Self-esteem, self-worth, self-love concepts are being spinned out from many evangelical pulpits, the preachers not realizing that such pagan concepts fly in the face of the gospel. For God finds us unworthy, unloving, and not lovable at all; he finds us hating him and hating one another. What worth is in such creatures?
Our worth is realized in Jesus Christ who for worms such as we was willing to die. But that magnifies His love for me, not my intrinsic worth, which is nil. For if I deserve anything from the hands of God, I deserve only death and condemnation.
Worth is not in ourselves; but in union and communion with Christ, as branches in the true Vine, we can bear fruit and find worth, for that fruit will be to God's glory. Our attitude should be like the centurion's: "I am not worthy..."
Only God can make us worthy: "Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light..." (Colossians 1:12). Any qualification or fittingness is granted to us through Jesus Christ.
In counselling we should seek to direct the thoughts of the counsellee towards Christ, that we may be lost in Him and in serving Him. "Neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy..." (Acts 20:24).
Instead of seeking self-worth, we are to deny ourselves, take up the cross and follow our Master. The one who saves his life will lose it, and the one who loses it for Christ's sake will find it. That's the paradox of the gospel, always confronting the counsellee.