Tag Archive: Self-esteem


Minecraft- The Craft Beyond the Mine

Minecraft is a virtual world video game where players build, explore, mine, craft, gather and grow food, and even battle. Since its release on November 18, 2011, it has truly captured the hearts and minds of millions of people worldwide.

On the surface, Minecraft appears almost like a digital Lego game where players simply and creatively build and explore, and to many, that’s perhaps all it is. But after digging a little deeper, more of the darker elements begin to be unearthed.

Minecraft designers require players to use particular potions, elixirs, and other witchcraft inspired magic in order to craft tools, build portals, etc. There are also options for players to include dark creatures in the game, creatures such as zombies, giant spiders, skeletons, creepers, gollem, and tall, ghost-like figures called enderman.

Creeper

Enderman

One might argue that games like Minecraft are simply creative outlets for this generation, however, there is perhaps a very serious issue even with this. I would argue that this generation is quite susceptible to confusing creativity for one’s own god-likeness. In the technological/digital age in which we live, many of today’s youth truly see the world differently than even those born 20 years ago.

Today, we wave our hands under a faucet and water comes out. We stand in front of doors and they open. We speak to a cylindrical container called Alexa and automatically receive a response. We touch a smart screen and it obeys. Combine the self-centered technological advances with the self-esteem doctrines continuing to plague many books, movies, music, and classrooms, and then pour them into an already prideful, human heart and you have a recipe for disaster.

I have heard my fair share of students over the last few years boldly proclaim that they have power simply because the world around them seemingly obeys their every command. It used to be much easier for children to draw a line between fantasy and reality. I personally believe this line, for a variety of reasons, is no longer clear.

That being said, games like Minecraft, left unchecked, may have the very real capacity to blur that line between man and God even further. After all, players are magically building world upon world based upon their own desires and imaginations, and all that you need is literally at your fingertips.

Another thing worth considering is the many backstories layered within Minecraft. Like many modern video games, there are some pretty crazy chapters in its backstory which are revealed both within the game and throughout Minecraft’s animated stories.

Arguably, the most glaring example of Minecraft’s dark side is revealed only after completing the game. In order to end the game, there is a pattern performed in which a player opens a portal to the dark and mysterious ender world. After passing through the portal, one fights the ender dragon. Upon defeating the dragon, the player unlocks an eight minute long story carefully concealed until after the player has invested hundreds and thousands of hours of game time.

Ender World

At first read, the extended story seems more than a bit confusing. Why have such a mystic sounding storyline at the end of an otherwise supposedly innocuous building game? Unless, of course, the intent of the designers is to carefully obscure the teachings within Minecraft, just waiting for players to dig them up and put them together, one piece at a time.

Below are screenshot examples of the end story highlighting the most unsettling and unbiblical doctrines blatantly proclaimed by the authors of Minecraft. Sadly, the ending is filled with nothing less than an occult/witchcraft centered concepts. The screenshots below read almost as if written by some demon possessed guru medium from India.

Unfortunately, many young children playing Minecraft have no idea of the designers’ intentions of teaching these dark and deceptive doctrines. I’m sure plenty of people who play the game have no idea what really lies beyond the mine.

May the Lord give each of us heavenly wisdom so we can carefully and lovingly redeem the time He’s given each of us to serve Him while on this side of eternity.

“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.” 1 Corinthians 3:11-13,19

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ…” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

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This video, courtesy of  Once Lost Ministries, is based on a previous post entitled “Christ Esteem or Esteeming Christ“.  

 

Jesus said, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:26-27

 

OTHER HELPFUL RESOURCES: 

Bible Light Bulb ImageLovers of Self- A Sign of the End: We live in an era that is literally saturated with pop-psychological jargon.  From the news stands to the TV to America’s school curricula, Freudian, Jungian, Adlerian, etc. philosophies have inundated the human perspective at every turn. Although men have always been lovers of self, there has never been a time in history where the solution for all men’s ills has been so falsely sold as simply having high self-esteem.

