DEFINITION: Inferiority is a belief that you are not as good as or of less value than other people. You feel that you continuously fail to meet standards of quality, ability, or achievement. Inferiority is a lack of self-worth and self-respect.
FACTS ABOUT INFERIORITY:
Everyone feels inferior at times. Moses felt inferior for the task to which he was called (Exodus 3:11-12). Jeremiah felt too immature to fulfill God’s plan (Jeremiah 1:6-7). Gideon thought he was the least of all in the tribe of Israel (Judges 6:15). The great Apostle Paul confessed to weakness, fear, and trembling (1 Corinthians 2:3). The nation of Israel saw themselves as grasshoppers in the eyes of their powerful enemies (Numbers 13:33). Often, when you are out of the “comfort zone” of your environment, friends, and family, you may feel inferior or inept.
The causes of inferiority may include your physical appearance, your abilities, social adaptability, and the environment from which you come. Your parents may have instilled inferiority feelings through constant criticism. Continual failure can also breed feelings of inferiority–you just never seem to succeed like other people. Satan also causes feelings of inferiority, as he constantly brings accusations against God’s people (Revelation 12:10).
Fear is related to inferiority. The fear of others and the fear of failure contribute to inferiority. (See “Fear” in this database for guidelines on overcoming fear.)
Inferiority can lead to destructive behaviors. If you think you aren’t worth much, then it can lead to destructive behaviors such as sexual promiscuity, addictions, self-mutilation, etc.
Inferiority is a feeling. Faith is a fact. As a believer, you live by faith and not by feelings. You must, by faith, believe you are who God says you are rather than believe what your feelings dictate.
God does not accept inferiority as an excuse. When the prophet Jeremiah said he felt too immature to accomplish God’s purposes, the Lord rebuked him (Jeremiah 1:6-8).
DEALING WITH INFERIORITY:
Realize that you are created in the image of God. He created mankind in His image and declared His creation to be good. (Genesis 1;26-31).
See yourself as God sees you. If you are a believer, God sees you as a son or daughter, and a joint heir with Jesus Christ (Galatians 4:6-7). It is not self-esteem that should be your focus, rather it is Godlike esteem–who you are because of who He is within and through you.
Do not compare yourself to others. Many feelings of inferiority arise when you compare yourself to others. The Bible indicates this is not wise (2 Corinthians 10:12).
Live by faith and not by feeling. Romans 1:17 declares “For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
Don’t dwell on your past. Do not focus on past failures to live up to your own expectations or those of others. God says: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:18-19).
Avoid friends who pull you down. Seek friends who encourage your efforts and accept you as you are–a work in progress.
Control your thoughts. Do not allow thoughts of inferiority to remain in your mind. When they try to enter, reject them immediately. (See “Mind And Thoughts” in this database for guidelines for controlling your thoughts.)
Confess sufficiency in God. Confess Philippians 4:13: “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” It is not who you are, but who you are in God that is important.
Learn from the lives of biblical characters who felt inferior. Moses, Gideon, Jeremiah, the Apostle Paul, and the nation of Israel are examples of people who had inferior feelings, yet rose above them to become mighty people of God. You can do the same!
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT INFERIORITY:
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? (Isaiah 43:18-19).
“Ah, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.” But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a child.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 1:6-8)
For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith (not feeling). (Romans 1:17)
We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. (2 Corinthians 10:12)
Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir. (Galatians 4:6-7)
I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. (1 Timothy 4:12)
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (1 Peter 2:9)
(See also “Self-Esteem” in this database.)