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Dealing With Self (Man’s View)

TOPIC: Dealing With Self (Man’s View)
TEXT: Lk 9:23-25; Mt 22:37-40; Mt 10:34-39

The wisdom of this world teaches that many of your problems stem from a “bad self-¬image” or “low self-esteem.” The natural man’s wisdom also states that you must learn to love yourself before you can love others, that you must raise your self-esteem, that your ‘perceived” needs must be met so you can help others, that you must forgive yourself before you can find peace, that you are of infinite worth because of “the god within” you, and that you must “get in touch” with yourself and your feelings before finding fulfilment in living. All of these views are in error, since they conflict with the truth of God’s Word. In 2Tim 3:1-5, the Scriptures forewarned us against the coming of such self-centred movement and its contribution to the horrors of the last days.
Self-belittlement, self-exaltation, and self-pity all indicate a preoccupation with self. Inordinate attention to self is the exact opposite of God’s commandments to love Him and others. A self-focus also prohibits the development of a Christ-like servant attitude in you. If you try to save your life by focusing on self, you will reap a certain consequence; instead of saving your life, you will lose it (Mt 10:34-39; 22:37-40; Lk 9:23-25).

1. Discuss some of man’s mistaken explanation for a low view of self (poor self-esteem):
 Physical handicap
 Belittlement by others
 Rejection by parents
 Lack of money
 Minimal education
 Misunderstood by people
 No job opportunities (unemployment)
 Nagging spouse
 Abuse as a child
2. Discuss some of man’s futile ways of building up self (high self-esteem):
 Do not admit mistakes
 If you feel like it, do it
 Learn to love yourself
 Discover the “god” within
 Keep others serving you
 Stand up for your right
 Practice self-actualization
 Have the last word
 Assert yourself
 Tell of accomplishments
 Compare others to yourself
 Do not be pushed around
 Blame-shift
3. Discuss some unbiblical viewpoint about “self” being taught in some Churches today:
(i) “You have to love yourself before you can love others.”
(ii) “The most serious sin in the world is the one in which a person says he is unworthy. The need for self-worth is the greatest of all human needs in the world today.”
(iii) “In order to accomplish anything of significance, positive thinking about one’s self is a necessity.”
(iv) “We should not talk of sin, hell, or eternal separation from God; we should only build up people.”
(v) “God wants us all to feel good about ourselves; after all, Jesus possessed the greatest positive self-esteem in the history of mankind.”
(vi) “To be born again actually means to be transformed from a negative self-image to a positive self-image.”

4. You can quickly overcome self-belittlement, self exaltation, or self-pity. This is possible when you realize that a preoccupation with self is sin (Mt 23:12; Lk 9:23; Rom 14:7-8; Phil 2:3-4), confess this unbiblical focus and begin immediately to live in accordance with God’s Word (Ps 51:10; Phil 3:12-14; 1Jn 1:9).

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