Self Esteem vs. Self Denial

worldWe live in a “self-ish” world.

You can’t watch TV, surf the Internet or read a newspaper that isn’t dripping with adds promoting”self”. All to raise our self esteem. To make us feel better about ourselves. With better bodies, hair, laundry detergent, cars, jobs, toothpaste, coffee, clothes. More money, miles-per-gallon, interest, options, “bang for your buck”, flavors, features, time, pleasure.

Why do we keep buying all that stuff? Could it be that, if we’re dead honest, we’d have to admit that we are at the center of our universe? When we face the Truth about us head on do we consider ourselves Number One? Numero Uno? In all honesty, do we consider our wants and needs before we consider the wants and needs of others?

The Bible teaches we are supposed to be “in the world, not of the world”. In the world refers to our physical location. “Of the world” refers to our source of information. Are we so bombarded with the “self-ish” world that we allow “the world” to intrude on our walk with Christ?

Where is our focus? More on us or more on others? Paul says,

For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. Romans 12:3

Later in his letter to the Philippians Paul writes,

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility regard one another as more important than yourselves;  do not merely look out for your own interests but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4

And Jesus said,

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”  Luke 9:23.

To me, the way to a fruit-bearing walk with Jesus is living day-to-day in self-denial. That does not mean we are in any way unimportant or insignificant. To me it means we serve God for the benefit of our family, loved ones and those in our circle of influence. It means we abandon our self-imposed role as the center of the universe. To me it means making others more important than we are.

Is it easy? Certainly not for me. For me it’s a daily struggle to put the needs of others in front of my own. But my God is in the sanctification business. And slowly, as my stubborn will allows, He is doing His work in me.

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