Psychologists say poor self esteem is out of control, and that it is most often produced by feelings of guilt. This is common both in secular society and in the church spiritual culture. In the church, guilt is often used to cause people to respond positively by confessing sin, or going to an altar call, which is one big way of measuring pastoral success in ministry.
This results in a guilty conscience, and poor self esteem.
AS A MAN THINKS: GUILT THINKING = A GUILTY CONSCIENCE
Most Christians live in low self confidence caused by a guilty conscience. Many think God is mad at them for things they do or don't do. We know we don't measure up in all ways. We know we sin. We experience spiritual failure. We know we need to change for the better.
Many of us are plagued with self-doubt. It is listening to, and living under a ministry of law, guilt and condemnation that makes us this way. It is the job of the law to produce guilt in us (Rom 3:19). The law finds fault with us (Heb 8:8). This of course causes poor self esteem, and a conscience that convicts us rather than supports us.
WE ARE INFLUENCED BY WHAT WE HEAR
Often, church people are worse off than secular society because they do listen to preaching like this that most people in the world don't listen to. And polls say over 80% of all 'Christians are influenced and even controlled by this type of preaching.
Thus Jesus warns us to 'take heed what you hear.' Paul warns about listening to these preachers that he calls instructors in Christ (I Cor 4:15). He says these type preachers, "Do not understand either what they are saying, or the matters about which they make confident assertions" (I Tim 1:7 NASB).
Remember: "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he." If you think of yourself as under the law, and as condemned and guilty, the result will be a guilty conscience. We cannot consistently live, on the outside, different from how we think, on the inside. Today we are merely a delayed reaction of what we thought about yesterday. Our lives are what our thoughts make it.
THE GOSPEL OF JESUS PRODUCES A GOOD CONSCIENCE
As I say many times: the gospel is meant to straighten out our thinking. It is meant to empower us to think the thoughts of God (Isa 55:8-9), and not just human thoughts and opinions. God's thoughts about us are always good if we are in Christ.
The gospel of Jesus -- also called the gospel of grace -- is the greatest power this world has ever seen. But we must live it in order for it to be powerful in us.
Paul says God sees us as though we 'put on Jesus' -- as if he were a costume.
He also talks about us wearing the full armor of God. God's view and opinion of us is righteous, holy and perfect in his sight if we're in Jesus.
The gospel teaches us to think God's thoughts. It transforms our minds (Rom 12:1). It gives us a brain transplant. It gives us a whole new spiritual paradigm.
But we don't think of ourselves this way if we listen to instructors, and sermons that condemn us and produce condemnation. This is what Paul calls this type of preaching: 'the ministry of condemnation and death' (II Cor 3:6-7).
You see, a bad conscience, and poor self esteem affects our relationship and fellowship with God -- at least in our minds. Paul says, "You were sometimes alienated and enemies (of God) in your mind by wicked works" (Col 2:21). This is not gospel reality, and it's only in our minds! But it seems very real to us.
It's produced by non-gospel preaching. Gospel preaching empowers us. This is why Jesus says to repent of all other things, and only believe the gospel (Mark 1:15).
SIN CONSCIOUSNESS: A STRONGHOLD OF SATAN
Other coaching sessions will discuss this more, but sin is a weapon of Satan. It is strengthened by the law (I Cor 15:56). Only the gospel of the grace of God, and peace with God can overcome this. As long as we live under preaching of law and sin, we will have poor self esteem and a guilty conscience before God. We cannot relate to God in this manner.
Paul says we must be DEAD to the law in order to live in God (Gal 2:19). We are FOOLS if live in the law (Gal 3:1-3). We are cursed if we live in the law (Gal 3:10). This produces sin-consciousness that destroys any meaningful relationship with God.
We are meant to have confidence before God, as we will discuss more next time (I John 3:21). But we cannot have this confidence if we feel condemned. If we are condemned, we can't have faith. And the battle cry of the New Testament gospel is, "The just shall live by faith."
SIN CONSCIOUSNESS DESTROYS FAITH
We are meant to live in the love of God. "Keep yourself in the love of God" (Jude 1:21). Paul says we should stay 'rooted and grounded in the love of God' (Eph 3:17). You see, it is God's love that produces faith in us -- it's love that causes faith to work (Gal 5:6).
But if we don't live in love, but choose to live in LAW, then we live in condemnation, guilt and accusation -- various things finding fault with us. Here, faith doesn't work. So many Christians try to grow in faith while living under law. They are defeated before they begin.
Hebrews 10:22 says we are to draw near to God with a pure heart in full assurance of faith. We do this IF we allow the blood of Jesus to do away with our evil conscience.
Sin-consciousness is Satan's way. Righteousness-consciousness is God's way. The gospel teaches us to live God's way. When we do, then a guilty conscience, and poor self esteem becomes things of the past. Instead, we become 'the just who live by faith.'
This is just the beginning! Live in the presence and power of God: http://www.TheGospelCoach.comfor free articles, ebooks, videos, songs. Also, beginning Nov 1 is http://www.RogerHimesLifeCoach-GospelTransformation.com: 5 minute daily gospel coaching sessions. Follow frequent tweets on Twitter.com -- just slash in /TheGospelCoach