God delights to bless you — but maybe not in the way you think.

This explains why many people are disappointed or frustrated with God. They believe the typical Christian answer to low self-esteem:

“You are special to God so love yourself. He created your personality and gave you gifts so you can achieve great things.”

It sounds good and is largely true, but it’s off. It’s a self-help project of trying to raise our own self-esteem (or get God to do it for us). But our Teacher warned us all, serious students and curious crowds alike:

“Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am… Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self.” (Mark 8:34, MSG).

The Bible shows us a counter-cultural approach to self-esteem: don’t focus on self-improvement, focus on God-worship.

Effective self-love is a natural byproduct of loving God.

But when we go directly after self-esteem, even using Bible verses to “claim it” then it eludes us. We’re invalidating the promise because we’re not in the demeanor of discipleship to Jesus that opens up the resources of heaven to us.

The wonderful blessings that the Bible offers us are always associated with living in submission to God’s kingdom rule. We can’t make them come true for ourselves. They’re part of being in Jesus’ easy yoke, following his leadership and joining in his work and his way of doing things.

Then in time we discover that being in the Lord’s yoke as his apprentice is the best and most blessed life possible!

It is from inside the yoke that we’re finally able to rest in God’s grace which has been there for us all along. It’s in this posture of submission to God that the Psalmist marvels,

“The glorious Lord Almighty is mindful of me! He cares for me! He crowns me with his glory! Everywhere I go he is there thinking of me with concern and saying that I am precious to him.” (Paraphrase from Psalms 8:4-5 and 139: 6-7, 17)

Oh the joys of following Jesus’ lead and discovering that we’re in our Father’s world!

This devotional is an excerpt from Your Best Life In Jesus’ Easy Yoke by Bill Gaultiere. It’s in the chapter Thinking God’s Thoughts About You.

This book is designed for small group interaction and prayer or private devotions. You’ll find this and additional Soul Shepherding resources in our online store.


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