Thinking a little more on what Paul meant when he said “none should think more highly of themselves than they ought to” [Romans 12:3 Paraphrased] picks out a subtle mention of the fact that we need to think highly of ourselves but not more than what we actually believe of ourselves. Theoretically, it is possible to think of yourself more than you actually believe but Paul warns that this approach is a “drunken” approach i.e. a false perception or reality.
We see through his writings that what we think of ourselves is of extreme importance; as a matter of fact, the entire message of the Bible is geared towards informing our perception of self. We are never going to rise beyond our self-perceptions. The prodigal son fed on pig’s food because he had a pig-image of self. One of the reasons God made man in His image and walked with him in the garden was to enable him see ‘himself’ and be comfortable with what he saw.
Eve was simply an extension of Adam in that Adam had all he needed (including companionship), he just needed to see it. Adam fell because he sought another image in the forbidden fruit; thinking that there was a more knowledgeable version of himself – again, a drunken/false perception of reality. Whenever there is a false perception of reality, there is an inevitable fall. Let’s think about that a little…
Very often our perceptions (esteem) of self are not ‘pickable’ from our minds but are more easily identified by the choices we make. When a man settles for a woman [short of his ideal and vice versa] in a relationship, that settlement is a clear indicator of his perception of self. He thinks less of himself than he actually is. When a worker compromises his values to stay in a job, that decision qualifies the esteem he placed on his values and therefore has an inadequate esteem of self. We are admonished by Paul to think highly of ourselves but that we temper this high-thinking or high-esteem of self by the level of our belief (faith).
Here’s the real question and indeed the root issue with regards to esteeming self. What do you actually believe of yourself? What are those truths or lies that you have rooted in your evaluation of your make-up? The truth is, you will never be able to esteem yourself soberly (i.e. not falsely) beyond your self-belief which invariably impacts the quality of your existence.
Now, this is not a lesson on pride or arrogance but a lesson to discover what you actually believe of yourself? Who are you? What qualities do you have? If you were in a shopping center and on display for sale, what price point would you attach to your mannequin and what would be your unique selling point? Now, think about that a little and ask yourself the next question…”is that believable?” How can I make it believable if it currently isn’t?