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The Red Flags - Self-Esteem pt. 1

Now may the God of peace [the source of serenity and spiritual well-being] who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood that sealed and ratified the eternal covenant, equip you with every good thing to carry out His will and strengthen you [making you complete and perfect as you ought to be], accomplishing in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Hebrews 13:20-21 (AMP)

*Complete = to mature, perfect, lacking nothing.

As we continue with Noluthando’s Navigating Romance Series, we will raise red flags to alert you to areas within yourself that need attention.  The mirror they offer is an opportunity for self-reflection. 

First up is Self-Esteem. In Two Parts.

Part One

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As a man thinks in his heart, so is he. Proverbs 23:7.

Let’s unpack this Biblical Truth.

Man is spirit, soul and body. In his book ‘The Spiritual Man,’ Watchman Nee says our spirit is God-conscious, our soul self-conscious and our body, world-conscious.

These triune aspects of ourselves were divinely designed to co-operate harmoniously.

When Scripture refers to ‘heart,’ it is not referencing the physiological organ. It is speaking of the inner man within our physical framework.  

To gain insight into the complex subject of spirit vs soul, we can draw on Biblical differentiation. In The Word it is written that our Creator is Spirit. Since we are created ‘in His likeness and image,’ we can conclude that we are too. The word ‘image’ in Hebrew is ‘tselem’ – it refers to an outline, a shadow, or a representation of the original.

We are God’s ambassadors, called to represent the Kingdom of Heaven on Planet Earth. We are born into high expectation and shoulder great responsibility.

The ‘I AM” in all of us is an essential identity question we each must answer.  As the Scripture quoted above tells us, God wants to restore us to who we ought to be, to mature us. In this way we will not only align with his intended purpose, but will develop the emotional maturity required to navigate freedom in a life-enhancing way.

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We carry within us the moral and spiritual nature of God. His inherent goodness and all the attributes described in Galatians 5:22 and Isaiah 11.2 are ours to own and celebrate. They are our Spiritual Inheritance.

If He is an expression of love, joy, peace, goodness, patience, compassion, gentleness and kindness. So are we. If He has strength, courage, insight, wisdom and self-control, we do too. This is our original nature. 

God’s Spirit speaks through our intuition and conscience. These are aspects of our spirit. Mind, emotions and free-will are facets of our soul, or in the Apostle Paul’s words, ‘our flesh.’

Man is magnificent but fragile. We were formed from dust. In an unprecedented act of Love, God lifted up earth to shape Adam. The word ‘formed’ is ‘yi’ser’ in Hebrew. It describes an artist at work. Just imagine the scene.

As God breathed life into Adam, he became a living soul. Our life is God’s breath. We belong to Him. The order of our days is in His hands.

Our spirit is the essence of who we are, and always will be. This remains true, no matter our transgressions. When God looks into us, He sees perfection; mastery.

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Our disobedience separated us from our divine source. Our Heavenly Father had to turn His face when we sinned.

Lost and disorientated, our hearts looked to our finite mind for equilibrium and perspective; through its limited lens, we lost sight of our eternal purpose. Our journey of healing is the road back to wholeness.

On the dark paths, we must remind ourselves: we are royalty; a royal priesthood answerable to the Prince of Peace.

Despite our soul’s tragic rebellion, our spirit longs to re-unite with God. This is the interminable ache and unquenchable thirst we experience within. A deep sense of rejection and abandonment resounds as our song.

When God’s Spirit is not in charge, then our soul gets to reign supreme. This is never a good idea. Without its intended union with God, it runs riot trying to satisfy its insatiable appetite for self-aggrandizement.  The pushy nature of pride deludes us into believing the “I” of each of us is invincible. 

How foolish we are. Everything about who we are is always God within. It is He who is omnipotent.

We are so fragile, just dust. A soul separated from fellowship with its Creator will never feel complete. Our misdirected longings will cause us to stray off Ancient Paths.

When we miss Gods mark we enter into enemy territory. Before we know it, we are pulling up a chair with a pack of lies.

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So, back to thought life and behavior: As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.

Bottom line: “what do you believe?”

There is an adversary on the loose. Scripture says the enemy prowls around like a hungry lion.  A war is being waged; the battle is between two kingdoms, good and evil, light and dark. The armor of God equips us to fight. The Sword of Truth is always at the ready. To possess its supernatural power we must humble our pride.

With the Truth in hand, we are empowered to dismantle the strongholds established in our minds; cancel deadly agreements; refuse the ongoing invitations to dance with spiritual death. Finally, we have a frame of reference.

The enemy is after our identity. If the prince of the world can convince us that we are worthless, less-than, will amount to nothing, he holds us captive and is able to manipulate our minds. We become puppets on his string.

We must stand firm and say no.

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Listen.

God says:  I created you before the foundation of the earth; I knitted you together in your mother’s womb; you are fearfully and wonderfully made; pre-destined for a fruitful life of purpose. You are chosen; loved; precious; protected; nothing whatsoever will hurt you; I have given you authority over the power of the enemy. Call on Me, I will ride across the skies to help you; My angels will lift you up and place you on the Rock. No weapon will be used against you. I will lead you from the valley of trouble to the gateway of hope. I will rebuild your gates with rubies.

We must get Truth into our inmost parts; open the Word and speak it into our bones, until every atom within every cell comes into agreement with who we really are. Royalty!

The battle continues because God will not give up. He will set His children free. The enemy is defeated, and we fight from victory. But still, we must choose our path. Wisdom stands at every crossroad, waiting on us.

We are the fools; it is our rebellion, our lust, our ignorance, that offers the adversary advantage. If the prince of this world can convince us that the instant gratification he has on offer can quieten our longings within, at least for a while, then he quickly has us worshipping the world. We look for love in all the wrong places.

Craig Hill, author of ‘The Ancient Paths’, warns, “short term fixes are always the seed of long-term destruction.”

To be continued. Read Part Two of Self-Esteem in our next article.

By Noluthando Mthoba

Adult Centre Case Manager

Noluthando Mthoba originally came through our Youth Centre. She was then raised up as a Volunteer and now acts as Adminstrator. She is also a Case Manager for our Adult Female Centre. She models a magnificent mix of authenticity, integrity and super cool style, every day.

This article is second in Thando’s Navigating Romance Series. Stay posted and we will guide you into solutions around typical Relational Red Flags that arise for all of us.

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