This is the second part of our series on the 5 Key Relationships (5KR).
What you believe about yourself will affect all your other relationships…
That’s why this is the next level above your relationship with God.
(It’s also why understanding your identity as a son of God is so important.)
These first two levels of the pyramind are so closely intertwined as to be almost the same same thing, but they’re not.
The self-esteem movement is destroying lives and relationships
I saw on social media recently, a post that essentially said “self-love is the foundation.”
However, this is a dangerous sentiment.
Not because you should hate yourself. But you have to be careful about the things in your life that give your confidence (or rob you of your confidence).
This all goes back to our discussion of where your identity comes from.
It’s perfectly fine to be confident. In fact, we’ll look at some Scripture that addresses confidence directly.
What we won’t see is Scripture that says you need to love yourself first.
When asked about the greatest commandment, so you remember what Jesus said?
And he said to them, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”Matthew 22:37, ESV
Jesus didn’t tell people the greatest commandment was to first love themselves so that they could love others.
But if you love God first, and seek his will, you’ll make the decisionsthat honor him and will work out for everyone.
But that doesn’t mean you’re not important
After all, check this out:
For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church.Ephesians 5:29, ESV
That comes out of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, right in the middle of a passage about husbands loving thier wives.
So it’s understood that you love yourself, but not above God and not to the exclusion of doing his will and work in the world.
But the fact remains that, if you do not believe yourself worthy of love, you will not be able to accept love from others.
SO now we drift into that awkward territory where we touch on psychological principles.
But I encourage Christians not to shy away from this stuff. It’s true that many of the social scientific disciplines, like psychology, are openly hostile to Christians and Christian belief systems, but that doesn’t negate the fact that there are principles in there that remain true.
God created people, after all!
This is a very delicate balance for all of us…
Not thinking so much of ourselves that we believe we deserve all the credit for the good things in our lives…
While also not thinking so little of ourselves as to believe that we are unworthy of those same good things.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, this is why identity in Christ (as a forgiven, accepted, and loved son of God) is so fundamental to the whole process.
If that goes off the rails, the whole thing eventually comes crashing down in a fiery wreck of destroyed people, relationships, and lives.
And not to get too far ahead… but these mistakes can impact generations!
So what is the proper relationship to ourself?
In my opinion, the way to view yourself is with love…
But not because of the things that YOU have done.
Because of the work that was done for you by Jesus on the cross. (Back to that relationship with God!)
You can have confidence in who you are, and love for who you are because you are redeemed.
And not through any work or merit of your own, but because of the work of God.
Of course, this turns into a delicate balance itself. Many churches hammer home how “worthless” you are apart from God.
This creates a culture of self-flagellating Christians who constantly dwell on how awful thier souls are.
That creates other issues in your relationship with yourself and others.
Confidence is a key word
Many verses reference confidence in what God has done in your life. For example:
Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what is promised.Hebrews 10:35-36, ESV
That’s in reference to facing persecution.
You can also have confidence in approaching God when you live in his will:
Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.Hebrews 4:14-16, ESV
You can have confidence in who you are because of who God says you are.
This holds true no matter what other people have told you in the past. No matter what results you’ve achieved (or failed to achieve) in the past.
The proper way to approach this is to accept and love yourself, because you are accepted and loved by God.
And this level of the pyramid is necessary because, once again, you will not be able to give or receive love from others if you can’t do it for yourself first.
But don’t forget that this is different from “self-esteem” based on what the world tells you.
Here are a few more passages you can check out, and I’d love hear which ones you would add!
- Ephesians 3:12
- 2 Timothy 1:7
- 1 John 3:1
What do you think? Leave me a comment below and thank you for reading!