6 Ways the Self-Esteem Movement Contradicts Scripture

This 1-minute devotion explains 6 Ways the Self-Esteem Movement Contradicts Scripture.

Self-esteem philosophy is attractive to our fallen human nature, but it contradicts Scripture.

1. It encourages a victim mentality.

Self-esteem philosophy teaches that poor self-esteem is responsible for sinful behavior.

Truth: "Each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed." James 1:14

2. It turns Scripture upside-down.

"Christian" self-esteem teachings claim that in order to love others we must first love ourselves. But the commands to love others (e.g. Galatians 5:14) are based on treating others humanely, not thinking highly of them. That's why we can even "love" our enemies (Luke 6:35).

3. It promotes arrogance.

It teaches us to praise ourselves.

Truth: "Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth." Proverbs 27:2

4. It emphasizes feelings, not behavior.

It teaches us that we're awesome no matter what we do.

Truth: "Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you." Romans 12:3

5. It teaches selfishness.

It teaches us to focus on ourselves.

Truth: "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves." Philippians 2:3

6. It teaches us that self-love is desirable.

It claims that the healthiest people are those who esteem themselves. 

Truth: "There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves..."  2 Timothy 3:1-5

Let's make our goal God-esteem, not self-esteem. 

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More resources for each point above:

1. It encourages a victim mentality.

See The Low Self-Esteem Excuse.

2. It turns Scripture upside-down.

See Most Misused Scripture by Self-Esteem Advocates.

3. It promotes arrogance.

See I Love Me.

4. It emphasizes feelings, not behavior.

See The Pharisees had High Self-Esteem.

5. It teaches selfishness.

See The Crux of Sin: Self.

6. It teaches us that self-love is desirable

See Having a Form of Godliness.

For more biblical insights see the Self-Esteem Archive.


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This 1-minute devotion explains 6 Ways the Self-Esteem Movement Contradicts Scripture.



Bible Love Notes

20 comments:

  1. I am glad that this is something that God has laid on your heart to write. I am convinced that humanism is the most dangerous concept invading the church today. It sounds so loving and so kind, but at its core teaches self-indulgence and self-worship. We need to be aware of it.

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Joanne. I agree with you. Satan's traps so often sound "right."
      God bless you,
      Gail

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  2. Peter constantly refreshes in the Scriptures, so I think it wise of you! These themes have infiltrated Christian thinking so reminders are important :)

    "I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body…" 2 Peter 1:13

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    1. Thanks, JES.
      You're always an encouragement.
      God bless you,
      Gail

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  3. I am grateful that it is reoccurring :) It is very interesting to me, I grew up in the self esteem movement. I appreciate your insight. Tara.

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    1. Thanks, Tara, for the encouragement. I also have been strongly influenced by the self-esteem movement and I'm still discovering ways it has hindered my Christian growth.
      God bless you,
      Gail

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  4. Wrote this verse in my journal before reading today's Bible Love Note :) "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us" (2 Cor. 4:7). Thanks, as always, for pointing us to God's Word, Gail.

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    1. Great verse, Kim. We are those jars of clay but so glad we don't rely on ourselves but on His power.
      Gail : )

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  5. Oh, how true this is! We so often listen to the media, instead of GOD and what He has so amply and graciously provided in His Word. I so enjoyed reading this post and seeing your blog. Thank you so very much for stopping by mine and leaving such a sweet trail of encouragement behind. I hope we can connect often in the future. God is so faithful to bring those who will encourage us into our lives! Iron sharpens iron! Love and peace to you this New Year's Eve! Love, Cheryl

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    1. Oh, yes, Cheryl. How many problems I could have avoided in life had I stuck to the Scriptures instead of listening to popular philosophies.
      Bless you and a Happy New Year to you as well.
      Gail : )

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  6. Thanks for re-posting occasionally on this subject. I truly believe it's something we all need to be reminded of frequently. It's so easy to fall into some of those traps. And that's just what they are; traps set by Satan to distract us from our true beings-children of God.

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Janet. Yes, Satan's traps are subtle and attractive. We need God's Word to avoid them.
      Bless you,
      Gail

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  7. I would love to be able to share this on my blog, beyoutyproject.wordpress.com, and give you credit, but also include the links to your other posts. Is that something you would be okay with? Is there a way to do that?
    This is huge and wonderful! Thank you for sharing!

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    1. I'll contact you, Sam.
      I'm glad you like the devotion.
      Gail : )

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  8. Thank you! I have been affected by the self-esteem movment and always fighting to tell others its not about how good or bad I think I am or you think you are; it is all about how good God is. Without Him and Christ dying on the cross no one is worth anything. Our righteousness is as filthly rags. BUT GOD.....

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    1. Amen! I think we have all been affected by the self-esteem movement, Teresa. But the loud voices of our culture cannot silence the proven wisdom of God. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
      Gail

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  9. so god said tell ppl to not feel good about ur self cause you going to think ur better then him if u do really ? god told u to say that

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    1. Hi Unknown,
      God wants us to have an honest appraisal of ourselves. If we are doing bad things, He wants us to feel bad and repent. If we are doing good things, he wants us to be humble and give Him the credit.

      Each point has a Scripture following it. You can see exactly what God says by clicking on the verse.

      The Scripture passages will give you a clearer understanding.
      Gail

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  10. Self-esteem leads to confidence. Confidence leads to courage. Correct me if I'm wrong but, the phrase "Be courageous" is mentioned numerous times in the Bible?

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    1. According to authorities, Rob, building self-esteem apart from genuine achievement and right actions (i.e. telling children they are wonderful whether they behave or not) gives the children narcissistic tendencies, makes them praise-hungry, discontent, and unteachable. No where in Scripture does it say we should have confidence or even courage in our own strength. And it warns us to have a "sober view" of ourselves. When we recognize our weakness, we understand our need for God. Even secular authorities are now supporting the Scriptural view that building self-control is better than building self-esteem. If you read some of the articles linked to this devotion and check out the Scriptures linked, you'll see that the self-esteem philosophy isn't Biblical.
      I hope this clarifies.
      God bless,
      Gail

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