categories:, leadership, personal, support
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November 28th, 2007

by Craig Groeschel

27 comments (+ Add)

Spiritual-Esteem 3 (of 4)


Self-esteem puts more focus on self than on Christ.

For me, to have a strong self-esteem:

  • I acquire an ungodly competitive spirit, measuring success against other ministries.
  • I become easily threatened.
  • I become hypercritical of others.
  • I’ll manipulate things for the “win.”
  • I perform for people rather than for God.

Spiritual-esteem (being esteemed by Christ rather than people) empowers me to:

  • Cheer for other ministries and partner with them to reach people for Christ.
  • Be secure with what God is doing through me (or not doing through me).
  • Defend other ministers rather than criticize.
  • Live with integrity.
  • Live for God’s pleasure and approval.

God, may we never strive for a strong self-esteem. Empower us to find all our worth in You, Your truth, and Your name.

How are you growing in spiritual esteem?

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  1. Nov 28, 2007 at 5:59 am

    this series is totally wrecking my world, so thanks a lot! :) i find myself asking, “if i write this, what will people think? what if it sucks?” or…”there is no way i could speak at this event…i will look like a fool!” and then i hear this little voice say very clearly, “it’s not about you…” (amongst some other things…)

    do i have a healthy spiritual esteem at this moment? probably not. but i can certainly say my heart and mind are being challenged to think differently. thanks. :)

  2. Nov 28, 2007 at 6:22 am

    Pow! What a wake up CALL! I feel like I am watching an old episode of “Batman�… Pow! Zap! Bam! Zonk! BooYa! (Boo Ya!…wasn’t on Batman…I just like it!) :)

    Craig this series is a SERIOUS wake up call on ALL terms for me! Thank You for being BOLD and for presenting REAL spiritual challenges. I embrace the growing pains.

    So how am I growing? One step at a time.

  3. Nov 28, 2007 at 6:49 am

    Amen, Good Stuff, Thank You Sir! :-)

  4. Nov 28, 2007 at 7:19 am

    The biggest way I am growing in spiritual esteem is to truly let go. Go with me here. I find my daily thoughts drifting to my lack of ability or my unpolished talent or my (lack of) knowledge of the Word. Then, I hear His voice speak to me and He says, “You could say the alphabet and if I anoint it, it’ll touch others.”

    So, when I pick up worry, from time to time, about what I think I need to do or accomplish, I stop, take a deep breath, give myself a swift kick in the hiney and remember that the “yes” I said to Christ over a decade ago, is all He wants from me. He’s fully and willingly capable to make beauty from the ashes I offer.

    How great is our God.

  5. Nov 28, 2007 at 7:19 am

    God, may we never strive for a strong self-esteem. Empower us to find all our worth in You, Your truth, and Your name.

    pulled that prayer right outta my heart…

    In answer to your question, I am growing (and have been its ongoing), in “spiritual esteem”, as God challenges me to share the gospel, overcome fear, and trust Him with the results… it is a daily dependence on Him…

    If you don’t believe this is a fallen, sinful, hostile world, try to share the gospel with as many as you can… you’ll find out soon enough…

    It does wonders for destroying my “self” esteem, but it is great for building “spiritual” esteem…

  6. Nov 28, 2007 at 7:43 am

    How am I growing in spiritual-esteem? Day by day. :)

    But, it is happening. Through my daily conversation with Jesus, through genuine time in Scripture (not just accumulating words read), and absolutely in my relationship with my wife - her love is a reflection of His esteem for me.

    Gosh, comparison is such a life “killer”, is so insidious and, often, very subtle. I need to maintain a steady awareness that God does not care how “good” I am at leading a LifeGroup, producing a worship experience, or speaking eloquently about theological issues. His love is pure and unconditional.

    Thanks, Craig, and I hope your spiritual-esteem soars this week!

