“Satan wants to put fear in you so that you will not fulfil your destiny, purpose and calling," says seasoned relationship counsellor, Gareth Thomas, who shares God's truth in overcoming low self-esteem. Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash.

Some of you may have been told that you are unworthy of love and belonging.

Some of you have had someone important to you do or say something that damaged your self-worth.

In his recent sermon, Know Your Worth, seasoned relationship counsellor and lay preacher Gareth Thomas gave handles on how God’s truth can help you overcome this lie. Know Your Worth was part of a sermon series, The Pathway to Mental Wellness, at Community Praise Baptist Church

The following is an adaptation of his sermon.

Worth has different meaning for different people.

Is your value in what you do, or who you are?

Self-esteem is your overall sense of value based on external factors. They include your achievements, career, qualifications, beliefs, morals, relationships and physical appearance. It is also affected by how you compare yourself with others, and the comments – including on social media – others make. 

We are all looking for someone or something that gives us a sense of stability – marriage, a parent, education. 

Given the constantly changing and frequently vague nature of standards that we face, our self-esteem is constantly under pressure. This can lead to feelings of insecurity, insignificance and shame.

Knowing your self-worth means that you know that you are worthy of love and belonging.

Does your need for self-esteem mould, or even crush, your self-worth? 

It comes down to one question: Is your value in what you do, or who you are?

1. The value of your life is what you place on it

When our daughter was eight, a missionary friend in Cambodia asked her to help sell cross-stitch embroidery made by local widows.

Each person showed their love by giving differently … They each placed different values on essentially similar things.

She gave potential buyers at church the guide price for each piece and said: “This is for the poor widows and orphans in Cambodia. You can give whatever you think it is worth.”

Each person showed their love and concern by giving differently.

In most cases, it was more than the guide price. They each placed different values on essentially similar things.

Our daughter collected 10 times more than the original combined suggested value. The money collected funded a start-up micro-business in organic sugar for the church members in a village.

Similarly, the value of your life is exactly what you decide to place on it. It is your decision.

2. Let your past refine you

Young children are frequently so inquisitive, they seem fearless.

However, their authority figures may subconsciously transfer their fears into the child’s soul and spirit. The child learns to minimise taking risks.

God has already decided you are worthy of love. 

If you take a risk and you experience trauma, it can make trusting anyone, including God and yourself, difficult.

Remember – do not make the mistake of thinking that someone else’s love is what makes you worthy of love. Their love may reaffirm it, but it is not a fundamental part of who decides that you are worthy of love; God has already decided you are worthy of love. (Matthew 10:29-31)

To move on from an experience where you felt your sense of worth was broken:

a. Be honest about all your experiences.

Don’t play the victim or focus on justifying your mistakes. Accept responsibility for your mistakes. But don’t own someone else’s.

b. Move on. Do not dwell in the past.

The mistakes that you believe that you have made, or have been told that you have made, can haunt you. 

Sometimes we need to take a step back to realign our thinking to the correct path. Sometimes we may stumble. It may help to see how far we have come from where we started, rather than how far we still have to go.

c. Do not let your past define you. Let it refine you.

Learn from your mistakes. They are not failures; they are opportunities to learn.

d. Take time aside to be still and know who God is, in you and for you.

Know that He loves you and you belong to Him. (Romans 14:7-9) You can trust that He always wants the best for you, even if you may not like it. You are always safe with God. He has your back. (1 Peter 5:7)

We need to set healthy sensible boundaries on how people can affect both our self-esteem and our self-worth.

3. Speak the truth of who God says you are

We need to remember: Satan is fearful that you know who you are in Christ. If you know that self-worth, it will be very hard for him to hurt you.

If you walk in faith with the power and authority that you have … you can change things.

Satan wants to put fear in you so that you will not fulfil your destiny, purpose and calling. Satan is terrified that you will believe that every word in Scripture is true and you will walk in this knowledge:

1 John 4:18 states that God’s perfect love is designed to overcome fear. For example, the woman in the Bible caught in adultery could have lost her life. But Jesus got into the situation. His perfect love drove the fear out of her (John 8:1-11).

In 2 Timothy 1:7, the Apostle Paul reminded Timothy who he was. He said: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

a. Satan knows you have been forgiven of your sins.

Why do some of you walk around as if you do not believe that you deserve it? If God has forgiven you, can you forgive yourself? (Psalm 32:5)

Because if you do not, you are putting yourself above God.

b. There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Are you allowing any feelings or words of condemnation into your life? (Romans 8:1)

c. You are loved by your Heavenly Father as His son or daughter.

So why do some of you walk around with an orphan heart – where you feel you lack a place in your parent’s heart where you feel safe, secure, significant, loved, valued and affirmed? You long to feel connected. Here’s what the Bible says about you as God’s child.

d. You have been given innate gifts and talents.

