top of page

Life Beyond Self-Esteem

It is time for the church to let go of self-esteem so that we can live beyond our potential. It seems the church in America has fully bought into the concept of self-esteem. Sunday-School curriculum for children has been developed and marketed on the very subject. The concept has been taught in our churches and Bible colleges across America. When we think of high self-esteem, we may conjure up thoughts about self-confidence, living up to one’s potential, or being ready to take on the world. When we think of low self-esteem, we may imagine a cartoon character with a perpetual rain cloud over his head. Or, we may think of someone who considers him or herself less than in a myriad of ways; less than attractive, less than smart; less than significant. You get the idea. On the surface, who can argue about self-esteem and the apparent impact it has on a person? Apparently, psychologists can.

Psychology and Self-Esteem

Psychologists generally agree that self-esteem has to do with how one feels about him or herself, both at the conscious and unconscious level. But the camaraderie in many cases, seems to end there as experts do not always agree on exactly HOW self-esteem affects a person or their performance in life. Nor can they agree on exactly how low self-esteem comes about or how good self-esteem is achieved. For example, some psychologists claim the need for a high self-esteem if the person is going to be successful in life, while another claims some people with low self-esteem are so driven to achieve, they often become incredibly successful. Some psychologists claim low self-esteem is due to all kinds of outside influences and pressures while another says outside sources impacting self-esteem is simply a myth.

Regardless of theories, it seems most psychologists agree that one’s self-esteem is in a constant state of flux and can be improved with exercise, eating right, more self-awareness, or even acts of self-love. These are not necessarily bad things, but at the end of the day, they are all about self. Thus, if the stars align just perfectly and everything goes our way, then we may just be able to live up our potential. But is there a better way? Is there a way to live beyond our self-esteem; beyond our potential even if life is not perfect?

Self-Esteem Falls Short

The Bible has much to say about self or our flesh and it is rarely positive. Sure, the Bible speaks of self-control in a positive light, but the Bible also speaks of self-indulgence, self-seeking, and being self-willed in a negative sense. A close study of First Corinthians 13, or the “love chapter,” reveals that God’s love and the love that every Christian should possess is selfless, not selfish. In fact, I would contend that selfishness is foundational to sin. Galatians 5:24 tells us, “And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”1 Jesus said, “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.”2 Not only that, but according to Scripture, our ability outside of God is pretty much nil. Philippians 2:13 in essence, tells us that Christ provides our motivation and our ability. Jesus Himself said, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”3 Paul, in the book of Acts, tells us that Jesus “gives to all life, breath, and all things.”4

Self-esteem, or what I can achieve on my own, or how I feel about myself outside of Christ is well below what the Bible says is possible. When we realize our position in Christ, then we can begin to live beyond our potential.


The first beatitude in Matthew’s Gospel states, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”5 When we realize we are simply a branch connected to the Vine called Jesus, and that it is His life-giving, love-giving, hope-giving, joy-giving, power-giving source that feeds and sustains, then nothing is impossible for us. Jesus Himself said, “all things are possible to him who believes.”6 It no longer matters what negativity the influencers in your life poured into you. It doesn’t matter your aptitude or skill set. It doesn’t matter if you have all the right physical features or none of them. It is simply believing that “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”7 This places our esteem in God and not in self. The Christian life is about God-esteem, not self-esteem.

Living Beyond Your Potential

You do not have to settle for living up to your potential when, in Christ, it is possible to live way beyond your potential. When we abide in Christ, it is not about what I can achieve in my own strength, but what Christ can work through me. Christians are not dependent on self-esteem. They are dependent on the power of God working through them. Thus, at the end of the day, no matter what we accomplish, we can easily offer all the glory to God. For those who do not believe in Jesus, self-esteem is as good as it gets. But for those who belong to Jesus, nothing is impossible. Church, I dare you to let go of self-esteem and live beyond your personal potential.

[1] The New King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), Ga 5:24.

[2] The New King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), Mt 10:38–39.

[3] The New King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), Jn 15:5.

[4] The New King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), Ac 17:25.

[5] The New King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), Mt 5:3.

[6] The New King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), Mk 9:23.

[7] The New King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), 1 Jn 4:4.

92 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page