The subject of this brief writing is glory & self-esteem & in what way they are related. This is a most important subject as there is very much misleading conversation & books aimed at addressing this pressing matter in men & society.
It would seem that there were some sort of a new revelation among people that we have a great lack within ourselves causing us tremendous grief, aggravation & even depression. It is commonly referred to as a lack of self-esteem, self-worth &/or self-love. It is often the blame for a great many things such as crime, wars, psychological disorders, insecurities, illnesses, stress, & failures of every kind. Unfortunately, people turn for help & guidance to other men & even Christians in the way of psychology & self-help.
There are many arguments where people of great learning & education say that our problems are either the result of tragedies or mistreatments from other individuals or else just an improper view of, or the value of one's self. As a result, our problems are simply the by-product or result of something outside of our control or responsibility. This is to release us from the chains of guilt & responsibility. Thus released, they then propose that the answer to success & happiness lies in our ability to restore the proper self image which these things have taken away or robbed us of. In order for one to function & behave in a proper & successful way is to build or prop up one's self-esteem. They argue that you have to love yourself before you can love others. You have to appreciate yourself & feel good about yourself in order to be able to succeed in life & in relationships with others. They toss around words with which we are all familiar such as self-esteem, self-assurance, self-respect, self-content, self-satisfaction, self-importance & so on. Purchase any modern, so aptly referred to as, self-help books, & you will encounter these types of words in abundance. There are many slants & angles to which these words are used but it is all of the same vein , the same basic philosophy with the same fruitless results.
Is there anything really wrong with these words & what in the world does this have to do with glory, as previously mentioned ? For starters, lets look at some brief definitions of some of these words as well as words that correlate to them:
Glory - to exult or to exult in, the idea of possessing weight, honor, value, worth, or substance.
Exult - to rejoice with feelings of triumph or achievement in self-satisfaction ( to boast or brag ).
Esteem - has to do with the worth or value of a thing. ( to idolize, revere, worship, admire, venerate ).
Self-esteem - self content, self satisfaction ( self-flattery, self actualization & self glorification ).
Conceit - self boasting (complacency, egoism, pride, self-esteem, self-exaltation, self-glory, self-importance, self-love, self-opinion, vainglory, vanity) .
Pride - self-assurance self-regard, self-respect, self-esteem ( self-confidence, self-trust ).
It should be quite evident in these definitions that "self" is the focal point. No matter what kind of spin a teacher puts on it, it is still self-enlargement & attainment. Even in so-called Christian self-help books, the real point of emphasis is upon self not God. God &/or Jesus are merely there to assist "you" in building up "your" good self-esteem whereas in the truth, we are to lose our soul's self life in order to gain His surpassing divine life.
Now let's look at some words the bible uses that address our very apparent short-comings & problems which are opposite the former words.
Humility - lacking all signs of pride, aggressiveness or self-assertiveness
( Lowly, meek, modest, unassuming, simple, unobtrusive, unpretentious, compliant, obedient, resigned, quiet, submissive. )
Meek - gentle, mild, forbearing, tolerant, long suffering, patient.
It is of no small coincidence or matter that these types of words are not generally to be found in self-help books & teachings. Why ? It is because they are opposite extremes. You cannot have self-esteem & humility at the same time. How can one have self-confidence & yet at the same time "put no confidence in self & glory only in Christ Jesus" Ph 3:3. How can one abide in Christ & yet also abide in one's self ? How can a person possibly escape the pride of Satan with all this selfishness as prescribed by these false teachers. Self-esteem, self-assurance, self-confidence, self-respect, self-love & on & on ? This is nothing but the spirit of self attainment which we received from Adam when he partook of the tree of the knowledge of good & evil. It should not be over-looked that the word "good" is contained in this title. From the very moment in history that this occurred, man has been in the pursuit of this goodness through the means of self-actualization. The very meaning & significance of this tree is one of man's self attainment albeit apart from God. With this knowledge he could then "be like GOD" as Satan inferred. Has this knowledge in fact gotten us any closer to GOD likeness ? History has proven unequivocally, NO ! Yet still we try as, in & of ourselves, we can do no other.
Today this very knowledge has even been further developed & refined into a science that we like to call psychology. At very best, all one can do with this method of self attainment is to appear to have improved one's outward behavior for he cannot change the heart as we are warned in 2 Cor 5:12 about "those who take pride in appearance & not in heart". Cor 4:6-7 "For God who said "light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shown in our hearts to give the light of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God & not from ourselves. 10. always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body."
We may go on to see further that this way is not to be found in or of ourselves, for we must die before we may truly live. 1 Cor 15:36 "You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies' for we are sown in dishonor, raised in glory; sown in weakness, raised in power". This is not instantaneous but rather a process as we can see, in that we "are being transformed into the same image (as the Lord) from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit". This process is then carried out & effected in our practical daily living through our losing of our "self" in sufferings & afflictions. 2 Cor 4:17 "For momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison,".
You see, it is absolutely not in the building up of one's SELF but rather in the losing of one's self for the attainment of His fullness. As Paul has said, "But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me & I to the world". Gal 6:14 And again, " I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me." 2 Cor 12:19
If this way of self help & attainment is so wrong, then what is the answer ? In a word, it is Jesus. Col 1:27 "the riches of the glory of this mystery which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." This plainly shows us where the glory we are so sorely missing is to be found, it is Christ in you ! Our worth & esteem & glory are in Jesus because we are in Him by the power of God. Colossians goes on to warn us however, in 2:8 "See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy & empty deception, according to the tradition (teachings) of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ".
Beware therefore, the teachings of men ! There is much leaven mixed into the teachings we hear today. Do not be deceived, for God has prescribed only one way & that is through Christ. Beware of anything which promotes, builds up & enlarges the self or the soul life, for God's method of dealing with these is the cross. Thus, the power of God is directed toward us in the form of Christ, the life giving Spirit in the power of resurrection. We must be quite clear about the meaning of resurrection here. Resurrection is a thing which may only find existence after the occurrence of the cross, death & burial . For us to experience this resurrection power we must of necessity have first passed through the cross, death & burial. These only & always occur in sequence; cross, death, burial & then resurrection.
" For to me, to live is Christ & to die is gain". Phil 1:21
"Truly, truly, I say to you , unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth & dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his (self) life loses it, and he who hates his (self) life in this world will keep it to life eternal." John 12:24-25
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