Rev. Thomas Tyree, Jr., Pastor, Grace Bible Church of Costa Mesa, California
Copyright © 1995-2014 Rev. Thomas Tyree, Jr., All Rights Reserved
Biblical self-respect is an important component of the Christian way of life. When you, as a believer, enter the first stage of spiritual maturity, you become occupied with the person of Jesus Christ and take on, in an ever-increasing way, the following characteristics of a bona-fide self-esteem, which is called Biblical self-respect.
Contentment of the Soul
Contentment of the soul is seen in the "Autarkes Principle" of 2 Corinthians 12:10. This contentment is a wonderful capacity for happiness and a deep-seated tranquility in the soul based on Bible doctrine in the soul and not based on the behavior of those around you.
That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10)
Stability of Thought
The maturing believer gains a stable thinking process based on Gods Word resident in the soul. The key New Testament word here is sterizo from 2 Peter 1:12 which means to steadfastly set or to turn resolutely in a certain direction.
So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. (2 Peter 1:12)
Composure Evidenced by Self-Assurance
Another aspect of Biblical self-respect is composure in the spiritual life based on the full assurance of Bible doctrine in your soul. The key Greek word for full self-assurance is found in Hebrews 6:11 which is plerophoria.
We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. (Hebrews 6:11)
Accumulated metabolized and applied Bible doctrine in the soul produces grace orientation to Gods Word. This grace orientation produces a genuine humility in the believer. The New Testament noun for humility is tapeinophrosune from 1 Peter 5:5 and is also key word for grace orientation.
Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." (1 Peter 5:5)
Doctrinal Orientation to Reality in Life
As you gain spiritual momentum in your advance to maturity through the consistent intake and use of Bible doctrine, you become oriented to life based on that metabolized and applied doctrine in your soul. This doctrinal orientation takes on the same thinking patterns that our Lord Jesus Christ used in His incarnation here on earth. The key Greek word here is gnous from 1 Corinthians 2:16 which means thinking or thoughts.
For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16)
Good Decisions from the Enabling Power of the Holy Spirit
Consistent momentum in the believers spiritual life produces good decisions based on metabolized Bible doctrine rather than human viewpoint. This consistent momentum utilizes the enabling power of the Holy Spirit from residence in the Fellowship Sphere for Time. Residence in Gods Fellowship Sphere for Time can only be achieved from the Filling of the Holy Spirit immediately following confession of sin. The result of repeated good decisions based on the Word of God results in true freedom. This principle is seen in Galatians 5:1 based on the Greek noun eleutheria which means freedom.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1)
Personal Control of Your Life from the Filling of the Holy Spirit
Spiritual advance produces personal control of your life. The key Greek word is egkrateia from Galatians 5:23 and means inner power or self-control. This control is obtained via the enabling power of the Holy Spirit from metabolized Bible doctrine in the believers soul.
gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:23)
A Personal Sense of Destiny
Understanding your true destiny comes from your personal occupation with our Lord Jesus Christ resulting from spiritual advance. The key Greek words here from the New Testament are philos and agape. Philos relates to the doctrine of personal love for God whereas agape relates to the unconditional love the believer gains toward all of mankind. Personal love for God the Father based on learning and applying His Word becomes correct motivation for dealing with people and situations in life from resident Bible doctrine.
In viewing life from Gods viewpoint based on Bible truth, the believer develops a stable spiritual self-confidence. The key New Testament word bebaioo for self-confidence comes from Colossians 2:7 and is translated "strengthened." Taking on the viewpoint of God in your life results in a healthy understanding of yourself where you are clearly aware of your abilities and limitations.
rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. (Colossians 2:7)
A Doctrinal Relationship with Self
As you spiritually mature as a believer, you begin to have a Biblical self-respect which means you are in command of yourself. The New Testament noun used in Galatians 5:23 is egkrateia and means inner power. This refers to the fruit of the Spirit and self-control.
gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:23)
Becoming Spiritually Self-sustained
Biblical self-respect is the result of occupation with the person of Christ and unconditional love of the brethren. This results in the believer becoming spiritually self-sustained as indicated in Philippians 4:11-13.
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:11-13)
Understanding the Purpose of Suffering
You, as a maturing believer, will develop a good understanding of personal responsibility for your actions. You will also understand why God brings divine discipline to your life. Divine discipline (Punitive Preventive Suffering) has been designed by God to punish the guilty and warn the innocent. Punitive Preventive Suffering usually involves the adolescent believer. This is based on the principle of freedom and responsibility found in Galatians 6:7. The principle of divine discipline is found in 1 Corinthians 11:32.
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. (Galatians 6:7)
When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world. (1 Corinthians 11:32)
Biblical self-respect is the dividing line between the general categories of punitive preventative suffering and providential preventive suffering. This principle is seen in Hebrews 10:25-31.
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching. If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," and again, "The Lord will judge his people." It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:25-31)
Providential preventive suffering usually involves maturing believers and is designed to bless them under adversity as they continue to rely on the power of the Holy Spirit. Providential preventive suffering motivates the believer to keep growing in Bible doctrine. This principle is illustrated in 2 Corinthians 12:7-8 where a demon was allowed to test Paul with mental and physical suffering to keep Paul humble. Grace and metabolized doctrine are sufficient problem solving devices to handle problems of life and to strengthen the believers unconditional love toward testing and mankind as indicated in 2 Corinthians 12:9.
To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. (2 Corinthians 12:7-8)
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Providential Preventive Suffering, momentum testing, and the unique testing of maximum spiritual suffering called Evidence Testing are taught in 2 Corinthians 12:1-10. You must remember that all thing work together for good for believers who consistently take in and use Bible doctrine. Testing keeps the believer from becoming arrogant about spiritual advance as indicated in Romans 8:28.
I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know--God knows. And I know that this man--whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows--was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell. I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say. To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:1-10)
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)