O LORD, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me! Many are saying of me, “God will not deliver him.” But you are a shield around me, O LORD; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head. To the LORD I cry aloud, and he answers me from his holy hill.
I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me. I will not fear the tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side. Arise, O LORD! Deliver me, O my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked. From the LORD comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people.
How often it feels like the world is mobilized against us. People cut us off on the freeway, steal our parking place at work, take credit for our efforts, and in general build themselves up by putting us down, trying to destroy our self-esteem in the process.
There are four sources from which we gain self-esteem. Three are doomed to failure because they depend on the fickle nature of this world, but one works wonders.
The first is appearance. Some rely on that alone, feeling good about themselves because they look good to others. But all too soon they grow old, and their looks fade. Even spending thousands of dollars on plastic surgery can’t help and they often wind up looking like pitiful caricatures of their former selves.
Others gain their self-esteem from performance. But one day they find they can’t perform anymore. Age or poor health or even the obsolescence of their skill renders them incapable. These are the ones who have problems with retirement. No longer able to perform they cease to feel useful. Some go back to work, some become a burden to their families, and some simply die. Having worked all their lives to enjoy their retirement, they wind up feeling miserable and useless.
Still others rely on progressively greater achievements to bolster their self-esteem. But again age and infirmity undercut their ability with the same result as their performance oriented counterparts above.
It’s the fourth source of self-esteem that David speaks about in Psalm 3; the only one that can’t fail. No matter what hand the world deals us, we have a Creator Who loves us unconditionally. We’re the highest and best example of His Creative Power; His work of art (Eph 2:10). He is the reason we can hold our heads up high no matter what. He lifts us up when others put us down. He provides for us. He sustains us. He gave His life for us. And one day soon He will take vengeance on our enemies. “I will make them come and fall down at your feet, and acknowledge that I have loved you,” He promises (Rev 3:9). He’ll wipe every tear from our eyes, and for us, there will be no more death or crying or mourning or pain. And then He will take us to dwell with Him forever in a place of unimaginable bliss, while those who rejected Him and oppressed us spend eternity in torment and pain.
When we lie down our sleep is sweet for the Lord is our confidence. He’s a shield about us, our glory, the lifter of our head. He’s the source of our self-esteem.
Prayer: Lord let me find my self-esteem in you. Let me not be distracted by the things of this world or seek to define who I am according to it’s standard, but make me more certain of who I am in you. Amen