Yes, worldly thinking will continue to get worse and worse, but having it flow so pervasively throughout the body of Christ is truly a sign of the last days!  “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves… Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 2 Timothy 3:1-2a. 3, 7

The Holy Spirit’s warning here isn’t for the world, but for the church and one of the men who has arguably most  infected the body of Christ with the false doctrine of self-esteem is Dr. James Dobson. Dobson has authored or coauthored 36 books and sold hundreds of millions of copies worldwide. The Focus on the Family radio broadcast reportedly reaches 200 millions listeners in 164 countries each day.  His grandfatherly demeanor perhaps gives the impression that his advice can only bring healing, but sadly the seeds of deceit planted by his worldly philosophies will continue producing unrighteous fruit until the Lord returns with His saints.

Dr. Dobson has unashamedly expressed innumerable times that the biggest problem in all humanity is low self-esteem. Therefore it would stand to reason that his number one solution for mankind is not the Gospel, but a good self-esteem.  In his book Hide or Seek he says,

  • “… whenever the keys to self-esteem are seemingly out of reach for a large percentage of the people, as in twentieth-century America, then widespread ‘mental illness,’ neuroticism, hatred, alcoholism, drug abuse, violence, and social disorder will certainly occur. Personal worth is not something human beings are free to take or leave. We must have it, and when it is unattainable, everybody suffers. … a sizable proportion of all human activity is devoted to the task of shielding us from the inner pain of inferiority. I believe this is to be the most dominant force in life” (Hide or Seek, pp. 20-21, 152). (Emphasis added.)

There are several excellent resources (posted below) on the subject of James Dobson and the problems with self-esteem.  The purpose of this post, however, is to expose a layer beneath this, examining a repackaged version of self-esteem that may be less easily detected.

Two Techniques: In every industry there are those talented enough to sell.  Whether it’s an idea or product, to get ahead in the business world, it is important that one understands the nature of sales. For some this comes quite naturally and for others it takes study and practice.  Two basic techniques of selling might be called “Problem/Solution” and “Repackaging”.  The first is what Dr. Dobson is famous for.  He presents the problem as being low self-esteem.  He does this by telling many stories, the kind that tug on your heart strings and before you know it your feelings end up trumping your intellect. You begin developing an emotional connection with the misinformation.  Given enough time, the listener also develops an atrophied ability to reason.  Then, after you are so emotionally invested, Dr. Dobson triumphantly declares the sole solution being a healthy self-esteem. Although this technique is worth an in depth examination, the second sales technique will be the focus for the remainder of this post.

“Repackaging” has been around since almost the beginning of time.  Satan repackaged the fruit of knowledge of good and evil as a product that would bring wisdom, not death.  After all, wisdom is a good, godly thing, right?  Yes, if it’s from the Creator.  Creation, however,can never bring men true, everlasting, and godly wisdom!  “Repackaging” can also be thought of as the Trojan Horse approach.  The whole purpose to this technique, of course, is to make whatever you’re selling seem more appealing to the person you’re selling it to.

When it comes to the idea of self-esteem, there’s most assuredly been a “repackaging” over the last several decades in hopes of making it more palatable, even to  many fundamental Christians.  The history of this modern day “repackaging” really goes back to Norman Vincent Peale and Robert Schuller. (For more, see The Berean Call’s newsletter articles “Toward the Prize” and “Psychology in Prophecy”)

Too many of today’s professing Bible teachers have continued offering millions of followers this destructive fruit as the ultimate form of wisdom, carefully keeping their teachings hidden in biblical jargon.  They talk of Jesus and godliness, yet carefully woven into their messages is the idea that Christ has come to heal us of all our negative self-concepts, that Christ has come to bring about a “healthy” self-esteem within us.  They say, “Let’s focus on Jesus”, but too often Jesus is not their ultimate goal. What many of them really mean to say is, “Let’s focus on Jesus so we can finally feel good about ourselves.”  To illustrate this better, consider this brief illustration.

