The parts that are in bold type are my emphasis, as are the comments at the end of this devotion.
STOP CUTTING YOURSELF DOWN!
You may smile, but when you've spent your life engaged in self-flagellation you know exactly what he means.
The man in the tombs spent his days, "cutting himself" because he thought he was worthless. And many of us who wear a game face in public, spend our days doing the same thing.
Self-esteem has to come from self. That's why it's hard to believe the good things people say about you when you can' see them in yourself.
Plus, how you treat others flows directly from your reservoir of personal dignity and self-respect. It's impossible to "Love your neighbor as yourself" (Mt 19:19 NIV) when you don't even like yourself.
Paul says a man should love his wife like he loves himself (See Eph 5:28). But when you detest yourself how can you love your mate.
Stop cutting yourself down! God made you the way you are in order to use you the way He planned.
Start complimenting Him on the great job He did.
And remember, He loves you unconditionally and that's the only reason you need for loving yourself!
I have come to realize over the years that the devil will take the truth and distort it, often over emphasizing it, to make it a deception. This area of self-esteem is one of those areas.
Over the last 25 years we have been flooded with books, tapes and other information emphasizing self-esteem to the point that many in the church have thrown the baby out with the bathwater and consider it sinful to talk about self-esteem.
Let me just say this, which MUST be understood:
I am talking about self-esteem, NOT being SELFISH!
Bob Gass does a good job in talking about the need to love yourself before you can love someone else. I will take it a step further. You will never really experience the fullness of God's blessings and promises for your life until you know how to love yourself. The problem is that your mind (your soul) tells you that you don't deserve the blessings and promises of God, thus robbing you (your spirit) of the blessings and inheritance that are rightfully yours as a child of God.
Listen... you, as a sinner did not deserve anything but death, but God in His grace and mercy saved your soul and according to the Word of God, you are a son/daughter of righteousness, joint heirs with Jesus with full rights and privileges.
Your own righteousness stinks, but the righteousness of Christ that belongs to you is perfect and holy. You may blow it (we all do) but the inhereitance is still yours, not because of you, but because of your birthright that was given to you when you were born again.
Stop seeing yourself as puny, pitiful and wretched. When the blood was applied to your life, you became righteous, pure and holy and a child of the King!
See yourself as one of the Kings kids and begin to claim that, and all the blessings and promises that come with the title, "Child of God."
Let me illustrate this a bit further. You may come visit my family and we will make you feel like a welcome guest. But you are still a guest in my home, and I will expect you to act like one. But my kids have rights and privileges in this home that you don't... simply because they are my kids. This house is their house and because their name is Garrett, they have keys to this house. They have access to areas of this house a guest does not have. They use things in this house that you probably don't even know about. They are my kids!
It's like this in God's Kingdom.
Many are "guests" who drop by the church for a visit every week, but they have never become "family" by surrendering their lives to Christ. They might receive some of the blessings from time to time, but they do not walk in the benefit and privilege of being "family". And again, there are many who have become family (born again) but they do not walk in the rights of their birthright, because their low-self esteem tells them that they don't deserve it.
Enough for now... you all jump in.