One of my favorite aspects of God’s character is that He is a builder. The Bible opens and closes with this view of God. We meet Him in the first chapter of Genesis building a universe from nothing. The Bible ends with a description of the fantastic home in heaven that He has built for us. God’s own Son is born into an earthly family where the father was a builder, a carpenter. If there is one message that flows throughout God’s word, it is that He can create, restore, and build. This attribute of God is never more apparent than when we submit to His hand and let Him create, restore, and build our battered self-esteem into something truly glorious.
1. God Created You
Whether you had a great childhood or a miserable one, whether you are perceived as attractive or unattractive, whether you ranked as a genius by IQ level or below average, you are unique. You have been created, not by chance or evolution, but with purpose and forethought. You are not a glorified “humanoid” or the result of millions of years of refining by Mother Nature. You are created in the very image of God Almighty (Genesis 1:27). As women, we are even more unique among God’s creation, not better– just more refined. When you read the creation account in Genesis, you will find that we were “created” twice. First, God makes man, Adam. He finds his creation of Adam to be good. But a problem quickly arises because Adam cannot find a mate that is suitable for him. God causes Adam to fall into a deep sleep and then takes one of Adam’s ribs and forms woman, Eve. As women, we have been molded by the very hand of God, not once, but twice to become what God needed us to be. You are special, doubly so! There is nothing wrong with you. There is nothing about you that God cannot work with and through. As someone once said, “God don’t make no junk!”
2. God Restores Your Philosophy
One of the most worthless classes I took in college was philosophy (apologies to all the philosophy majors reading this!). To boil it down, I spent a semester studying men throughout history who tried to figure out the answers to life’s questions, especially the “Big Three” as our professor liked to call them: Where did I come from? Why am I here? and Where am I going? What a blessing God’s word is to us as Christians because He has already defined our philosophy for us within its pages.
Where Did I Come From?
While we have already touched on this, I wanted to give you a nice, succinct answer to this question. You came directly from the hand of God. David tells us in Psalm 139:13-15:
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth (ESV).
God did not stop creating after He made the first man and woman. He was an active participant in your formation and mine. We are His masterpieces; the direct work of His hands.
Why Am I Here?
While the Bible is full of possible answers to this question, I believe two thoughts sum up our purpose rather well. First, you are here to glorify God. God says in Isaiah 43:6-7:
I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.
I hate to break this to you, but it’s not all about you, contrary to what society tells us. It’s not about your happiness, your bank account, your feelings, etc. It is all about God and His glory. Peter says that our good deeds should glorify God (1 Peter 2:12). If something is not God honoring, it is not something that we should focus our time and energy doing.
Second, you are here to complete God’s task for your life. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to do the work God has planned for you (Ephesians 2:10). If you are a mother, your task is to raise godly children. If you are a wife, your task is to be a respectful wife. If you are a member of the church, then your task is to build up the church. If you have a profession, then your task is to be a Christian influence in the workplace. Throughout different seasons of our life, our work for God will change. But in the end we should all want to meet God and be able to say these words to Him, “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do” (John 17:4). Notice what that this verse says when we accomplish our work, then God will be glorified. When you try to accomplish someone else’s standard then the glory will not go to God.
Where Am I Going?
This is probably the easiest question to answer with the most implications. If you are a Christian, then you are going to heaven. Do not lose sight of this goal! When everything seems to be going wrong and you feel worthless, remember that you have been bought with a price and your heavenly home awaits you. When Peter is walking on the water, he is conquering the forces of nature; he is participating in a miracle. Then he starts to look around and stops focusing on Jesus. When we lose our focus of going to heaven, it becomes much easier to fall into Satan’s trap of worldliness and feeling less-than. This is not something to be taken lightly. James reminds us that being a friend with the world means that you are an enemy of God (James 4:4). Your search for self-esteem is not worth your soul.
3. God Builds Your Foundation
One of my children’s favorite songs is about the wise man and the foolish man. I’m pretty sure it’s because they get to say “splat” very loudly, but the truth in that song and parable of Jesus is exactly what we’ve been talking about for three lessons. If you build your self-esteem on the shifting sands of society, people, and your feelings, then your life and your faith are probably going to go “splat” at some point. Why? Because you have chosen to listen to the world and others about who you are and what you should be instead of His word. Listen to what Jesus says in Matthew 7:24-27:
Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.
If your self-esteem is based on how you look, clothing size, your children, your husband, your friends, people in the church, what others think of you, then you have built your self-worth on shifting sand. All of these things at some point in your life can and will be taken from you, then what will you have? We must base who we are and what we do on God’s word or we will not have the abundant life promised by Jesus (John 10:10).
It has been said that it takes five positive comments to make up for one negative one. Considering all of the negative comments that women encounter about what we should be, how much time do you think we need to spend listening to God to counteract those destructive messages? I would love to give all of you a magical pill that would make it where you would never compare yourself to anyone again, where you would always feel right about yourself, where the past would never get you down, but that’s not the way it works. If you want to base your self-esteem on God’s foundation, then you have to be in the word constantly, daily. Until His word becomes what you hear in your mind the minute a negative thought about yourself enters it. Until you feel confident enough to serve others without thinking about you. Until you do not hide your weaknesses, but use them for His glory. Until you complete your work for the Lord. Please use the scriptures I have referenced in these articles and any other ones you come across in your Bible study to jot down for your edification. Memorize them and use them to battle the world.
There is no quick fix, but there is an all-powerful God who will help you. God didn’t leave us without Someone who has been there and done that. Our final lesson on self-esteem will focus on Jesus and His perfect example of thinking right about yourself.
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By Chelli Guthrie
Chelli and her husband, Luke, work with the Abell St. church of Christ in Wharton, Texas, where Luke is the pulpit minister. Chelli teaches the Jr. High class on Sunday mornings and leads the Children’s Bible Hour program on Sunday nights. She is a full-time mom who homeschools their three children: Grace (8), Sophia (4), and Levi (2). Her blog is ThePlantedTrees.com.