When we think about ourselves, we tend to see ourselves in a certain light. For example, we may see ourselves as attractive, smart, witty, loving, caring, the list goes on. We also tend to view ourselves in a certain way as compared to others. We may see ourselves as better or worse than someone else, as well as having or lacking certain skills that others either do or do not have. All of these things make up our self-image that determines our self-worth. Our self-worth will determine how we feel about ourselves and the world around us. Our self-image will also help determine what kind of life we will live. Our self-image is often subjective, however, because we look at ourselves and others through our own lenses that are often skewed by our thoughts and experiences that we have in life. If we view ourselves in a more negative light, then we may be more inclined to become withdrawn, depressed, and have an overall negative view of the world. Conversely, if we have a more positive view of self, then we are more likely to have a positive view of the world and interact with others more positively
A problem that can arise from our own self-image is when we view ourselves in an overly positive or negative way. This happens when we either discount, or ignore, our true worthiness and God-given abilities, or we esteem ourselves and our abilities too highly, without giving God the proper credit. It is often the case that most people have a skewed view of themselves, whether it be too negative or too positive. The apostle Paul, himself, cautions us not to think too highly of ourselves. “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” (Romans 12:3).
What about how others view us? Can we get a more accurate view of ourselves from others? We should always strive to set forth good examples before others. “In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,” (Titus 2:7). If we are obedient to God’s Word, and following in His Footsteps, then what others think of us does not matter. It is often the case that those who are the most faithful will get the most criticism from others who are not faithful to God. Jesus Christ, who was the only sinless Person who will ever walk the Earth, was accused falsely by His enemies (John 8:41, 48; Matt 12:24).
Likewise, a person who works to make others think she is faithful to God when she really is not is a hypocrite. There are some people, especially celebrities, who are elevated far beyond what they should be by society. Sometimes, even certain members of the church are elevated by other members due to their pious and faithful appearance, when in actuality, they hide a multitude of sins.
For example, there were a group of Jews in the New Testament known as the Pharisees. The Pharisees not only considered themselves as holier than those about them, but others also viewed them in the same way. The Pharisees would make their acts of worship public so that they would be noticed and viewed favorably by others. They would stand in the streets when they prayed, and make their faces disfigured when they fasted (Matthew 6:1-18).
Since how we see ourselves and how we are seen in the eyes of others can be deceiving, we should put our focus on how we are viewed in God’s Eyes. God sees us as we truly are, because He made us. We cannot hide our true selves from Him, no matter how much money we have, what possessions we have, how we are dressed, or how faithful we pretend to be. If we are not “the real deal” in our spiritual lives, God knows it! We can be pleasing in God’s Eyes by studying our Bibles every day, and doing all that God wants us to do. If we are pretentious in any way, God sees this, and it is an abomination to Him. “And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.” (Luke 16:15). God saw through people like King Saul, who was admired by many, but inwardly he was not as he should have been. “But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” (I Samuel 16:7).
If we compare ourselves with how God sees us, then we will have a truly honest view of who we are, and who we should strive to be. The world sees us by what is on the outside and values that the most. God sees us from what is on the inside and values that the most. We should return the favor and value what God values the most, also! “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26).
“Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is Christ's, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ's, even so are we Christ's.” (II Corinthians 10:7).