  7. Nov 28, 2007 at 7:52 am

    Bless you Craig,

    God has worked this out of my life. We aren’t in competition with other ministries- our competetion is NFL, Nascar, beach, mountains, etc..


    I’m loving Going All The Way. I’ll have a lot more time to read after tonight. :)

  8. 8tony
    Nov 28, 2007 at 8:16 am

    Lay it all down each and every day-we’re not God’s CEO and the company will run just fine without us - it always has. God is no respector of persons and even though God has a path and tasks for me, He will achieve His glory with or without me. But, if I snooze, I lose and what a shame that would be because the perks in this job are somewhat phenomenal. Free room and board, free health care, free music, perfect worship, no pain or sin, and a cool place to hang out for eternity!

  9. 9Mike
    Nov 28, 2007 at 8:20 am

    I echo what Avery said.

    It’s trusting God with the results of the seeds you sow, whether good or bad. We’re never promised anything in this world (Prov. 27:1, James 4:14).

    For me, it’s praying: “Lord, whatever you let come to pass, so be it. Just help me stay obedient to your Word.”

  10. Nov 28, 2007 at 8:35 am

    It’s an interesting series so far. Craig, have you found that peoples understanding of self is often born out of their understanding of who God is? Of course this is a chicken or egg kind of thing isn’t it. Often our view of God is simply us projecting our view of ourselves, or our view of how others see us esp. authority figures in our lives have view us)

    So the girl who’s father abuses her, grows up to feel God views her the same way.

    Or the boy who’s father was amazingly supportive and gave extra attention for success in athletics, school etc… grows up to be an achiever, living by an internal barometer of efficiency and need for success… constantly looking for feedback like dads and believing that these behaviors are from God and that God values him, because of his efficient, successes and behaviors.

    Both need healing. Healing of how they understand God, but also themselves.

    I guess I’m wondering a loud here. sorry. I guess I’m wondering if self-esteem can really ever be a separate thing from self-esteem.

    thanks for the platform to wonder. Any thoughts? anyone?

  11. Nov 28, 2007 at 8:36 am

    Thank you all! This hits the nail on the head for me! But by breaking and thus blessing me, He is continually showing me how to focus on Him. I’m a huge people-pleaser so its a struggle. I’ve also realized its a journey, not an easy fix. But a daily surrender.

  12. Nov 28, 2007 at 8:39 am

    Ryan TheRiot is awesome. That is all.

  13. Nov 28, 2007 at 8:45 am

    Excellent series and many great comments. This theme is so crucial yet so very difficult. It runs counter to everything we hear and see in this country. If we could live daily in this way we would certainly be “peculiar people.”

  14. 14Travis
    Nov 28, 2007 at 8:53 am

    Patrick, I’m guessing that most people on this post won’t recognize Ryan TheRiot. He was my favorite this year. I’ve just about accepted the fact that they will never win another world series so I’m just waiting to die so I can have season tickets to watch the Angels. ;)

  15. Nov 28, 2007 at 9:01 am

    John Owen said, “Praying, fasting, watching, meditation, and the like, certainly have there use for the business at hand, but many consider them as the fountains and not the stream coming from the fountain.” It is very easy to be more satisfied with our work than the work of Christ in us. Jesus didn’t say, “I saved you…now, you’re part of the deal is…” Jesus said that “apart from me you can do nothing.” It is completely His strength and completing work through us that will fulfill our lives.
    It also reminds me of the words of Isaiah who spoke about all the festivals, prayers, and rituals that were a burden to the Lord. God even said that when they prayed that he turned His face. I hope that our offerings to the Lord are always from a pure heart that wants to always give glory to Christ and not try to steal it for ourselves.

  16. Nov 28, 2007 at 9:03 am

    “You can accomplish anything in life, provided that you do not mind who gets the credit” Harry S. Truman

  17. Nov 28, 2007 at 9:05 am

    I really like your “wonder” full comments. I agree with your observations on projected self esteem. This is an issue for us to be concerned with in our daily love for people. So, at the risk of sounding to preachy, I think that good teaching on the character and nature of God and what He says about us is vital for one to be able to differentiate between Spiritual-esteem and self-esteem. Do I make any sense?

