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Fully Known and Fully Loved 1: Sure Foundations For Self Worth
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Lesson 3

Fully Known and Fully Loved 1: Sure Foundations For Self Worth

One of the most painful problems that the human heart can experience is low self esteeem. We are painfully aware of our imperfections, and this awareness constantly undermines our sense of self worth. In response to these feelings, some try harder to achieve perfection while others give up and rebel against any standards. But whether we are a conformist or a nonconformist, we all fear the same thing: that if people see who we really are, they will reject us. To aviod this pain, the conformist tries very hard to hide his weanesses from other people. The nonconformist, on the other hand, seeks approval in the nonconforming crowd, still hiding his deep sense of inadequacy. Both responses to feelings of low self worth build barriers that keep people from the unconditionally loveing relationships they need in order to thrive.

The truth is, we are all imperfect people, wounded and scarred by our own mistakes and the mistakes of others. Perfection is an illusion that will never overcome feelings of personal dissatisfaction. Neither will rebellion against standards. Self worth must be established in spite of our imperfection and in the midst of an imperfect world.

The good news is that God provides this firm foundation for loving ourselves in the context of His unconditional love. As we grow to understand the value He places on our individual lives and the forgiveness He offers when we come to Him with our failures, we can learn to extend that forgiveness and love to ourselves and others. Self worth established in this way will meet the heart's deep need to love and be loved, despite our impefections.

As wounded people, we all need the healing that comes from the love of God so beautifully described in the Psalms. To grasp His love, acceptance, and forgiveness is to find freedom from the painful feelings of inadequacy and isolation related to low self esteem. This is reason to celebrate! AS we continue our study of the Psalms, we will look at the lasting foundations for self worth found in God's gracious acceptance and unconditional love.

1. Where do feelings of low self esteem originate? What does society say makes us valuable as people?

2.a. What are some ways people attempt to overcome a sense of low self esteem?

b. Why do these attempts ultimately fail?

3. What does healthy self esteem produce in a person's life?

4. What do the following verses reveal about God's care for us and our worth to Him?

Psalm 139:13-16

Psalm 139:17-18

Psalm 139:1-4

Psalm 139:9-10

Psalm 121:3, 7-8

5.a. Being loved by God, the creator and ruler of the universe, makes us individuals of great worth. What is the nature of God's love toward us according to these Psalms?

Psalm 36:5, 7-9

Psalm 117:2

Psalm 103:11-14

b. How does 1 Cor. 13:4-8a describe God's perfect love toward us?

6.a. Why did the Psalmist find God's love so amazing in Psalm 8:3-4

b. How does God declare our worth within the context of His marvelous creation according to Psalm 8:5-8?

7. According to Jesus' teaching in Matthew 16:26, what value does God place on a human soul?

8. The greatest testimony of our worth to God is found in the sacrificial giving of His Son for our redemption. Of what do the following verses remind us?

John 3:16

Romans 5:8

Reference: Redemption, bottom

9. How do the following verses describe the transformation which begins when we choose to receive God's gift of redemption through Christ?

John 1:12

John 3:6-8 (Titus 3:5)

Ezekiel 36:26:27

2 Cor. 5:17

10.a. What do the Scriptures promise about the Spirit of God and our weaknesses?

Romans 8:26a

Ephesians 3:16, 20

b. When we seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit, how do the results affect our self image?

Galatians 5:22-23

Reference: Holy Spirit, bottom

11. When we suffer feelings of inadequacy or failure, what can be our confidence?

Psalm 73:26

2 Cor. 3:5

2 Cor. 12:9

Romans 8:28

12.a. In order to experience the self worth that comes from God's love, our relationship with God must have first place in our lives. What attitudes and choices allow us to experience God's love and comprehend our worth to Him?

Psalm 63:8

Psalm 105:4

Psalm 13:5-6

b. Mistaken trusts can keep us from walking closely with God and experiencing His love. Where must we avoid putting trust?

Psalm 49:13

Psalm 49:6

Psalm 118:8-9

13.a. We can lose sight of God's love when we doubt His plans for our lives. In spite of his circumstances, what attitudes about God's plans sustained David's sense of God's faithfulness and love?

Psalm 18:30a, 32

b. What does the Lord promise the one who looks to Him in faith, regardless of circumstances or feelings?

Jeremiah 29:11

Romans 8:32

14. Deep roots of low self esteem may take time to overcome. As we continually place our lives in God's hands, however, He works steadily to bring about the healing we need. How do the following verses describe the healing He brings?

Psalm 40:2-3

Psalm 56:13 (Malachi 4:2)

Summary:

15. What have you learned about the value God places on your life?

16. How would you describe God's love for you?

17. Why is your worth in God's eyes and God's love for you a strong basis for loving yourself in spite of your imperfections?

18. How can an understanding of God's love for you and your worth in His eyes affect your relationship with others?

19. a. Why does receiving Christ play such an important part in the process of developing a healthy sense of self worth?

b. How does the Holy Spirit help build your self worth?

Redemption. "The concept of redemption can only be fully understood by glimpsing the Biblical context of human beings held captive by the power of forces they cannot defeat. Only through intervention can that slavery be broken and freedom accomplished, often by paying a ransom. In the Old Testament, God intervened on behalf of Israel, taking the initiative in the great redemptive event from Egypt, the exodus (see Genesis 15:13-14; Exodus 1:11-14; 12:31-42; Psalm 105:23-39), where the goal was the enjoyment of life in the promised land. References in the Old Testament to redemption from sin point forward to the redemption from sin accomplished in Jesus Christ (Romans 3:24; Colossians 1:13-14). Though in the human arena freedom can be purshased through money, no human being can break the bondage of anothe rhuman being to sin. No person can redeem another human being. We are all slaves to sin: Christ, however, paid the ransom with His blood, His death (Exodus 12:12-13; Leviticus 11, 14; Romans 6:23; Ephesians 1:7; 1 Timothy 2:6). The goal of our redemption is to enjoy freedom from the guilt and power of sin and to live a life of service that reflects our new standing (Romans 3:24; 6:7-22; Galatians 5:1, 13; 1 Peter 2:16). The goal will be fully achieved only at the resurrection on the last day (Romans 8:23; Ephesians 1:14)." The NIV Topical Study Bible, pages 137-138, 1391.

1 Holy Spirit. God has made Himself known in the Bible as a Trinity; three divine persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), all with the same essence of deity. The Holy Spirit, known as the Third Person of the Trinity, indwells every person who personally receives Christ (John 1:12; 14:16-17). The Scriptures reveal the Holy Spirit not as an "it," but rather as a "He," a distinct personality. In John 3, Jesus tells Nicodemus that the Holy Spirit is the memeber of the Trinity who brings about regeneration or spiritual birth in the believer. While the Holy Spirit cannot be seen, we can see the evidence of His work (3:8). The Scriptures further tell us that when we ask God (Like 11:13) to "fill" us with His Spirit (Eph. 5:18b), He responds by supernaturally instructing and empowering us to live the Christian life (Gal. 5:22-23; Eph. 3:16-20; Ez. 36:26-27). Sometimes the Bible refers to this as "Christ in you" (Col. 1:27b).

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