Why do some of you believe that you are not talented enough for God’s purposes? If God calls you to do something for Him, he will take your innate gifts and talents and bring success in Kingdom terms. 

e. The Holy Spirit is in you and you have the power and authority over demonic forces.

Do you believe this, and God’s Word, and put fear into demons? (Mark 5:1-20)

When you believe and walk in His truth, and your self-worth based on His love for you, demons shudder. They may come occasionally, but they are nervous of you because you know who you are.

4. Walk in fruitfulness purposed for you

God wants you to walk in freedom and fruitfulness that He has purposed for you. Jesus spoke about this to His disciples, and speaks to you.

He said: “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit – fruit that will last – and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.” (John 15:16) 

Trials will still be there, but you have God on your side.

Jesus chose us to go and bear fruit. 

To be fruitful in Kingdom terms, your prayers must be in alignment with His will. Then God will give you what you ask, when you ask it in Jesus’ name.

Paul shows us how to achieve our eternal goals: “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14)

Trials will still be there, but you have God on your side. And as a community of believers, we can be on each other’s sides as well.

5. Honour God and others, not your credentials 

If you need to declare your credentials to gain respect, privilege or advantage, maybe you are unsure of your innate value.

The talent of the person next to you is their talent, given for God’s purposes. Being jealous affects your ability to give your emotional, mental and spiritual energy in service of the King.

It affects your natural gifting, your ability to do everything God wants you to. 

Being jealous affects your ability to give your emotional, mental and spiritual energy in service of the King.

On September 8, 2022, Queen Elizabeth II passed into glory. Around 250,000 people queued to pay their last respects to her. International footballer and millionaire David Beckham queued from 2.15am for over 13 hours to show his respects to Queen Elizabeth. He declined an MP’s offer to bypass the queue. Beckham wanted to do it like everyone else.

He disguised himself with a mask, until people recognised him after he had spent 10 hours in the queue. He did not just show respect to the late Queen, he showed respect to the thousands of other people who also queued. He did not value himself above anyone else. That is what you and I are called to do. 

Paul, in Philippians 3, laid out his credentials. In verse 8, he said: “I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.”

However, like us, he needed to learn and acquire what was necessary to be able to carry out God’s purposes. His disciplined learning helped him know and share every aspect of God’s Word. He developed tent-making to provide for himself so that he was not a burden to others.

His priority was to fully know and be like Jesus. God calls us to prioritise and do the same.

6. Talents and skills are God’s gift to the world through you

You are so valuable to God that nothing can separate you from His love, said Paul in Romans 8:38-39: “God never loses sight of the value that He placed inside you. You are marked with the Holy Spirit.”

Your talents and skills are God’s gifts to the world through you. They are not your core value.

1 John 4:16 tells us that “God is love”.

Genesis 1:27 tells us that we are made in God’s image. We are made in love. God did not make you in the image of a doctor, lawyer, accountant, engineer, pastor or any other profession.

These talents and skills are God’s gifts to the world through you. They are not your core value, who you are inside, although you may be great at what you do.

God does not set performance standards for you. He simply asks you to carry out whatever you do in love, from a position of being loved. Do not dismiss the ordinary inside you. You may think you are not capable. That’s when Paul said: “In my weakness, I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10) God can work though weakness and make amazing things happen.

Doing random acts of kindness – it may be feeding someone on the streets, making a phone call, or saying something nice – can change someone’s life at a time they desperately need a touch. You can be a messenger from God who brings love.

7. You are empowered to release God’s love and power

You are connected with the Source of eternal life and infinite love and power. 

At the core of your being, you are made to love and to know that you belong within God’s family.

If you continually go to God, pray, walk in faith, act in love, you will never dry up.

You are called to release God’s love and power into the atmosphere around you.

You are empowered to bring life to people who are struggling to live. You have gifts and talents that can change lives. 

At the core of your being, you are made to love and to know that you belong within God’s family. God wants you to accept this and let everything else flow out of that knowledge and relationship.

As you do so, you will know that you are part of something greater than yourself and that you are truly alive.

Check back soon for Part 2 of this report on finding value based not on credentials, as inspired by three characters from the Bible. 


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Questions for life groups

1) In what way can focusing on your self-esteem affect your self-worth?
2) What are the key methods that help overcome trauma as a result of broken relationships to rebuild our self-worth?
3) In what way can you strengthen your self-worth?


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About the author

Gareth Thomas

Gareth does consulting, coaching and counselling for individuals and corporations to build people, to show solutions, to help them become the best version of themselves that they can be. He also teaches on relationship matters. Gareth and his wife Teresa are active in the ministry of inner healing.