One of the tragedies of modern evangelicalism is the seductive worship of “self-esteem”, an idol that has been erected to draw church growth pundits to its disgraceful altars. The message of self-denial is not popular among today’s professing believers, yet on this point Jesus was most adamant, claiming that whoever would refuse to do this “cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26-27).
The false religion of pop-psychology, however, tries to convince us that the key to happiness and contentment is to build up self. The “self-esteem” concept was invented by necromancer William James late last century, and was eventually advanced to the throne of Christ in many churches during the early 1970’s. (See Self-Esteem: The New Reformation by Robert Schuller). Indeed, we have become “lovers of self” (2 Timothy 3:2).
However, a recent scientific study has confirmed the biblical view that self denial, as well as esteeming others better than oneself, is the actual key to happiness.
Money Buys Happiness When You Spend On Others, Study Shows
“Researchers at the University of British Columbia and the Harvard Business School have found that it's possible to buy happiness after all: when you spend money on others...Regardless of how much income each person made...those who spent money on others reported greater happiness, while those who spent more on themselves did not.”
While money is only one issue in this complex makeup, the study does support the idea that the key to contentment is to get our eyes off of ourselves and onto the plight of others. Even better, turn them to Christ.