  18. 18Lex
    Nov 28, 2007 at 9:09 am

    How am I growing in spiritual-esteem? I had a great conversation with Holy Spirit in my car last night about being a worship leader who can’t sing. Nothing about that promotes self-esteem, believe you me.

  19. Nov 28, 2007 at 9:19 am

    Philippians 2 calls us to pattern ourselves after Christ’s humbling of himself and says,

    “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” (2:3)

    This concept of spiritual esteem is the continual denial of self and exaltation of Christ…great series, Craig.

  20. 20Carrie
    Nov 28, 2007 at 9:25 am

    I am growing day by day by asking the Lord to help me to realize that what I do in ministry (successes and failures) does not define who I am, by making sure that I always sincerely give God all the credit whenever He does something through me, and realizing that it is more important to find joy in what God is doing through me as a person rather than finding joy doing something for God. I don’t know if that last part makes any sense, but the Lord has really been speaking to me about that lately.

  21. Nov 28, 2007 at 10:25 am

    This is what I needed to hear today! Thank you!

  22. Nov 28, 2007 at 11:03 am

    I found an interesting quote by Chambers in my morning study…

    “The greatest spiritual blessing is the knowledge that we are destitute; until we get there He is powerless to help. He can do nothing for us if we think we are sufficient of ourselves we have to enter into his kingdom thought the door of destitution.â€? (O. Chambers)

    how many times have I found myself thinking I am sufficient and I can do it on my own, just to find myself destitute time and time again… self focus verse Christ focus.

  23. 23Trina Kelley
    Nov 28, 2007 at 1:36 pm

    I am very fortunate to have been truly “lost” before I was found. I already know to God goes all the Glory. It is those who have always lived a “good life” that you really have to worry for. They don’t always understand the magnificence of his glory and what he does for us. As for spiritual-esteem I will always try to do better no matter what because the best (of this world) isn’t good enough for God. Smile He Loves US!!!!

  24. Nov 28, 2007 at 2:10 pm


    I’m wondering if you stole that right out of my own sorry heart! The things you said are fairly easy to know but incredibly difficult traps to stay out of…

    For me anyway

  25. Nov 28, 2007 at 3:36 pm

    For me, I had the truth in my HEAD long before it was in my heart.
    I would know it, could preach it, could tell YOU how to get it, but didn’t have it for myself. I thought it was amazing, true and beautiful, but I just didn’t believe God would do all that for me.
    I didn’t believe that I was truly worthy. Please God don’t make me be the one to go to the hospital and pray for these people - I don’t have enough word, not enough faith. He gently reminded me every time that it was NEVER me - it was always HIM doing the work and HE WAS qualified - if I would just step out.
    Hard road - to die to self, but one I wouldn’t trade for anything!
    Craig, if leaders are struggling with this, how much more is the struggle in the body? I appreciate your heart to take this platform. Keep it up!

  26. Nov 28, 2007 at 7:38 pm

    I love to teach Exodus 3&4 because God gives Moses a major lesson in leadership. Notice that even though Moses demonstrates a major low esteem God never tries to change his mind. You would think that God would try to convince him that he could do it and that he would be right there at his side but God doesn’t do that at all. He simply redirects his attention away from his lack of skills or ability to how big He (God) is. God didn’t change Moses’ low esteem rather He gave Moses a high God-esteem. Our God-esteem is of far greater significance that our self-esteem. Regardless of who we are or what talent we have, if we understand how big our God is and His call on our lives…He can do great things through us. “Apart from Him we can do nothing.�

  27. 27Todd
    Nov 28, 2007 at 8:31 pm

    Hey Craig,

    Great post, this stuff is really challenging to a young pastor. Have you ever thought about turning these ideas into a sermon series for your church?