  • A boy goes to school sad because he’s picked on every day and never first in line.  He’s never chosen first to be on anyone’s team at recess and at lunch he has trouble finding a place to sit.  He comes home every day feeling bad because he just isn’t popular at school.  Then one day the boy discovers a beautiful rock as he explores his backyard, a rock like no other.  It’s full of colors. Parts are shiny while other sections are clear.  When held up to the light the rock shimmers and glistens, sending the sun’s rays bouncing in every direction.  He decides to bring it to school for show and tell and immediately everyone wants to see the rock.  Suddenly the boy is the most popular kid in school.  Everyone wants to be his friend.  Then one day he loses the rock.  He looks everywhere, but can’t find it.  He reluctantly goes to school, but once the other kids find out he no longer has the rock, the boy goes back to being ordinary and quickly loses his popularity.  His sadness comes knocking and he’s quick to let it in.  A few weeks later, the boy begins digging, but this time not in the dirt, but in his Bible.  He finds another Rock, but this time it is Christ.  He finds the Savior and calls out to Jesus, asking Him to forgive his selfishness, to forgive his sinfulness against the Creator.  The boy gladly receives God’s full and free pardon and adoption into God’s family.  As the boy begins searching and studying the Word, he quickly realizes that his selfish pursuits were simply that, selfish.  He finds Galatians 2:20, Luke 9:23, and Luke 14:26 and soon begins to understand that life is not about feeling good about himself, but simply turning from self to God, serving Jesus, not the flesh.

In this little story, the boy first used a rock to make him feel good about himself. Then he found the true Rock, Jesus Christ, who taught him that Jesus isn’t here to make him feel good about himself, rather to free him from self so that he could finally begin learning about the God who is eternally good.  This story sums up what much of Christianity has become.

You see, too often the popular teachings of self-esteem have been carefully repacked to appear biblical so they will more readily be acceptable to those in the church.  For example, people will say that Jesus came to make us feel good about ourselves.  Another goes something like this, “Once Jesus is in your life, you can now have a healthy self-image, realizing how worth it you are. After all Jesus died for you.  He paid the ultimate price proving how valuable you are.”

On her website, in a section entitled Everyday Answers, Joyce Meyer says, “We all need to accept ourselves, embrace our personalities and even our imperfections, knowing that although we are not where we need to be, we are making progress. Jesus died for us because we have weaknesses and imperfections, and we don’t have to reject ourselves because of them. God wants us to love ourselves and enjoy how He’s made us!” (Emphasis added.)

Rick Warren, arguably today’s most popular teacher of self wrapped in Christian garb, has for years focused on having a good self image.  An interesting side note: Rick Warren was trained for years at Robert Schuller’s Institute at The Crystal Cathedral.  A quote from Pastor Warren’s Daily Hope devotional posted May 12, 2013, says,  “For years psychologists have told us that our self-esteem comes from what you think the most important person in your life thinks about you. Make Jesus the most important person in your life, and it’ll change everything. God’s Word says you’re lovable (John 3:16), capable (2 Peter 1:3), valuable (Luke 12:6), forgivable (Psalm 103:12), and usable (Ephesians 4:12). Let that tape become the soundtrack of your life, and you will never be the same.”

Jesus dying on the cross doesn’t prove my worth, rather the price of my sin.  Yes, He paid it all, but it’s not like Jesus went to Jostens Jewelry to buy a diamond ring.  It’s more suitable and biblical to say He went to the judge to pay off in full mankind’s penalty, a fine that was infinite in cost.  Such a high-priced penalty doesn’t denote value, but the extent and severity of my crime.  His death reveals the extent of my sinfulness and the depth of His love.  Jesus didn’t die for creatures that were worth something, but for creatures that were so not worth it!  I don’t deserve His forgiveness, nor does God somehow see a diamond in the rough, some glimmer of hope.  I am hopeless and rebellious to the core.  God’s love  is not based on me, rather solely upon His own infinite character!  After all God is love.  In other words, it is the love God is that motivates His actions, not my loveliness!

