Key Scriptures: Acts 8:26-40, Psalm 139:13-14, I Samuel 16:7, I Peter 3:3-4, Genesis 1:27, Proverbs 31:30, I Peter 2:9, James 4:6, II Corinthians 10:17, Philippians 2:3-11, James 4:6, Luke 14:11, Proverbs 22:4, I Peter 5:6, Romans 12:3, Colossians 3:12, Proverbs 11:2, Jeremiah 9:23, Proverbs 18:12, II Corinthians 12:5-12, Matthew 5:3, I John 4:10, Romans 8:35-39, Ephesians 3:19, John 15:9, I John 10:10, Isaiah 54:10, Psalm 139:1-24
Guiding Question: How can Christians have self-esteem and still be humble?
Optional Introductory Activity: Bring in issues of magazines like People, Sports Illustrated, Vogue, and Time. Ask the students to look through them and find people that have positive self-esteem. Have them share the quotes. Descriptions and other clues they used to come to that conclusion. If possible, capture a list from the student clues for positive self-esteem so everyone can see it as you continue the lesson.
Lesson: (Questions for students are in bold italics.) Read Acts 8:26-40. We actually know quite a bit from secular and early church history about the Ethiopian Eunuch. Ethiopia at the time was actually more of what we now call Nubia, a part of Egypt and modern Ethiopia. They had numerous Queens who ruled them during that time period, all using the title of Kandake of Candace. The Ethiopian Eunuch would have had great power in his role a high treasurer of the kingdom. There is evidence many in Ethiopia were practicing Judaism, and he had come to Jerusalem to worship. How much self-esteem do you think he had? What could have been his response to Phillip? Why do you think in spite of his high position and power, he was willing to admit to a “lowly” stranger he didn’t understand what he was reading?
The Ethiopian Eunuch was evidently able to balance his self-esteem from his position with the humility that he wanted to know what God wanted f rom him and do it immediately, if possible. What did he do that let us know he was concerned about obeying God more than anything else?
According to world, self-esteem is how we really feel about ourselves – deep down. So deep we may never really admit to others or even ourselves what those feelings are. Worldly self-esteem is often based on our environment, our experiences, our family background, our appearance, our wealth and a host of other rather obvious and even superficial things.
Godly self-esteem is much deeper because it is connected to our relationship to God. Circumstances, which might cause us to have low worldly self-esteem, won’t damage our godly self-esteem at all.
Read these verses and share what we learn about how to keep our self-esteem rooted in God. Psalm 139:13-14, I Samuel 16:7, I Peter 3:3-4, Genesis 1:27, Proverbs 31:30, I Peter 2:9, II Corinthians 10:17. How would you explain to somehow why they should switch from worldly to godly self-esteem? What would they need to change about how they see themselves? Would someone with godly self-esteem ever have low self-esteem? Why or why not? Would they have self-esteem that is too high? Would they have self-esteem that is too high? Why or why not?
Besides basing self-esteem on things outside of God, world self-esteem on things outside of God, worldly self-esteem has another huge problem. It has to be perfectly balanced or it creates major negative consequences for the person.
If worldly self-esteem is too high, people become boastful, smug, superior, and unaware of their own faults, unlikely to change or improve themselves, impulse control problems, abusive towards others.
If worldly self-esteem is too low, people begin to hate themselves and their bodies, become obsessed with being perfect, become anxious and feel they have nothing to offer it is easy for others to take advantage of them or abuse them.
Godly self-esteem should always be balanced. We can’t feel too highly of ourselves because we realize God is perfected and all-powerful. We can’t feel too badly about ourselves because God sent His only son to die a horrible death on the cross, so we can spend eternity in heaven with Him. Circumstances may temporarily trick us into having worldly self-esteem, but when we realize it few can “auto-correct” back to godly self-esteem.
How can these versed help us “auto-correct” from worldly high self-esteem? Philippians 2:3-11, James 4:6, Luke 14:11, Proverbs 22:4, I Peter 5:6, Romans 12:3, Colossians 3:12, Proverbs 11:2, Jeremiah 9:23, Proverbs 18:12, II Corinthians 12:5-12, Matthew 5:3.
How can these verses help us “auto-correct” from worldly low self-esteem? I John 4:10, Romans 8:35-39, Ephesians 3:19, John 15:9, I John 3:1, Psalms 103:8-11, Jeremiah 29:11, Zephaniah 3:17, John 10:10, Isaiah 54:10, Psalms 139:1-24.
So what are some signs you are developing godly self-esteem?
- You see yourself as God sees you – someone created to worship and obey Him, with gifts He gave you to serve others and share your faith, someone who sins but repents and does not live a life enmeshed in sin.
- You aren’t threatened when someone disagrees with you. You are comfortable though sharing what God expects of us from scriptures.
- You don’t live in fear. You may become afraid in the moment but them you remember God’s promises and can use those and prayer to begin to calm yourself.
- You take good care of your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.
- You accept challenges from God to serve others ad share your faith.
- When other criticizes you, you don’t let it define and destroy you.
- You treat others with love, gentleness, patience peace, kindness and respect.
- You regularly practice self-control and obedience to God’s commands.
- You put God first in your life.
- You are content, with joy and hope for the future.
Curious what happened to the Ethiopian Eunuch (with his godly self-esteem) after his conversion? The Bible doesn’t mention him again but a Christian writer who lived from 125-202 AD wrote that because of the Ethiopian Eunuch, the queen and many people in Ethiopia became Christians, He also supposedly preached in what is now Yemen and Ceylon. He was able to do what God wanted and make a difference in his world, because his self-esteem was based in God and not in what the world valued.
Skill Activity: (Note: You may be temped to skip this activity, especially if your students appear to have healthy self-esteem. Don’t. This activity may help in this area. Remind students the “quality” of the art are not as important as the accuracy of it.) Review the details of the lesson. Provide as many art materials as your program can afford. Ask students to create a self-portrait using words and images encourage them to create the portrait they believe God would make of them. Allow students who are willing to share their portraits. If the two are different, help students brainstorm ways to begin seeing themselves as God sees them.
Application Challenge: Read the story of the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8:26-40 again. Spend time praying and asking God to help you develop more godly self-esteem. Find verses in the Bible that will encourage you to have godly self-esteem. Write them down and tape them to the mirror you use most often. Read the verses every time you use that mirror.