”

It all sounds so great, until you get to that last one.

Self-esteemers are big on finding what is good in you and latching on to it. “It is the good in you that gives you a good self-esteem!”

My pastor recently shared with me some information he read. It looked at the claim that so many people are in prison because of low self-esteem. After surveying several inmates, it was deduced that they did not lack self-esteem. If they lacked anything it was a proper distinction between right and wrong or guilt over what they had done. Many were confident in and of themselves. The only real hit they took to their egos was that they were arrested.

Self-esteem was not the issue.

(We might even find many of them were told they are great and can do anything as they were growing up.)

It can also be tough overcoming low self-esteem you are constantly told about how great you are, how much you can accomplish, or you are basically good, and find out how untrue these can be.

Children may be told time and again that they can do whatever they want, yet poor children are often told that they are worthless by much of society.

So many are told they are able to do great things, yet they are not always given the opportunity to learn or try (for myriad of factors) and are left in their failure.

We are told that we are basically good, and then we struggle with our imperfections and failures.

And what do we find when we look inside ourselves?

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
Jeremiah 17:9

It is easy to see that most of us are not that good. We feel the truth of how not good we can be when we get cut off in traffic and yell at “YOU IDIOT!” We feel the truth of how messed up we are when we see injustice in our world and want to destroy those who perpetrate it. We feel the truth when we break a rule “because it is silly, anyway” (like when we drive 5 mph over the speed limit).

It gets worse when we read the next verse in Jeremiah:

“I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind,
to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”

Many of us might say, “Yeah, but I have not done as many bad things as others?”

a) But we still understand we are not as good as we like to think.
b) If we have to justify ourselves by comparison to others, that becomes a self-evident point to our not-goodness.
c) By God’s standard, all sinful deeds are choosing our own will over His, they are disobedience.

We have little within us to make us completely happy.

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
Isaiah 64:6

There is hope for us, though:

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Colossians 2:20

Our worth is found through self-esteem. It is found when we esteem the Creator and Lover of our souls who saved us from ourselves!

If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:4b-14, NIV