Identity: Self Image, Self Worth, and Self Esteem
Tonight were going to talk about our identity. Who we truly are based on what God says, not on what the world would have us think. Were going to break this topic down into 3 parts:
Self Image- Is the idea you have about your abilities, appearance, and personality
Self Worth- is the opinion you have about yourself and the value you place on yourself
Self Esteem- is having confidence in your worth and abilities; it’s self respect
How many of you can honestly say that you struggle to see yourself in a positive way in one or more of these areas?
This isn’t just an issue that teenagers struggle with, adults struggle with this too! And this isn’t just a “girl issue”; guys struggle with this issue as well. Why is this such an issue across the board?
Why does it seem like our self image,self worth, and self esteem are under attack?
Why do we struggle so much with our identity?
The reason is because Satan wants us to second guess ourselves and God’s design for us. He wants to confuse us, lie to us, depress us, and send us down a road of self-doubt and insecurity.
How does he do this? By bombarding us with worldly ideals about how we should look, think,dress, and act; by giving us unrealistic standards to measure ourselves against. The only way to battle the lies that Satan uses against us is to KNOW THE TRUTH!
You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
The truth about self image is this, you are fearfully and wonderfully made!
You can’t know who you truly are until you find out who He says you are! It doesn’t matter what you buy, it can be as expensive as a car, or as inexpensive as a coffee pot. Anything you buy comes with an owners manual. That owners manual is there to teach you about the product yo
God’s word tells us:
The creator of the product knows the ins and outs of what they have made and are the only ones with the authority to tell someone what the purpose of the object is. You can’t fully understand the product you bought if you don’t read the owners manual.
I will praise You because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, and I know this very well.
You are made in the image of God Himself. He knit you together in your mothers womb. His hands made us and fashioned us. The Bible teaches us all of these things and more. God thought about you and knew you before you were even born.
He took His time and designed you just the way He wanted to. Everything from the color of your hair, to the size of your foot was thought out and planned by the creator of the universe.
God designed each little detail about you and said “this is good”. When you think no one cares about you or pays you any attention, remember how much attention God paid you when He created you. God thinks we are perfect just the way we are. The world (and Satan) wants us to think that we need to look a certain way to be beautiful, or act a certain way to be noticed and accepted by others.
They would have us think that we aren’t worth as much if we’re not talented in some way like sports, music, dance, something that makes us stand out. This leaves us constantly comparing ourselves to others and we’re left feeling mediocre, at best.
But that’s what the world wants, that’s not what God wants. Do you want to know why the world wants you to see yourself this way?
IT’S GOOD FOR BUSINESS!
Think about it, we think were not pretty so we buy the best makeup we can find to cover up our flaws. Think about the brand name.... COVER GIRL… its an ad campaign that emphasizes exactly what were talking about “covering up” what we see as flaws.
We think were not stylish so we go and buy a new wardrobe to fit the current trends. Hair just isn’t right? Color it, straighten it, perm it, cut it, buy a million styling products to get it just right.
Not thin enough?
Buy body contouring clothes, waist trainers, gym memberships, plastic surgery, sweat to death in the sauna.....
Do you see the endless cycle? You can nit pick yourself to death on every detail of your appearance. Details that you probably wouldn’t even notice if you weren’t constantly surrounded by images of what the perfect girl looks like and acts like.
As long as the world can keep you second guessing your appearance and the way God made you, they can keep you in bondage to this unrealistic ideal and take advantage of you, not only with your money, but they can take advantage of your heart and make you vulnerable to accepting things about yourself that just aren’t true.
YOU ARE MORE THAN YOUR LOOKS!
This is what God says about appearance:
Your beauty should not consist of outward things like elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold ornaments or fine clothes.
Instead, it should consist of what is inside the heart with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very valuable in God’s eyes.
Does this mean we aren’t supposed to do our hair, wear jewelry, or take pride in our appearance?
