The Dangers of Self-Love

we need to admit we've bought into the non-Biblical self-esteem philosophy. This short devotion looks at Galatians 6. #BibleLoveNotes #Bible #Devotions #SelfEsteem

Dear Christians, there are times we need to admit we've bought into a non-Biblical philosophy. And this has never been more true than with the false self-esteem philosophy.

The devastating results are everywhere, and many secular psychologists that once supported the premise of building self-esteem are now recanting. Yet, most of us are still defending self-esteem philosophy as if it were Scripture. 

Treating our children kindly and lovingly is godly. But teaching them they are wonderful is not. No matter how we try to "Christianize" self-esteem philosophy, it still produces arrogant, ungrateful, entitled, self-serving, and discontented people.  

Self-esteem philosophy appeals to our human pride, and it has permeated every aspect of American culture--music, entertainment, education, government, and church. But it does not lead to healthy, humble, productive citizens.

A revolution has overtaken our idea of self, and only a band of hearty resistance-fighters will keep it from taking genuine believers captive. 

Are you ready to join the resistance and stand for Christ's view of a self? If so, I encourage you to take time to read the Scripture passage below and ask God to teach you His truth.

I also encourage you to take some time to read the short devotions in the Biblical Self-Esteem archive.

we need to admit we've bought into the non-Biblical self-esteem philosophy. This short devotion looks at Galatians 6. #BibleLoveNotes #Bible #Devotions #SelfEsteem
Bible Study:
One of the basic premises of the self-esteem philosophy is that we are wonderful no matter what we do. This is one of many Scripture passages that refutes that belief:

Galatians 6: 3-8: If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load...Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

Thoughts about this passage
Scripture says we can take pride in ourselves if we have tested our actions and been found faithful, pleasing God's Spirit, not pleasing ourselves. This isn't about earning our salvation or basing our faith on works. If we genuinely love the Lord, we want to please Him, and when we please Him, we can take pride in ourselves.  
✔ We can always find someone worse than ourselves, but this passage tells us that comparing ourselves to others isn't relevant.
2 Corinthians 10:18: For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.


  1. Very good point. After all, we are called to humility, not pride. And what is self esteem if not pride?

    1. Yes, Kendra, I hope to make some of those distinctions in upcoming posts. Thanks for your thoughts.

  2. I definitely agree with you about humility and not encouraging pridefulness, but doesn't the Bible state that we are fearfully and wonderfully made? I think what's important is emphasising that we are all precious and wonderful because God has created us that way, rather than because we are such wonderful people by our own merit. It's a distinction that's important, but I don't want to raise my children (when I have them) to believe that they AREN'T wonderful either. We are wonderful, because we were made to be wonderful, and we have to live up to that. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on this take on the issue. May

    1. Dear May,
      You've asked good questions.

      The Bible does say we are fearfully and wonderfully made and we are the focus of God's purpose in creation.

      But many of the self-esteem teachings define a sense of well-being and a sense of self that are in direct contradiction to the Biblical definitions. In this series, I hope to clarify those distinctions, so I hope you'll stick with me as I cover them more fully.

      And please keep asking questions and letting me hear your perspective. I appreciate hearing others' insights and appreciate being able to clarify things that I may not have explained very well.
      Bless you,

  3. Thanks for sharing this Gail - as a true member of the "me generation" I often feel out of place when I share my feelings on building my children's self-esteem, and their drive to just work harder... It is hard to explain when all my peers see personal drive the ultimate goal - just try hard, sweat more, put more effort into it... Never pray for a more clear mind, focus on God and His desires... or daily die to self...

    It's a struggle, but I hope that slowly I will build a group of peers that see this other side of life, and the joy it brings.


    1. Thanks for sharing your insights, Marissa. It helps me get a clearer view of what others are experiencing.

  4. So much of the problem is because the emphasis is on us...not where it should be. Sort of goes hand in hand with the man centered worship that is so strong in the western church that focuses so much on the "me and Jesus" way of worship.

  5. I appreciate your remarks but I think that you, like so many others, miss the point. The concept of self-esteem does not mean that we are to exalt ourselves. Certainly, the Christian life teaches humility. As Paul said, "Not I, but Christ..." However, to have a healthy self esteem does mean that we believe in the way that God views us: He created us in His image and, as His creation, knows our potential. So much, in fact, that He considered it good to send His son, Jesus, to die for our sins. God gave us grace - not because we earned it - but because HE determines our worthiness. Like the old poem says: "God don't make no junk." We are created by God . He esteems me by His love and grace. I am humbled by this because I know I don't deserve it. changes me - transforms me- and I am a better person.

  6. Lack of self esteem is not our problem, not with Americans in general or American Christianity. For the Christian we are meant to die to self and become alive in Christ; "yet not I that live but Christ lives within me." We cannot crucify self and promote self-esteem at the same time. Humility is a lost concept.

    John the Baptist said of Jesus "he must increase and I must decrease." By our standards the Apostle Paul had a terrible sense of self-esteem.

  7. I was just discussing this with a friend earlier today in regards to our faith as Muslims. Self-esteem when translated into Arabic sounds like a mental illness. We should be confident in our actions, and we can only be confident in those if we are acting from sound principles based on our faith and scripture.

    Self-esteem is one of those "feel good" things that the secularised world has latched onto because it is a crutch they need. When one no longer has religion and morals to guide one's decisions, one's confidence does indeed take a nose-dive. But instead of seeing the root of the problem (abandoning the faith and structure that keeps us on the straight path [as-siraat al-mustaqeem]), we instead tell children they "are special" and can "do anything".

    I can't do just anything. I have limitations, some that extend to all humans and some that are unique to my personal situation. We are setting our children up for a lifetime of frustration by lying to them about what they are capable of doing, and when that frustration hits their soul we say "Oh no, he/she has a low self esteem!"

    It's ridiculousness.

  8. I thought all current Christian Psychologists still held to the teaching of bolstering our self esteem. Who is there who has not? Just curious.

    1. Hi Stephen,

      Many psychologists promote self-esteem philosophies and many Christian teachers as well. Sadly, the majority of people are often wrong, and in this case we can be assured they are wrong because they contradict Scripture.

      Here's a link that gives multiple sources from secular psychologists who believe the current attitudes toward self-esteem are creating a narcissistic culture.

      One of those experts, Roy F. Baumeister, Florida State University, started his career promoting the self-esteem philosophy but began to see that it was more important to develop self-control than self-esteem.

      Here's a quote from a NY Times article:
      "Last year alone there were three withering studies of self-esteem released in the United States, all of which had the same central message: people with high self-esteem pose a greater threat to those around them than people with low self-esteem and feeling bad about yourself is not the cause of our country's biggest, most expensive social problems."