The greatest objection to what I have written about humility is, “Don’t we need to have some self-esteem?” Yes, but let me explain how, so that we do not fall back into pride.
Who is our biggest critic? I think it is reasonable to point out that God is humanity’s biggest critic. God tells us we are sinful (Romans 5:12). God tells us that we have come up short (Romans 3:23). God reveals that we are deserving of his wrath (Romans 1:18). God declares that there is no one righteous, not even one (Romans 3:10-18). God tells us that we are weak and helpless (Romans 5:6). Not only do the scriptures not tell us to have a “good self-esteem,” but God is the one trying to humble us!
Should we think that we are worthless dirt that is not worth the air we breathe? No. I believe the answer is found repeatedly in the scriptures:
“Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:31)
“Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 10:17)
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:19)
But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. (Galatians 6:14)
It is not that we have “self-esteem,” but “God-esteem.” My worth and value are found in God, not in myself. We will have a good self-image, a proper value on our life, and proper self-respect when we allow ourselves to be torn down by the word of God and be rebuilt in God’s image. We are nothing in ourselves. We are commanded not to boast about ourselves or boast in ourselves. Instead, we find our boasting, value, and joy in God because God has made us who we are and has placed us where we are today. All the glory and honor belongs to the Lord. When we see our value through the lens of the cross, we rejoice because God revealed how much he loves us and cares us about us. Humans have value above all of creation because God loves us. He created humans with a soul that no other created thing has so that we could eternally live with him. We have worth because of God’s love. Our life is not about us but all about God. Everything we do must be for God’s glory, not for our own. May we seek “God-esteem” rather than “self-esteem.”