Worldly self-esteem bases your worth on appearance, possessions, and accomplishments. Whether high or low, this kind of esteem is prideful, focuses on self, and doesn’t add value to your life. It minimizes your potential for growth and influence.
On the other hand, self-image based upon the value God has placed on you is Christ-centered and goes far beyond what you can dream or imagine. If you are a believer who wants to be a leader, you must live as someone valued by God.
So, how can you increase your Christ-centered self-image? Look to the apostle Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. In it, he gives three reasons you are valuable to God, five truths to know, and five things to do:
Why You Are Valuable to God
1. You are valuable because of who you are. You are made in God’s image, according to His likeness (Genesis 1:26). A long time ago, even before God created you and before He created this universe, you were the focus of His love. “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love” (Ephesians 1:4).
2. You are valuable because of what you cost. As one loved by God, you have also been chosen by God for “adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself” (Ephesians 1:5). This adoption came at a high price, the death of His Son. “He made us accepted in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Ephesians 1:6, 7).
3. You are valuable because of what you can become. As a person who is loved by God and adopted into His family, you can be sure that God has a plan for your life: “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:11, 12).
What to Know
The value God has placed on you is the value you should place on yourself. You can live as someone valued by God when you know these vital truths.
1. Christ wants to have a relationship with you. When Paul prayed that “Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith” (Ephesians 3:17), he wasn’t referring to something temporary. Jesus wants to live and relate with you permanently.
2. You can experience Christ’s extravagant love. As if being pursued relationally by the Son of God isn’t enough, even more amazing is the fact that He wants you to know and experience the “width and length and depth and height” (Ephesians 3:18) of His love!
4. God’s power is not limited. He “is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20).
5. God can do a great work within you. This divine love and power that exceeds your imagination works in you (Ephesians 3:20) because His Spirit strengthens you and Christ lives in you.
You cannot help seeing yourself as valuable when you really know these truths. But don’t stop there. To live as someone valued by God, you must do something with that knowledge.
What to Do
1. Discover your spiritual path and start moving. Paul beseeched believers “to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called” (Ephesians 4:1). Be intentional about living a life that matches who you are by virtue of your relationship with Christ.
2. Be humble and disciplined. Cultivate Jesus’ attitude of humility (Ephesians 4:2) by putting others before yourself and following through with what you start.
3. Experience community. Serve one another and stay together. You will feel more valuable when you work to add value to others’ lives and “keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3).
4. Use your unique gifts. Followers of Christ are “one body” who belong to “one Lord” and “one God and Father” (Ephesians 4:4-6), but that doesn’t mean we’re all supposed to look, speak, and act alike. God has made you unique, and He has given you unique gifts to influence others and add value to their lives.
5. Keep growing. God wants you to “grow up in all things into Him” (Ephesians 4:15). Satisfaction with the status quo always leads to stagnation. Until the day you die, you have the potential to keep growing, leading, making a difference in this world, and adding value to others’ lives. That starts by believing and living as someone valued by God.
You matter. You have value. Start living like it today and never stop.
By John C. Maxwell. Article from the NIV Maxwell Leadership Bible, 3rd edition.