True Self Esteem


Psalm 15:1 LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill?  2 He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart 3 and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman, 4 who despises a vile man but honors those who fear the LORD, who keeps his oath even when it hurts, 5 who lends his money without usury and does not accept a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken. (NIV)


This is a Psalm of David. David was a man after God’s own heart. Although he was short in physical stature he stood tall in the eyes of God. God looks at the heart, not our physical attributes. The first King of Israel, Saul, was an imposing physical specimen. He was a man’s man. He was popular among men, at least in the early part of his reign. But Saul gave into Satan and soon was consumed by demons. When Saul’s heart was turned away from God, God replaced him with David. So there can be a huge difference between the way the world sees us and the way God sees us. 

In this Psalm, David begins by essentially asking God “Who is worthy?” (v.1) Who is worthy to “dwell in your sanctuary?” Who is worthy to live on your holy hill?” David is not asking who is worthy by name. He is asking who is worthy by description, by character. The reference to the “sanctuary” is the place of worship, the tent of meeting at the time. The reference to the hill is Mount Zion, Jerusalem, the location of the tent of meeting and later the location of the temple which was built by David’s son Solomon. The meaning is “What is the character of one who has a heart of God?” 

David then proceeds to answer his own question. The man or woman of God is one “whose walk is blameless” (v. 2a). This is someone who lives a life of obedience to God. His lifestyle is obedience to God, even though he may have times of failure, as did David. The primary act of obedience is to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. After that, the Holy Spirit helps us to live an obedient lifestyle. 

Secondly, the man or woman of God “does what is righteous” (v. 2b).  This has to do with our actions, as Christians. David follows this up with some examples of righteous behavior. He or she “speaks the truth from his (or her) heart” (v. 2c). Christians should guard themselves against lying. The lie always hurts us more than telling the truth might hurt another. As Christians, we should learn how to tell the truth tactfully, and in love, without hurting others significantly. It takes practice, but it can be done. 

We should not slander others (v.3a). Slander is speaking ill of another, whether deserved or not. If we have a complaint against another, including our wife or husband, this should be discussed privately with that person. To disparage someone in front of others, or even behind their back, is never the right thing to do. The Bible makes an exception when rebuking someone publicly before the church for certain behavior, but that is only in the case of extreme violations of Christian beliefs. Slander includes gossip. If we hear negative gossip about others we should either defend that person, if we can, or say nothing. We should never join in on the gossip. 

We should not do our neighbor wrong (v.3b). Everyone is our neighbor. Christians should not wrong anyone. We should not cut off someone in traffic. We should not take advantage of others. We should not be vengeful if we have been wronged. Vengeance is the Lord’s. 

Christians should not cast a “slur on his fellowman” (v. 3c). We should assume the best of everybody, and the worst of nobody. We should value others, not for their disobedience to God but for their obedience to God (v. 4a). We should keep our promises, even if it costs us money (v. 4b). If we lend money to another Christian, we should not charge interest (v. 5a). Better yet, do not lend them money, give it to them. You will keep your friend. Finally, Christians should “not accept a bribe against the innocent” (v. 5b). We should not take bribes in exchange for violating justice. When we do these things we “will never be shaken” (v.5c), we will be secure in our relationship with God. 

These are the thoughts of David, a man who had the heart of God. It is the word of God. These are characteristics which should be exhibited by men and women of God, Christians. God sees us as either being obedient, or disobedient, to His word, the Bible. He saw David as one who lived a lifestyle of obedience. When we allow the Holy Spirit to live through us, He will see us in the same light. 

As Christians, we should always value what God thinks of us, over what the world thinks of us. We should be Christlike, so as to influence the world positively for Christianity, but we should always seek first to please God. We should derive our self esteem not from the world, but from God. When we are right with Him, the arrows from others do not matter. That is true self esteem.   

Art Toombs Ministries 

Online Bible Commentary