What is the Lie of Low Self Esteem

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.
— Mark 12:30-31

Pay particular attention to verse 31 where it says, "Love your neighbor as yourself," it doesn’t say, "First learn to love yourself, and then love your neighbor."  What that verse is saying is that, "It is obvious you already love yourself. Love your neighbor in the same way." It is this love of self, this obsession with self, that gets us into trouble.  We don't need a better self-image. We don't need greater self-esteem. And we certainly don't need more self-love.  I want everyone reading this to know the lie of “low self-esteem.”

Here is what we do need. Jesus said, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me" (Luke 9:23). Notice that He did not say, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him esteem himself " or "let him love himself." Rather, Jesus said, "Let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me." In the original language, the word deny means "to repudiate, to disdain, to disown, to forfeit, to totally disregard." That is not an easy thing to do.  In fact, if we’re honest, it is a hard thing to do.

In reality, the basic problem in our lives is not our spouse. It is not our boss. It is not our neighbors. It is not our upbringing. It is not low self-esteem. And it is not a poor self-image. It is the apparent love of ourselves. Jesus said, "But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies" (Matthew 15:18-19).

We have heard people and maybe you’ve even said it yourself, “I hate myself.”  That is a lie because the Apostle Paul said under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, “For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourishes and cherishes it.”  I remember back in the 90’s where multitudes of people were going to counseling and being diagnosed with low self-esteem.  A person may have some sort of psychological problem that makes it look like low self-esteem but in reality we love ourselves.  But that’s another sermon.

So here is what it comes down to the ultimate choice in life is between pleasing ourselves and pleasing God.