One of the greatest lies we could possibly embrace is the one that says the root of all our problems, our insecurities, our fears, our failures, our broken dreams, and our dissatisfactions in life is a low self-esteem. It is a terrible lie because it will never deal with the true root of the matter; on the contrary, it will only deepen the problem. This lie may seem attractive, but it will only keep us bound to serving the merciless idol of Self.
Octavius Winslow said, “Idolatry of self has been the great and universal crime of our race.” And today, sad to say, the Christian response has not been to fight against this idolatry, but to inflame it, to kindle it. The Christian response has been to write more books, -Become a Better You, Eat the Cookie…Buy the Shoes: Giving you Permission to Lighten Up, The Power of Positive Thinking, You Matter to God, Be Your Best, etc; –to teach more about how beautiful we are, how much Jesus loves us “just the way we are”, and how He thought we “were worth dying for.”
Sisters, let us come to the light; let us not be bound to this form of deception. The root to our dissatisfactions has never been that we have a self-esteem that needs to be built up. The root to our deepest problems is that we are sinners by nature, that the God of the Bible is not our God, that we love ourselves more than we love Him; the problem is that we have come to believe that the way to be happy and fulfilled, and joyful depends on us, on how we think of ourselves. How far from the truth we are. No wonder we are wanderers in a foreign land. Desperately lost.
“SELF is the idol, and how hard it is to sacrifice this idol and to turn self-seeking into self-denial! But though it is difficult—it is essential. A Christian must first lay down self—before he can take up the cross.” These are words that the Puritan Thomas Watson wrote, and how true they are. Oh that we may have eyes to see how we have erred, how we have sinned.
“If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me” Luke 9:23. This is where we will find true joy, peace, and contentment: at the foot of the cross. How is it that we have forgotten that when we are weak, He is strong, than even though we are unfaithful, He remains faithful? How have we forgotten so soon that we have been called to serve and not to be served? How have we forgotten, as a wise man prayed, “that the way down is the way up, that to be low is to be high, that the broken heart is the healed heart, that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit, that the repenting soul is the victorious soul, that to have nothing is to possess all, that to bear the cross is to wear the crown, that to give is to receive, that the valley is the place of vision”?
The foundation of our sanctification, of our becoming more like Jesus, is not looking at ourselves in the mirror every morning saying, “Hello Beautiful, you are amazing. God loves you and thinks the world of you. Now go and conquer the day. Show the world that you are a Princess.” No!
No, the foundation of our sanctification is Christ. Through his powerful grace we are able to deny our own passions and high view of self. Through him we are able to practice self-denial and live the servant life he has called us to. Because of him we are able to and must bear our cross daily dying to our passions and futile desires. The mirror in which we must look into every day is the Word of God. A mirror, which is not deceiving; which will never say, “You are the fairest of all.” In the epistle of James we read, “the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” It is when we come to the Word and obey it, that we are blessed and receive all the grace Christ has secured for us on the cross. It is through the gospel which says, that “while we were yet sinners Christ died for us,” that our deepest longings are fulfilled, and peace comes to our hearts.
Wilson says it well, “To focus your eyes on anything except the Lord Jesus is spiritually suicidal. If your attention is centered on yourself (whether you see a worm or a superstar is utterly beside the point) you are a priest in the cult of self-worship. A holy life will be God-centered, not self-centered. The antithesis of such holiness is the egocentric demand to be the Main Attraction.”
Let our hearts be turned to the cross as we cry to our Father for forgiveness; let us repent for worshiping this restless idol; for feeding on these lies that have become a part of who we are. Let us look to our Savior for freedom from the sin of self worship. Let us look to the one “who though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:6-8 ESV)
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Becky is a Mexican living in one of the most crowded cities in the world, Mexico City. She has been happily married to an incredible man for almost 20 years. They have four children (from lower grammar to College) and have homeschooled them following the Classical Christian Education model. Becky enjoys the big books and the small books, she loves to study God’s word and read mostly, from dead authors, like the Puritans. She currently teaches Spanish at Veritas Press Scholars; loves to take out her watercolors on a sunny Saturday and paint, and you will always see her with her camera ready to capture the simple everyday moments that make up her days. She loves to bake muffins for her family on Saturdays while they are still asleep, so they wake up to the sweet smell of home. You can find Becky on her main blog Daily On My Way to Heaven.
This post is linked up with Time~Warp Wife