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Overcoming Low Self-Esteem

Jeremiah 1:4-10 Today, I d like to share from Jeremiah 1:4-10. This message will build up your selfesteem. The Bible has a great message for self-esteem, but it s a little different than what you find elsewhere. Everywhere else, the message is that you should love yourself. God says that you should love yourself because He loves you. Let s read together. 4 The word of the LORD came to me, saying, 5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. 6 Alas, Sovereign LORD, I said, I do not know how to speak; I am too young. 7 But the LORD said to me, Do not say, I am too young. You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. 8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you, declares the LORD. 9 Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, I have put my words in your mouth. 10 See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant. Jeremiah came from a family of priests. God called him to become a prophet at a very young age, and he served God as a prophet for more than 40 years. He spoke God s words during the reigns of three kings and witnessed the nation s destruction by the Babylonians. He is called the Weeping Prophet because he also wrote the book of Lamentations after Jerusalem was destroyed, including the Temple, and its people carried off into captivity. He was also a suffering prophet who was persecuted by kings and rejected by his people because of his forceful condemnation of idolatry and social injustice. Eventually, according to Jewish and Christian tradition, Jeremiah was killed in Egypt by his countrymen who had fled there. v. 4-5 4 The word of the LORD came to me, saying, 5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.

To be known.Here, God says that He knows Jeremiah, and has known him since before his birth. This is an amazing thing. The desire to be truly known and understood is an incredibly powerful human motivation. Ancient and modern people have done famous and infamous things mainly because they wanted to be remembered by those who came after. The Pharaohs built giant pyramids as their tombs so that people four thousand years later would know that a great king was buried there. In 400 B.C., a Greek man burned the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, because he wanted to be remembered forever. Everyone has this basic desire to be acknowledged, not just as an entity, but as a person with unique thoughts, dreams, loves, hates, and motivations. When we are born, we cry out, Aaaahh!!! Here I am! Paul writes in 1 Corinthians, Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. To be accepted.The second thing we see here is that God accepts Jeremiah. He chose Jeremiah from before he was born. Jeremiah had someone who not only acknowledged him, but accepted him not despite his uniqueness but exactly because of his uniqueness. God shaped Jeremiah for a particular purpose. Our society today is full of people who are unsure of their value. Many of us are deeply insecure. If we fell off of the face of the earth, would anyone miss us? Do we belong? We desire people to affirm our value. So we make sure we have the right body shape or wear the right clothes. Commercials tell you that when you have this product, you re going to have fun, be beautiful or suave. And of course, the unspoken message is, Oh, and by the way, don t you see your own inadequacy? Lady Gaga actually has a pretty good message to counter this. In an interview, Lady Gaga said this about her teenage years in highschool: I used to get made fun of for being either too provocative or too eccentric, so I started to tone it down. I didn't fit in, and I felt like a freak. Now, her message is that however you are is all right. Her new album is Born This Way where she sings, God doesn t make mistakes. She s so close to the truth with this message. God loves us and He has made us each unique for a good purpose. But, we re also deeply flawed people, not because of God but because of our sinful nature. But God is passionate about restoring His relationship with us. He did and is doing everything possible to pull us back into a relationship with Him. So, on the one hand, God created us and knows us. He has wonderful plans for us, including Lady Gaga and all the rest of us little monsters. But, on the other hand, the reality is that we need to choose to return to the relationship that He made possible again.

St. Augustine, in his Confessions, wrote: You awoke us to delight in Your praise; for You made us for Yourself, and our heart is restless, until it rests in You. Don t seek to be known and accepted by others, but by God only. When you have a right relationship with God, then you re going to have a right relationship with people. v.5 5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. God has a purpose for our lives. God told Jeremiah, I set you apart and I appointed you. God has a unique purpose for each of our lives. Everything that we are, all our experiences, successes and failures, God can use for His purpose. Before he was an apostle for Jesus, Paul hunted Christians down so that he could have them put to death. But God had a plan for him. Paul writes in Galatians, But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles Each of us are set apart by God for some purpose. He not only wants us to return to Him so that we have that relationship, but also so that we can assume again the purpose for which we were made. Each tool in the toolbox has a specific function. You don t use a flathead screwdriver to drive a nail. You don t use a 10mm ratchet head to take out a 12mm bolt. Each utensil in the kitchen has a specific function. God shaped each of us uniquely for a reason. v. 6 Ah, Sovereign Lord, I said, I do not know how to speak; I am only a child. Jeremiah was surprised at the plans God had for him. His dream was not to be a prophet. But God told him that he was made for this specific purpose. We each are assigned unique work to do on God s behalf. Jeremiah was assigned to be a prophet, Paul an apostle, but God also has specific plans for each of you. As you grow in your relationship with Him, He s going to challenge you and put things in your heart. Don t ignore that! Respond to it! I do not know how to speak; I am only a child. Jeremiah responded like many godly men and women in the Bible. He deeply felt his own inadequacy. It is good, when we are given an important task, to be afraid of not doing our best or of causing harm because of our weakness. That s not an entirely bad feeling if it makes us rely on God and mistrust our own abilities. But, it s no excuse to beg off doing what God has called us to do. 1 Peter 4:10-11 says, Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides

v. 7-8 7 But the LORD said to me, Do not say, I am too young. You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. 8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you, declares the LORD. God reassured Jeremiah by telling him that His presence would be with him at all times. We have the same promise. Our God is like a king that accompanies his soldiers to the frontlines of the battle. He told Paul in Corinth, Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city. If we are faithful to God, we can be sure that He will be faithful to us. He will be with us always with all authority. v. 9-10 9 Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, I have put my words in your mouth. 10 See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant. When God calls us to a task, He gives us the grace required to complete it. As you serve God, learn to depend on Him as you go. God uses on-the-job training. He teaches us and strengthens us after we have made the decision to obey Him. His goal is not that we be self-sufficient and not depend on Him, but that we become more and more dependent on Him. God has plans for us, but He also works in us to desire the things He desires. As we know Him more, He gives us His burden for the world. In Matthew 7, Jesus famously says, Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. This applies to so many things, but it also applies to what we want God to help us do for Him. It s an amazing thing to think of, but what if you asked God for the city of Seattle? If you asked Him for your school or your workplace? Doesn t Jesus say that if we ask according to His will, we will receive? Today, let s learn from Jeremiah. God sees each of as extremely special. He created you for a good purpose, to do good work. He loves you.