Our culture has taken a turn over the past few years towards a focus on self-esteem. You don't have to search very far to see parents who puff up their children in order to make them feel good about themselves or people who boost up themselves (sometimes at the expense of others) to create a facade in which they want others to view them. With social media displaying the best version of the lives of the people around us, we struggle more and more with our cold, harsh realities when we examine our own, less-than-average lives. The self-esteem theory seems to be that those who can develop a high self-esteem will be successful, whereas those who lack self-confidence are left as prey. Right? Not exactly.
The main drawback of the self-esteem movement is the pre-occupation with "self". Whether someone has low self-esteem or high self-esteem, the problem is that their esteem is rooted in "self". Many people struggle with the Biblical doctrine of total depravity (that we all have a corrupted nature) because to accept it means to accept that YOU are CORRUPTED, SINFUL, and NOT GOOD ENOUGH! This is hard to accept in a culture where being better than average seems to be the goal. This is dangerous territory, however, because when people fail to see the depths of their own sin, they miss out on experiencing the wonderful grace of God.
How then, should a Christian view themselves? Should we see ourselves as sinful, as not good enough? By no means! 2 Corinthians 3:4-5 says, "Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God." (ESV) As Christians, we should understand our corruption apart from God's grace. We should boast about nothing of ourselves, because all of our goodness and value comes from God. High or low self-confidence is irrelevant in Christianity. ALL of our confidence and boasting should be in God and because of God. The rest of our boasting is a vulnerable means for destruction.
"Don't be so naive and self-confident. You're not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it's useless. Cultivate God-confidence." (1 Corinthians 10:12, MSG)
Hunter Kallay, author of "Plug in Your Life." He is a Christian leader and speaker.