What this verse is saying is that we shouldn’t try to find true beauty by worrying about our outward appearance. Being put together and looking nice is fine, but if our hearts aren’t right; if were not gentle and quiet in spirit, we don’t possess true beauty.
A quiet spirit means being at peace with God. If you are not at peace with God, you’re in turmoil within yourself, which means you don’t have a quiet spirit. God wants us to be content and secure with Him. In Him is where true beauty is found.
Just as you shouldn’t judge yourself based on your outward appearance and attributes, you shouldn’t judge others in this way either.
Stop judging according to outward appearances; rather judge according to righteous judgment.”
What does that even mean?
Well, let’s look at
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or his stature, because I have rejected him. Man does not see what the Lord sees, for man sees what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart.”
Right here in this passage God shows us what He looks at. He does not see as man sees but instead God looks at the heart. So we should look at the heart too. Remember, God created every little detail of you. God thinks you’re perfect how you are, and God thinks they are perfect just the way they are.
So before you go pointing out someone else’s flaws to make yourself feel better, remember how God sees them; They are His creation and beautiful in His sight.
When we start to see ourselves (and others) the way God sees us, we start to have a stronger sense of self worth.
HOW DO YOU SEE YOURSELF?
I’m not talking about appearances here, I am talking about you as a person. We’ve already talked about not defining yourself by how you look or what you can or can’t do. Do you define yourself by you’re past?
Do you see yourself as not worthy of God’s love, or anyone else’s, because of mistakes you’ve made, or what others have done to you, or said about you?
Don’t devalue yourself because of these things. God doesn’t judge you based on you’re past, especially if you’re saved. Your mistakes were covered in the blood of Jesus Christ on the cross. He sees your heart. He is a God of forgiveness and redemption. His mercies are new every morning. If you come to Him, He will take your imperfections and impurities and make you clean and beautiful.
“Do not remember the past events, pay no attention to things of old.
“Do not remember the past events, pay no attention to things of old. Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.
Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.
God can change you from the inside out. all you have to do is come to Him.
When you feel unworthy, God says your worthy.
Aren’t five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight. Indeed, the hairs of your head are all counted. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows!
If God finds value, finds worth in sparrows, how much more value are you in the eyes of God?
When those little voices creep in your head reminding you of what you’ve done, where you’ve been, how you don’t measure up, how you’re not worth the love of others, remind yourself that you have value and worth because you are God’s child.
You are His beautiful creation. He has something special planned for you that is better than you could ever imagine, because HE values you; because you’re worth it. He died for you because you’re worth it; He has a plan for your life because you’re worth it.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
That should make you feel pretty good about yourself. We can feel confident in that promise!
The problem with self- esteem, or the lack thereof, is that it comes with the lie that confidence comes from within yourself. This isn’t true. Confidence comes from knowing your worth, and Jesus Christ gives you your worth. You have to be confident in Him.
When you look to yourself to find your confidence, you will only see your flaws. Everyone does it, even the “cool kids”. They just learned how to mask their insecurities so that they still appear confident to others.
When you find your strength and confidence in who God is and what He has done and what He is doing for you, you will find your true identity.
“But what about the times when I’ve failed?”
being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;
You have to allow Him to finish what He started, not try to find your worth and confidence within yourself and other things. You can fake it all day long. You can put a smile on your face and go about your day trying to make it look like you’ve got it all together, when really you’re broken and dying inside.
Everyone thinks you’re confident, but it’s just a facade. But when we put our self aside and focus on who we are in Christ He will give us true self-esteem. Self-esteem tends to come from what our eyes and minds are fixed on. When we’re fixated on society, and the people who are “beautiful”, “successful”. “talented”, “gifted”, “popular”, and they are getting all of this attention, but then you look at yourself, you will always feel inadequate.
But when you have your eyes and mind fixed on Jesus and see yourself how He sees you- beloved, fearfully and wonderfully made, chosen, holy, righteous, worthy....
You will have true confidence.
You can know who you are because of WHOSE you are.