Good morning, Five Minute Families. I was struck by a discussion we had in our Sunday School class the other day about self-esteem, and it made me think about key concepts we must pass onto our families that are crucial for their well-being and growth in Christ. I was drawn to Ephesians chapter 6 and from there we will build our next series: “Key Truths for Families.”
Let’s start with a discussion about self-esteem. Self-esteem is defined as “confidence in one's own worth or abilities; self-respect.” Society tells us: “You can do it!” “Pull yourself up by your boot straps.” “Bring home the bacon AND fry it up in the pan!” Basically, society says that Americans live in the land of opportunity and you can do anything you put your mind and energies towards.
Our culture tries to instill self-esteem into our children while also undermining it from numerous angles (though, that’s a discussion for another time.) For now, however, we as parents need to build our children up and motivate them. Buuut, do you want to be the voice your family and friends hear - in your own strengths and weaknesses, triumphs and trials? OR, would you want that voice to be Jesus?
We propose that five-minute families bring their emphasis to Christ-esteem instead of self-esteem. Christ-esteem is respect and admiration for the work Christ completed on the cross AND that He has said that He came to give us life and life abundant. Having Christ-esteem is trusting in the work He is doing in the heart and lives of His people so that we may glorify Him while He works out all things for our ultimate good.
One big question we all face in life is: who am I? Our identity shapes and defines us, and our identity directly impacts our self-esteem. Our beliefs are the very core of our being - our identity - and we use those beliefs to guide us through life. Mostly, those beliefs are subconscious and are often molded by subtle influences that build up over time. Take a professional athlete as an example. They push and strive for making themselves better. It is said it takes 10,000 hours of training to obtain the skills of a professional. Athletes must have confidence in their ability to win and achieve their dreams, but they also have coaches who invest in their training, whom they must trust to guide them to successful outcomes.
What a great opportunity we have to boost esteem in ourselves and our families. But, how do we do that? Is it simply having family time consistently? How much time do we spend? Do we make sure we compliment our children often to make them feel confident about who they are? How many compliments are needed to build self-esteem? Do we believe in innate talent or invest extensively in training?
Five-minute families, again, we must realize that our families do not need more self-esteem; we need more Christ-esteem. Paul says in Ephesians 6:10, "Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might." "Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of HIS might." So, to cultivate Christ-esteem, you must:
1. Recognize God's strength in yourself. As a believer you have the power of the Holy Spirit in you and you are sealed by that Spirit. As Ephesians 6:10 says, be strong in the Lord.
2. Recognize that your strengths can be a detriment to your ultimate purpose in life, which should be to glorify God. Self-esteem and your natural abilities can make you more reliant on yourself alone. Do you give God praise and credit for His creating you? Are your strengths drawing you closer to Christ and your family or farther away?
3. Focus on transformation and renewing your mind. Prayerfully consider where God has you and where God wants you to be. Take those thoughts about your strengths versus God’s strengths to heart and allow His word to permeate and transform you.
4. Encourage others in their walk through the strength God has given you. In many teaching areas, there is a learning technique: “see one, do one, teach one.” To help transform your thinking and strengthen those thoughts, you can watch a respected mentor/friend demonstrate their strength in God. Then, you can do the same in your life. And, to cement the process, teach God’s strength to others, especially your family.
5. And, keep in balance the needs to build Christ-esteem while building one another’s self-esteem. There are many good lessons out there about self-esteem. You just cannot let the creation become master of the Creator. Christ-esteem eclipses self-esteem any day. Self-confidence is a feeling, and feelings are fickle. But, God is not fickle.
Thank you for joining us this morning. We hope you are drawing closer to the Lord and His wisdom for your families. Keep your hearts and minds on Him and His word as He leads you with all love, gentleness, and strength. Be blessed!