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Self Esteem?

2nd March 2015, hej

 

1) Is our thinking aligned with God's?

We may very well think that it is good thing to be proud of something, or to have self esteem, even if we may be wary of sinful pride.

It is worthy to consider what is written on the matter, as our world may have a skewed view of things! We are warned, “That in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,” (2Tim. 3:1-3)


There is “woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isa 5:20). Often 'intellectuals' via the media redefine what is 'good' and in this way call evil 'good'. It is worth considering what is said on pride to brush the cobwebs of this subtle influence away.

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of God abides for ever. (1John 2:16-17)

Our great aim as servants of Christ is to achieve the status of 'friend'. Jesus answered and said to us,

“If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.' (John 14:23)

This closeness is for us today. It is in the practical, day to day things of life. This was established by Micah,

He has showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth Yahweh require of you, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? (Micah 6:8)

To walk with God we must be humble. Humility is the opposite of pride.


What is pride? Why is it so dangerous?

Pride is an attitude of mind. Added to self focus is self confidence and self praise. It comes from within a person's thinking, from their heart and emotions. It is akin to foolishness.

For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man. (Mark 7:21-23)


An example in scripture is Nebuchadnezzar boasting of the “great” Babylon he “had built” by the “might” of his “power”. To avoid the pride that led to this boast, Daniel had asked him to break off sins and show mercy to the poor. If he had looked over that city and saw instead that he had yet much work to do to extend mercy to the poor, he would not have boasted.

The second instance is Haman in the book of Esther who was upset and could not get over Mordecai not bowing to him. This small unimportant show of outward subservience led Haman to seek the death of all Mordecai's people. Mordecai had already proven loyalty to the monarch by reporting a plot, so his service should not have been in doubt. Haman had no thought other than his own importance. He boasts of his greatness to his family and friends.

The third example is of the people of Sodom of whom it is testified, “Behold, this was the iniquity .. pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.” (Ezekiel 16:49-50).


In all three instances if the focus had been on others, especially the poor, and not on self, there would have been no pride, and no downfall.

Pride goes before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud. (Proverbs 16:18-19)

Pride elevates an opinion of 'self' over 'others'. If we think ourselves wonderful at doing something, by default, we rate others lower. If we think ourselves wonderful in all, there is no room left to consider another. It is one step from this opinion to oppressing others to gain a bigger share of the world's goods. As the Psalmist noted, “The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor: let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined.” (Psalm 10:2).


We see an example of a proud person running their course in seeking more than their fair share of the world's goods in the Psalms. “For the wicked boasts of his heart's desire, and blesses the covetous, whom the LORD abhors. The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts. His ways are always grievous; thy judgments are far above out of his sight: as for all his enemies, he puffs at them.” (Psalm 10:3-5)

We can see how we may be mislead by modern marketing pandering to covetousness and pride. The Psalmist condemns it all!


Pride is dangerous to the servant of God because if we fill our thoughts with what we are good at, what great things we will do, and how 'good' we are, we will have no place left for our Creator, Maker and Sustainer.


The good of removing pride & cultivating selflessness.

There is something about pride that causes problems in people's lives. The biggest issue with pride, whether it be in a sporting or academic achievement or in any other matter is that,

When pride comes, then comes shame: but with the lowly is wisdom. (Proverbs 11:2) and
A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit. (Proverbs 29:23)

Removing pride gives everyone more peaceful relationships as, “Only by pride comes contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.” (Proverbs 13:10). This does not prevent argument, as we must argue against error. However pride can prevent all parties listening and seeking the truth of the matter. Paul advises Timothy that, “the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;” (2Timothy 2:24-25) The basis of meekness is not mildness, but seeking truth and placing the Creator's opinion above our own.

Removing pride and not seeking our way but rather the way of Yahweh Elohim the God of Israel means he hears our prayers!

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. (2Ch 7:14)

Josiah is heard and mercy extended. “Because thine heart was tender, and you did humble thyself before God, when you heard his words against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, and humbled thyself before me, and didst rend thy clothes, and weep before me; I have even heard thee also, saith the LORD. (2Ch 34:27)

There is assurance that any harm done to the meek in this life is remembered by Yahweh Elohim,

When he makes inquisition for blood, he remembers them: he forgets not the cry of the humble. (Psalm 9:12)

For now the proud can oppress, but they will not prosper in the long run.

LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: you will prepare their heart, you will cause your ear to hear: To judge the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may no more oppress. (Psalm 10:17-18)

The words of those who are humble, and who don't oppress, but instead who note oppressors and place their plea before the God of Israel will be heard.


The blessing that comes from hating pride is durable 'riches' of an eternal nature.

“The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the bold mouth, do I hate.
Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength. By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.
I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me. Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness.” (Proverbs 8:13-18)

The fear of Yahweh eliminates pride as we place Him far above ourselves, and in doing this can see ourselves as small, even perhaps as worms. The psalmist said, as we should, when we consider the great patterns in nature, “What is man, that thou art mindful of him?”(Psalm 8:4). Our Lord quoted from Psalm 22 in his last breath before dying, and in that psalm he says, “I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.” (Psalm 22:6). Let us follow him.


There is greatness promised for those who can remove pride entirely, as the child did before our Lord that day, and he said, “Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Mat 18:4)


How may we remove pride? Thankfully our lord is always practical. He said it's simple,

“Call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” (Matthew 23:9-12)

To those who refuse to be called 'a master', at anything, no matter how brilliant or talented they may be, “He giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resists the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. ..Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” (James 4:6-7, 10).


Peter also re-iterates this point, of servitude,

“Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resists the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:” (1Peter 5:5-6)


Is there any room for modern ideas of self esteem? The answer is, it depends whether you want to walk with God or not.

For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. For all those things has mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembles at my word.” (Isaiah 57, 15 66:2)

God will only dwell with those who have no self esteem, who have a contrite spirit.

The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saves such as be of a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivers him out of them all. (Psalm 34:18-19)

So you have a self esteem problem? Congratulations, you are a candidate for being God's servant. If we then forget self, turn the focus about and honour God, there will be a blessing.


What may we glory and boast in, to remove pride and do good?

My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. (Psalm 34:2)
Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glories glory in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD. (Jeremiah 9:23-24)


For more you may be interested in Guide For Family Life

or perhaps meekness is not weakness The Meek shall Inherit the Earth

Tags: pride, Advice
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