Matthew 16:24-25 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
We live in a day and age that everywhere we turn, there's a "self-help" theory. Books, videos and dvds, websites, world-renown speakers, you name it -- all dedicated to helping us "feel good about ourselves". Yet somehow, still many of us struggle with self-consciousness, even as Christians!
But here's something to consider. Did Jesus ever say "feel good about yourself"?? No. On the contrary, He said crucify yourself!
If we go around hating ourselves and even feeling condemnation over our faults and sins, what we are really doing is focusing on our self! My wife said a wise thing recently: self-consciousness is not God-consciousness! That about sums it up, I think. God doesn't want us focused on ourselves -- He wants us to be focused on Him!
It's when die to our flesh, that the life we're living becomes the life He lives through us! If we crucify our self then there's no self to hate -- there's no self to condemn! We are free to serve the Lord and allow him to do great things through us!