Christ-Esteem: In recent years, the phrase “Christ-esteem” has begun circulating the pulpit as a way of replacing self-esteem.  And while I agree that our focus must be on Christ, it seems to this believer that the phrase “Christ-Esteem” still lends a bit of credibility to today’s psychologized Christianity, saying we must focus on Christ in hopes of realizing how lovely we really are.  Loved, yes!  Lovely, no!   Paul said it this way, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing…” Romans 7:18.  The only good in me is Christ!  He is my hope of glory.  Being that we’re in such a psychologically defined society, it’s every believer’s responsibility to be extra cautious in the language chosen when teaching the truth of Jesus Christ and His Gospel.

Esteeming Christ:  Instead of saying I have Christ-esteem, I’d rather declare that I esteem Christ.  Webster’s online dictionary defines Esteem as “to set a high value on : regard highly and prize accordingly.”  Jesus is not simply in my life. He is my Life!  Jesus does not simply enter my heart and mind to make me a better man.  He comes to transform and renew me into His image, living His Life in me and through me.  John the baptist said it best, “[Jesus] must increase, but I must decrease.John 3:30.  He should be my all in all! Clearly, my highest aim is not to esteem self, but to esteem Christ and Christ alone.  My pursuit to do so should be pure and careful.  It should be thoughtful and bold.

Our love for Christ should go beyond all men’s opinions and teaching, no matter how popular and kind the man may be.  God is not a respecter of persons, nor should His children.  Using the phrase “Christ-esteem” might be a little thing, but again, due to the psychologically redefined language flooding our world today, I choose to speak clearly and carefully, not desiring to confuse the Gospel to its hearers.  Reflecting the heart of every sinner, Isaiah wrote, “He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.”  Isaiah 53:3.  As an enemy of God, I esteemed Him not.  As a blood-bought sinner, I can truly and whole heartily declare my sole desire is to esteem Jesus Christ above all!

“[May] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” Ephesians 1:17-23

For the You Tube video discussing this article, go to: “Christ Esteem or Esteeming Christ”.

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Self Love“Another book, coauthored by Myers and Malcolm Jeeves, states that “the most common error in people’s self images is not unrealistically low self-esteem, but rather self-serving pride; not an inferiority complex, but a superiority complex.”A recent study conducted by Scott Allison et al indicates that people give themselves reasons to think positively about themselves. For instance, they regard themselves more highly than others by remembering unfair actions against themselves instead of their own unfairness to others. There is a definite self-serving bias in all of us. Self-esteem and self-love do not need to be encouraged; they are part of the fallen, sinful nature. In Jeremiah 17:9 we are told, “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.” Man is self-serving, self-affirming, self-loving, and self esteeming because he is self-deceiving. Many of the ways that man serves, affirms, loves, esteems, and deceives himself are found in the research as well as the Bible.”

“The Bible does not present self-esteem, self-worth, self love, self-confidence, or self-fulfillment as needs that must be met to create capable, loving, well-adjusted people. Instead, the direction of Scripture is away from self and toward God and others. Self is not to be enhanced or catered to. Self esteem is not even mentioned. On the other hand, Paul warned that a Christian is “not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think” (Romans 12:3). And when it comes to esteem, Paul says, “. . . let each esteem other better than themselves” (Philippians 2:3). From the context of Scripture, the fallen nature is already biased in the direction of self. Self-love is already there or Jesus would not have commanded us to love others as we (already) love ourselves(Matthew 22:39).”

“There are those who try to use the Great Commandment to justify self-love. However, the Great Commandment teaches just the opposite: to love God and others. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets (Matthew 22:37-40).”

