I read David Platt’s Radical Together book and loved the sixth chapter’s title and subtitle:
The God Who Exalts God:
We are Selfless Followers of a Self-Centered God
When you read that at first, you may be tempted to think it is wrong but it’s perfectly right! Only God is perfectly loving and capable of being Self-Centered because only He is good, pure, holy, and true! We are marred by man’s sin and we must become God-centered and crucify our own tendency to be self-centered! We must love God and others first (not ourselves) – Matt. 22:37-40.
So where does self-esteem fit in theology? It only FITS when it is applied to GOD – no one else is to have self-esteem but we are to have Christ-esteem and see ourselves in Christ! He gives us His esteem and when we learn to esteem Him and others more than ourselves, we are merely obedient.
Philippians 2:3 states: Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (ESV)
Nothing in that verse above calls us to love ourselves since the Bible presupposes that people love themselves already! And they do!
I remember a counselee once telling me he hated himself so I asked him what he had for breakfast that morning. He named his favorite cereal! I guess he didn’t hate himself as much as he had deceived himself that he hated himself!
Let’s love God more than we love ourselves!
-Mark (Jer. 17:9-10 reminds us about the deception of our own hearts which always tends to be self-centered rather than Christ-centered! Always!)