Such a good quote from Lydia Brownback’s book Purity: A Godly Woman’s Adornment:
Self-esteem sounds good, but it is antithetical to God’s gospel. Christ didn’t die to improve our self-esteem; he died to give us his. He didn’t come to build up our selfworth; he came to knock it down. Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:24); and Paul wrote, “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (Phil. 2:3). We have been deceived by the false teaching of self-esteem because, like most effective deceptions, there is a kernel of truth in it. We do have intrinsic worth because we are made in the image of God. But it is his image in us that gives us our value.
I heard a contemporary Christian song recently in which the singer poured out her gratitude for Christ’s death on the cross, but her lyrics reflected a wrong understanding of why Christ died: “What a price I was worth!” Christ didn’t go to the cross because she—or we are worth it. He went to the cross to bring unworthy people to God. Praiseworthy is the fact that God determined to bring unworthy people into eternal blessing. Thinking that Christ died because of our inherent worth or to improve our self-esteem, reveals impurity in our heart. A sincere and pure devotion to Christ sees him, not us, as everything.