By PAULETTE ARTEAGA
Low Self-Esteem, Satan's Deadliest Weapon
Some of the most powerful weapons in Satan's arsenal are psychological. Fear is one of these. Doubt is another. Anger, hostility, worry, and of course, guilt. Long-standing guilt is hard to shake off; it seems to hang on even after a Christian claims forgiveness and accepts pardoning grace. An uneasy sense of self-condemnation hangs over many Christians like the Los Angeles smog. They find themselves defeated by the most powerful psychological weapon that Satan uses against Christians. We call it low self-esteem.
Low self-esteem is a gut-level feeling of inferiority, inadequacy, and low self-worth. This feeling shackles Christians in spite of wonderful experiences, in spite of their faith and knowledge of God's word.
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So Tied Up That We're Tied Down
Low self-esteem destroys our dreams and our visions. You may have heard this old definition before, "Neurotics are people who build castles in the air; psychotics are those who move into them; and psychiatrists are the ones who collect the rent"!
However, this is not the dreams and visions we are neither talking about, nor the unrealistic fantasies or daydreams - no! We are talking about the dreams and visions as were prophesied by Joel and fulfilled in the Book of Acts in chapter 2 verse 17, was that when the Holy Spirit was poured out, the young would see visions and the old would dream dreams. The Holy Ghost helps us to dream bold dreams, to see visions of what God wants to do for us and in us, and especially through us.
That's the first historical mention of the CIA - the Canaan Information Agency. Moses sent the cream of the crop, the best man from each tribe. And he fully expected that the realities of Canaan would confirm God's dreams and God's promise. And in a sense they did, for all of the scouts agreed: "It's a fantastic land. Look at the fruit - we never saw grapes and pomegranates like that. And the honey - it is the sweetest you have ever tasted! See Numbers 13:23.
The envoys began to weep and to be filled with fear. Only Caleb and Joshua had a different story. Oh, they agreed on all the facts. Their observations were the same; but because their perceptions were different, their conclusions were different. Why? Because Caleb was a man of a different spirit (Numbers 14:24). Caleb had no worm theology. He and Joshua had no grasshopper esteem of themselves. They said, "Of course the people are big, but don't fear them. The Lord is with us. We don't care how big they are; we can eat them up just like bread, and we can do this because it is God's will for us. It is God's dream, and He delights to do it in us and through us. He'll give us our dream and give us our land. See Numbers 14:8-10 for this exchange.
More Than Grasshoppers And Worms
And last but not least low-self esteem sabotages our Christian service. What is the biggest obstacle that prevents members of the body of Christ, (metaphor of the community of Christians) from functioning as parts of the body? What is the first thing people say when you ask them to do something in the body of Christ? "Teach a Sunday school class? I can't stand up in front of people." "Share at the next ladies's meeting, or men's conference? Oh, I couldn't do that!" "Go knocking on doors? That would scare me to death."
Pastors are nearly drowned in the torrent of downgrading that pours over us in excuses for not doing God's work. "Pastor, I'm tongue-tied. Public speaking is not my gift, but I can do something else." You know everybody can do something and function as a give of his gift in the body of Christ.
Seriously, It's Not The Superstars
The trouble with our low-self esteem is that it robs God of marvelous opportunities to show off His power and ability through our weaknesses. Paul said, "Therefore, will I rather glory in my infirmities." Why? Because they gave God such a wonderful chance to show off His perfection (2nd Corinthians 12:9-10). Nothing sabotages Christian service more than thinking so little of yourself that you never really give God a chance.
We must never forget who we are, what we are and how much God loves us. We must give God a chance to shine his perfection through us.