Who and What to Esteem

“Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward.” (Hebrews 11:26)

We hear much today about the importance of self-esteem, with the implication that lack of self-esteem is the cause of many of the personal problems and antisocial activities of so many young people (and others as well) these days.

But this is not the biblical perspective. The problem really is too much self-esteem. The biblical command is that we should “in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves” (Philippians 2:3). The man Moses was once a prince of Egypt, probably in line to become the pharaoh, but he chose Christ and the people of God instead, “esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt” (today’s text).

Paul the apostle could have become the greatest teacher and leader in the religious/political life of his own Jewish people, but he said: “What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:7-8). In these verses, “count” is the same word in the original Greek language as “esteem.”

Similarly, the apostle James assures us that we should “count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations”—that is, trials that test your faith—“knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience” (James 1:2-3).

Therefore, if we would truly conform to the will of God for our lives, we should be esteeming others more than cultivating self-esteem in ourselves, esteem knowing and serving Christ more than all the riches and fame of the world, and esteem it a joyful privilege when we are enabled to grow more like Him through the trials and testings He permits us to share. HMM

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