How many conversations have you had about your self-esteem? Or someone else’s? I have struggled with self-esteem issues. You?
But Timothy Keller corrected me. It’s really our ego or pride. In his book, The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness, Keller explains Paul’s words:
I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. 1 Corinthians 4:3.
So …. how much of my life is spent thinking about what others judge me to be and what I judge me to be compared to them?! Questions like these keep our minds busy and distracted.
But Paul is saying “I don’t care what you think and I don’t care what I think!” Is that even possible for you and me?
Keller goes on to say:
The way the normal human ego tries to fill its emptiness and deal with its emptiness and deal with its discomfort is by comparing itself to other people. All the time.
C.S. Lewis (in Mere Christianity) points out that pride is by nature competitive It’s competitiveness that is at the very heart of pride.
My fragile ego doesn’t just seek to be equal with everyone else … but also better than them! It started back in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve wanted to be as powerful and wise as God.
Ah! …. Sweet Revelation!
I’m so grateful to God, my gentle Shepherd, for leading me to this truth. I’m already sensing when I begin to feel uncomfortable around someone, and recognizing that I am comparing myself to them and believing that I come up short.
Keller really got my attention with this:
The essence of gospel-humility is not
thinking more of myself
or thinking less of myself
it is thinking of myself less. (tweet that)
Can you imagine how much more mental and emotional energy we would have if we thought of ourselves less! How much faster could I accomplish projects if my mind wasn’t riding the Comparison Ferris Wheel and Competition Roller Coaster.
For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. Galatians 5:13
Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another. Galatians 5:25-26
Thank You LORD for sending this truth to save me from myself. You are so merciful! You are reaching out to me, helping me to overcome my sin of pride.
Thank You for pursuing my freedom even when I’m not aware that I am a captive.
I bless Your name for teaching me this simple and profound truth. I pray that this truth from Your Word would RUN into the lives of others.
Let Your Holy Spirit guide me to think of myself less. Lead me to this place of freedom and true rest for my soul.
Please forgive me for a life filled with prideful motives to be noticed, to be approved, and to be more than others.
Shift my focus away from myself so that I am free to genuinely connect with others. Let my relationships bring honor to You instead of me. I want my words, my actions, and my work to reflect your humility, Lord Jesus.
I ask these things knowing they are in agreement with Your Word and will bring honor to Your name. Amen