The Glory is God's, Not Ours

Beware of those who misuse Psalm 139 to fit it into Self-Esteem philosophies.

More Scriptures Misused by Self-Esteem Advocates

We discussed the misuse of Proverbs 23:7 (Part 2) and Matthew 22:36-40 (Part 3) by self-esteem advocates.

Before discussing another specific verse, I want to mention that the self-esteem philosophy also leads to a general misunderstanding about God's love.

For example: Romans 5:8 says "God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Many Christians have incorrectly assumed this means we are somehow worthy of His love. 

I encourage you to refer back to part 3 where I explain this concept fully or read the 1 minute devotion Who's Worthy. To summarize: We are loved by God....but we are not worthy of that love--that's why it's called grace--it's undeserved.

Beware of those who misuse Psalm 139 to fit it into Self-Esteem philosophies.

The focus of Psalm 139 is God's omniscience and His wonderful ability to create. Using this verse to encourae a high opinion of ourselves requires cutting the verse in half, taking it out of the context, and ignoring the message of the Psalm as a whole. 

Verses 13 and 14 read: "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."

The Psalmist is not boasting about how wonderful he is. He is boasting about how wonderful the Creator is.

In fact, he ends the Psalm with these humble words: "Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (v. 23-24). He realizes his sinful tendencies and asks God to help him overcome them.

God created us to love and worship Him, not ourselves. If we look at the wonder of the human body, mind and soul and give ourselves credit, we are no better than the builders of the Tower of Babel.

The self-esteem philosophy has changed our understanding of God and of the human condition. And we must restore our thinking by studying and trusting God's Word above all other philosophies. 

To read about a well-known pastor who misuses this passage, see The Popular Teachings of Joel Osteen.

Part 1: The Dangers of Promoting High Self-Esteem
Part 2: Self-Esteem's Twisted Proverb
Part 3: Self-Esteem's Twisted Words of Christ
Part 4: Self-Esteem's Twisted Psalm
Part 5: The Old Testament Refutes Self-Esteem Philosophy
Part 6: Godly Nurture Does Not Promote High Self-Esteem
Part 7: Secular Studies Agree with the Bible


  1. Great post! Off to read the other parts that I have missed!

  2. Such a great series. I have enjoyed each post. This really deserves to be read by everyone - because most every generation has been fed this lie of self-esteem. When we put look at it through the prism of God's Word, we see how very deceiving it is!

  3. Psalm 139 23-24 speaks clearly to me. I am trying to take all if this in, but I was overwhelmed. Then when I read these verses, it made things become clearer because it recognizes we need to keep growing in wisdom as long as we live; and we need Jesus to redirect us if we get off on the wrong path.
    It is a life time process.
    I hope I am perceiving this with more understanding. Lord help me with this concept in my own life and the lives of others.
    Your research is very expansive and appreciated.

    1. Yes, Marilynn, I think you understand it well.
      God bless you.