(Proverbs 12:9 KJV) He that is despised, and hath a servant, is better than he that honoureth himself, and lacketh bread.
This verse has some interesting twists to it. Usually in these comparisons Proverbs gives the advantage to the poor person of integrity, but here we see a poor person who is full of himself. When one “honors” (3513) himself it is meaningless. It is good for us to step back and look at the big picture at times.
The big picture reminds us that the important thing is not how the world views us or how we view ourselves. It is not fame or self-esteem. It is not perception, it is reality. We tend to live at both extremes.
Sometimes we are consumed with what the world sees. We may have a servant, figuratively speaking. We may have the things we need that make us comfortable, but we get worried about what people think. How many people spend their wealth on cars and clothes that they don’t need? To me the ultimate icon of this attitude is a Rolex watch. I have never had anybody justify paying all that money because they needed to know the exact time. Everyone would know it is a lie.
Other times we put all of our energy into glorifying ourselves. I see this reflected in the children I work with. They have nothing to be proud about and yet their arrogance knows no bounds. The dumber they are the more they seem to be full of themselves. One study (real or hypothetical?) showed that those with the lowest self-esteem did best on tests and those with the highest did the worst. To me this is obvious. That is why I think the conclusions are true even if the study never happened.
What should be our attitude? We should start with what is called “worm theology.” We were lost in sin. We had no hope. We were helpless. Then the miracle happened. We met Jesus. Grace intervened. The Blood did its work. Now we are adopted and heirs. Our concern is the approval of our Heavenly Father, not our bowling team.
So rejoice. Spend time with Him. Read the love letters He has provided for us. Bask in the inner sense of rightness that comes from redemption.