“Is the commandment to love self a commandment of God or is it a commandment of men? We found no Bible commentary that said that Matthew 22:39 (or parallel verses in Mark and Luke) commands us to love ourselves. However, many people have distorted the meaning of Matthew 22:39 to give credence to their self-love teachings. For instance, humanistic psychologist Erich Fromm says:

“If it is a virtue to love my neighbor as a human being, it must be a virtue—and not a vice—to love myself, since I am a human being too. There is no concept of man in which I myself am not included. A doctrine which proclaims such an exclusion proves itself to be intrinsically contradictory. The idea expressed in the Biblical “Love thy neighbor as thyself!” implies that respect for one’s own integrity and uniqueness, love for and understanding of one’s own self, can not be separated from respect for and love and understanding of another individual. The love for my own self is inseparably connected with the love for any other self.  If an individual is able to love productively, he loves himself too; if he can love only others, he cannot love at all.(Emphasis his.)”

“Fromm was an atheist who argued against the fundamentals of the Christian faith. It is even more disturbing when Christians parrot such misunderstandings of Jesus’ words about loving neighbor as one loves himself. Rather than properly exegeting the passage, they use Scripture to support a pet theory.”

Excerpts from “12 Steps to Destruction” by Martin and Deidre Bobgan (pp. 57-67) http://www.psychoheresy-aware.org/e-books/12steps-ebk.pdf

Self-Esteem pill bottleDo People Actually Suffer from Low Self-Esteem and Self-Hatred?

What about people who claim to hate themselves? Do they actually hate themselves or are they trying to gain sympathy and support? If they tell someone they hate themselves, the common response is to rescue them from that idea. In the process they receive sympathy and support not normally given. It is a predictable transaction that once begun can become a habitual way of relating to others and receiving support. There are also those who are unhappy about themselves and their circumstances and generalize them into some kind of self-revulsion, all the while loving themselves.

On the other hand, there are some who do experience personal revulsion because of their sin. In fact, unconfessed known sin, such as resentment, bitterness, hatred, and self pity, may make the person feel guilty and therefore uncomfortable. The actual guilt may then be transformed into feelings of self-hatred and worthlessness. In that case, the person does not need more self-love, self-acceptance, or self-esteem.

The person needs to repent and confess and be cleansed. We are not saying that there are no individuals who genuinely think they hate themselves. But, what they generally hate is something about themselves or their circumstances. They exhibit actual love for themselves in that they continue to spend most of their time concerned about themselves, even if it is with unhappy thoughts. They generally get to the point where they are unhappy about themselves because a discrepancy exists between their aspirations or desires and their performance or condition. This intensive hatred is evidence of high self-interest.

Thus a woman who aspires to be thin and beautiful rather than fat and ugly by cultural standards could end up hating her condition and thereby think that she hates herself, because her desire for a perfect figure is discrepant from the reality of being fat and “ugly.” She is reacting to the discrepancy, but the root of the problem is self-love and even pride. She does not actually hate herself. She hates the discrepancy. If she truly hated herself she would be happy, or at least satisfied, to be fat and ugly. But, her self-love in tandem with the discrepancy makes her miserable.

Dr. David Myers, in his book The Inflated Self, discusses research having to do with how people view themselves and others. The research demonstrates that there is definitely a self-serving bias at work in individuals. Myers says: Time and again, experiments have revealed that people tend to attribute positive behaviors to themselves and negative behaviors to external factors, enabling them to take credit for their good acts and to deny responsibility for their bad acts.

Numerous research studies contradict the common notion having to do with self-image. In his book, Myers presents research to support his statement that: Preachers who deliver ego-boosting pep talks to audiences who are supposedly plagued with miserable self images are preaching to a problem that seldom exists.

Excerpts from “12 Steps to Destruction” by Martin and Deidre Bobgan (pp. 57-67) http://www.psychoheresy-aware.org/e-books/12steps-ebk.pdf

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