The exaltation of man is in the self-esteem movement. The Bible is also filled with examples of men who are full of themselves. Man can believe too much in himself to the point of no longer believing in the importance of God. Self-esteem ends with no esteem for God.

Do we think that God wants us to have high self-esteem or does God want us to have high regard for others? Which one emphasizes the servant’s heart? According to John Rosemond, expert in child raising, emphasizing self-esteem is trouble. He says, “It is also noteworthy that high self-esteem puts the individual at high risk for bouts of severe depression. People with high self-esteem want to be paid attention to and served. They believe in their entitlement. On the other hand, folks with high regard for others pay attention to others and look for opportunities to serve them.”

Rosemond says that depression and anti-social inclinations are common consequences to the high self-esteem approach. The children unwittingly enrolled into this failed social experiment are growing up wanting to be noticed though they are just ordinary. They want attention but they are no longer lavished with praise for being geniuses as mom said they were. The eventual meeting of reality leads them to become depressed and anti-social. What should we really be seeking in ourselves and in our children?

After an important lesson on servanthood, which Judas apparently rejected, Jesus said, “and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.”, Jn 13:20.  The problem with receiving Jesus is that it’s the hard path. Receiving Jesus as He is, and accepting Him for who He is, makes us unpopular to the secular world. But we must be different. Parents need to teach their children to love God. Teach them to love others and serve others. There will be natural and legitimate good feelings along with eternal rewards for following the Jesus we see revealed in Scripture. But if parents are still on board with the self-esteem approach, get ready because you are going to have problems later.

Jesus Christ has shown us a different approach to having meaningful lives. Paul writes to the Galatians,

“2 Bear one another’s burdens, and THEREBY FULFILL THE LAW OF CHRIST. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. 5 For each one will bear his own load.” Gal 6:2-4

In the Bible, we see a different approach to happiness and meaningful life. Paul says for the Christians to “bear one another’s burdens and thereby fulfill THE LAW OF CHRIST”, Gal. 6:2. This is what “you who are spiritual” do because you have not the “works of the flesh” but have instead “the fruit of the Spirit”, Gal. 5:19ff. This LAW OF CHRIST is the law of service where we think of others and help others. Paul mentions it again in 1 Cor. 9:21 after saying he has become all things to all men that he might win some. He said, “I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more.” Thinking of our fellow man and his needs is the way of Jesus Christ. This spirit of service steeped in the example of Jesus is what a child develops who has not been religiously primed to have high self-esteem.

High self-esteem and sacrificial service don’t go together. In regard to keeping the LAW OF CHRIST, Paul says that “if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself”, Gal. 6:3. This thinking more of myself than I ought is exactly what the self-esteem movement has brought about. People are deceived for receiving praise rooted in nothing. It’s the feeling that the world revolves around me because I’m so good. The self-esteem goals do not help our young people to “do unto others” and “love your neighbor as yourself.” Being deceived about one’s true self, living in this fantasy that you are more than you really are, hinders one from carrying other’s burdens.

Jesus served and did not come to be served. Jesus showed us by washing feet that we ought to wash feet, John 13. Jesus showed us that we ought to bear one another’s burdens and especially for the spiritual who have the fruit of the spirit to bear other’s burdens. A servant of Christ is especially suited to do such menial and lowly work for others. Christians are not above serving others. To fulfill THE LAW OF CHRIST, we must empty ourselves and have the humble attitude of Christ. Wash some feet. Move some neighbors. Give some groceries. Pray with the weak and encourage them.

A good place to start is to remember the sign that says, “There is a God, but you are not Him.” When we understand who He is and who we are, service to others is welcomed much easier. Serve. Serve now, not later. Serve because Jesus gave you an example to serve. Spoken with love. Dan
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