Many believe that low self-esteem leads to bad behaviors, but they also despise those with grand views of themselves. So which is preferred: Low or high self-esteem?
Let’s look at the nature of ego. Our ego focuses on ourselves. Triumph can send us to cloud 9, while insult and contempt can send us into despair. Our ego makes us compare ourselves to our neighbors, causing us frustration when we think he’s better. Our ego constantly drives us, pushing us to do more like an ever-present slave driver. But similar to a black hole, ego cannot be satisfied.
Paul had incredible ability, but how was his ego?
He did not care how others thought of him, or how they judged him. These are attributes of a person with high self-esteem.
But Paul also did not necessarily think well of himself. He did not consider himself innocent even if he had a clear conscience (1 Corinthians 4:3-4). This is distinct from many with high self-esteem, who care a lot about how they think of themselves.
Paul separated his performance from his identity. He did not think highly of himself, despite his significant accomplishments. He considered himself the worst sinner (1 Timothy 1:15), yet he didn’t beat himself up.
His identity was entirely rooted in Christ. Because of what Christ had done, God found Paul good and valuable (Romans 8:1). To Paul, only Christ’s opinion of him counted (1 Corinthians 4:4). He also attributed his strength to Christ (Philippians 4:13).
Learn from Paul. How others see us, and how we see ourselves, are not that important. We should not define ourselves, our identity, or our value by our performance. We are blessed children of God because of Christ. Rejoice in Him. Rely on Christ to live.
Summarized from a Tim Keller sermon: