Selfless Self-Esteem

In a world that is obsessed with “self” a biblical understanding of self-esteem is hard to come by. The message becomes muddled and turns into an ugly self-absorption instead of glorious selfless serving. Fortunately, Paul gives us three ways to build a God-glorifying, selfless self-esteem. In Galatians 6:2-5 he tells us, 

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.  But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one shall bear his own load.” 

So here are the three ways:

#1: Selfless self-esteem is built by caring for others, not by comparing myself with others. Our culture teaches us that our worth is measured in comparison to others. The Bible teaches that the value of our life is measured by our contribution to others. Paul says that it’s in caring that we fulfill the whole law of Christ, and in Col. 1:10, he tells us to “walk worthy of the Lord… being fruitful in every good work.” 

#2: Selfless self-esteem is built by examining myself, not deceiving myself. The origin of the word esteem comes from the word “estimate.” Self-esteem isn’t possible without self-examination. Honesty with ourselves tends to produce humility about ourselves. It forces us to recognize that we need Jesus living in us to be truly loving toward others. 

#3: Selfless self-esteem is built by bearing responsibility, not shrugging it. The word for “load” in vs. 5 is different from “burden” in vs. 2. Burden means an oppressive weight, whereas load means cargo, as in a ship's cargo. Jesus’ love for others is the cargo we’re designed to carry. Selfless caring for others is how we deliver our payload. 

Rejoicing in Jesus’ love pouring out of our lives by the power of the Holy Spirit is what a selfless esteem looks like. It’s what Paul means when he says, “Then he will have rejoicing in himself alone.” Bearing one another's burdens, not comparing ourselves but examining ourselves, and delivering the cargo of Jesus’ love is what really builds biblical self-esteem. 

How’s your selfless self-esteem today?
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