Part 2 of the Christian Thinking series.
Because you’re worth it. This famous tag line from Loreal Paris advertisements goes deeper than just four words on a screen. This one line embodies a cultural philosophy that has been adopted by many Christians, especially women. As I mentioned in the introduction to this series, we need to be aware of the false teaching aimed at women in our culture and begin to think rightly.
Nancy Leigh Demoss says it perfectly,
“Christian women need to open their eyes and begin to evaluate what is going on around them — to wake up to the deception that is so pervasive in both our secular and our Christian cultures. So much of our lifestyle is rooted in ways of thinking that simply are not true.”
She cites music, TV, movies, books, advice, and advertisements as some of the vehicles that perpetuate deceptive ways of thinking. Demoss gives three helpful questions to help us evaluate popular cultural messages:
- What is the message here?
- Is it really true?
- Am I being deceived by a way of thinking that is contrary to the Truth?
So, what is the message behind Loreal Paris advertisements?
It’s a popular message today aimed at women; it’s the mask of the self-movement hiding the face of humanism. The self-movement is my way of describing all the ‘self’ words we see and hear today: self-esteem, self-image, self-love, and self-worth. All of these words are just modern day packaging of an old philosophy called humanism.
What is Humanism?
Basically, it is a man-centered way of thinking, which views man as basically good and moral and finds no need for any supernatural power. In humanism, man is God. Man can then decide for himself what is true and good and worships himself as true and good.
Humanism came to a peak during the middle ages when a new spirit of learning developed, and the once dark ages saw a new light as the arts flourished again. This period is known as the Renaissance. It was during this time that man again became confident of his ability to determine truth and error.
The American Humanist Association describes what philosophical humanism is:
“…Any outlook or way of life centered on human need and interest. Sub-categories of this type include Christian Humanism and Modern Humanism.
Christian Humanism is defined by Webster’s Third New International Dictionary as “a philosophy advocating the self-fulfillment of man within the framework of Christian principles.” This more human-oriented faith is largely a product of the Renaissance and is a part of what made up Renaissance humanism.”
Today we are guilty of Christian Humanism. The ‘self’ words have been adopted by Christians as truth when in fact they are error. These are not just cute harmless phrases empty of meaning, because their roots go deep into anti-God ways of thinking. The messages of self-esteem, self-love, self-worth, and self-image are not the Gospel message. The message of the self- movement puts man’s needs and interests first, but the Gospel message is death to self.
Humanism in Light of Scripture
God’s Word makes it clear we naturally love ourselves enough and commands us to do what goes against our nature, which is putting ourselves last. We are repeatedly told in Scripture to put others needs and interests before our own. God knows we don’t need the message our culture sends us, because we are already always doing it. In Ephesians 5 Paul tells husbands to love their wives as their own bodies, which assumes we don’t hate our bodies, because we feed and care for them. We need to look out for others in the way we already look out for ourselves.
Our image and worth should not be defined by a humanistic way of thinking that looks inward, but defined by what God says about us in his Word. The truth is we are completely unworthy and Christ is the only worthy one. Yet, once we believe and accept this truth, Christ accepts and loves us in our unworthiness and shares his worthiness (sinless life) with us. We become
worthy to God through Christ, but not through ourselves. Nancy Leigh Demoss sums it up well:
“Our malady is not “low self-esteem,” nor is it how we view ourselves; rather it is our low view of God. Our problem isn’t so much a “poor self-image” as it is a “poor God-image.” Our need is not to love ourselves more but to receive his incredible love for us and to accept his design and purpose for our lives.
Once we have received His love, we will not have to compare ourselves to others; we will not focus on “self” at all. Instead, we will become channels of His love to others.”
The ‘self’ words should change to Christ-esteem, Christ-worth, Christ-image, and Christ-love. All of these words need to be defined by Jesus Christ in our life. Everything is ours in Christ. We don’t need to look for our image, esteem, and worth in the offers of this world, just truly believe and accept we are accepted and loved by God through Christ.
The world’s offer is cheap like Loreal hair color that washes out in a few weeks, but God’s offer came at the high cost of His Son and is an eternal guarantee. You don’t go to Target to purchase this product, because it is already paid in full. The lines have fallen for you in pleasant places, my dear sister, just be content and believe. He will help your unbelief.