The cause is worthy and we must succeed. The enemy is powerful and enjoys a great numerical advantage. We hold the key to victory which no one can take away, yet we often succumb to the enemy, key in hand, without ever using it. I appeal to you today to join the resistance. Who are we resisting? The devil? The evil forces in the world? Sin and death? Sure, they’re on the same team and need to be resisted, but Jesus’ death and resurrection has assured their fate. The enemy which I describe is devious and sinister. It lives within us and is glorified all around us. I urge you to join the resistance against pride.
Pride vs. Humility
It is impossible to truly know Jesus without a certain level of humility. If we don’t acknowledge our sin, we never know our need for the forgiveness Jesus has won for us on the cross. This is only the beginning of our humble walk behind Jesus. Jesus teaches and models humility for us because at any moment, our pride and self-sufficiency can upend our humility, putting us out in front of Jesus. Once in front of Jesus, we feel the sense of power and authority that comes with self-leadership. Others must fall in line behind us. We feel as if we can do anything. We become the center of our universe… and it must stay that way. The problem is, if it does stay that way, we leave Jesus behind… perhaps forever.
The Destructive Doctrine of Self-Esteem
The enemy has infiltrated our homes, our schools, our churches and more. For example, look at how we teach self-esteem in our society. From a very young age, we are taught to be self-sufficient and confident and that we should view ourselves as intrinsically worthy and good and deserving of happiness. As a result of this dangerous doctrine, any criticism that comes to a child or even an adult must be tempered so as not to injure their self-esteem. To retain one’s pride is more valuable than anything. At the very least we must retain the outward impression of self-esteem. Inside, the reality is not so confident. While we wear the mask of intrinsic worth and goodness and entitlement on the outside, we realize inside that none of it is true. “If they would really know who I am, then nobody would like me.” News Flash: Teen suicide rates are at record highs. Usually, low self-esteem is prominently listed among the causes. My question is simple. Who told them self-esteem was so important? The enemy.
The Redeeming Doctrine of God-Esteem
The doctrine of self-esteem flies in the face of the truth. We are so much less than we should be. Worthy? We did nothing to make this world, nothing to be born, nothing to make the food we eat and the list goes on. We deserve nothing. God gives it all by his grace. Good? While there may be reflections of God’s good intent, we are not good. Our desires and thoughts are evil. Entitled to happiness? We are entitled to nothing but to perpetuate this broken world for another generation, making the same mistakes as those before us and dying in disgrace. Self-esteem is a lie. God-esteem is truth. Listen to Jesus:
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” Matthew 4:17
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:3-5
“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.” Matthew 16:24-25
“For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” Matthew 23:12
So do we end up being worthless good-for-nothing mooches? No! We don’t look within to find our value. God has esteemed us through Jesus’ death and resurrection. We are worth everything to our Creator. Our goodness is a gift God keeps on giving. Our entitlement is eternal life with the one who sacrificed everything for the ones he esteemed.
Join the Resistance!
So, be who you are. Join the resistance against pride and be humble. Resist self-esteem. We are poor, miserable sinners who God esteems by the blood of Jesus! Who needs anything more than that? We don’t direct our lives, Jesus does! That’s what it means to follow him. Put others above yourself. Seek good for others, even those who despise you. Do your job and don’t complain. Love the unlovable. Seek the Kingdom of God and stand for God’s truth even if it hurts. Humility is the key and when God’s people are humble they cannot be defeated! That’s because Jesus goes ahead and Jesus has already won the victory. Get behind Jesus. Join the resistance!