Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Quest to be Valued

                Everyone wants to be valued in some way. There is a deep longing within each of us to be appreciated and to feel validated. Everyone wants to know that their life counts for something. No one wants to be a cipher, a zero, a non-entity.

                There are times when our sense of being valued is high. At those times we feel confident, competent, and courageous. There are other times when our sense of being valued is low. At those times we feel uncertain, hesitant, and incompetent. I have experienced both. Most of the time we live somewhere in the middle with the nagging question in the back of our mind; am I good enough?

                Over the years, I have talked with many people who have struggled with a sense of their value. They have often expressed to me the same sentiment; “I am not good enough.”  This tends to be a self-defeating attitude. The person is really giving up before they ever try. They have already determined that they are of no value. That only fuels a downward spiral of self-pity. We need to be honest about where those feelings come from. They do not come from God. They come from the Evil One. Satan, the Great Accuser, loves to whisper destructive untruths in our ears. “You are not good enough. You will never make it. You don’t have what it takes. Why try? You are going to fail anyway.”

                The Bible gives us a very different message. The Bible tells us that we are of great value to God, because we have been created in His image. Our worth is not dependent upon what we can do or how well we can perform. Our worth is based on our relationship with God in Christ. God loves us so much that He sent Jesus into this sinful, fallen world to rescue and redeem us. When Satan whispers those corrosive words in our ear, “you are not good enough”, we need to remind ourselves of God’s truth.

                We are loved with an inexhaustible love. One of the ways that we feel valued is by receiving the love of others. We experience that love through the relationships that we have. Those may come in the form of family or friends. For some people, that sense of being loved can come from a pet. We usually take this experience for granted until it disappears. A family member dies. A friend moves away. A pet dies. What is left behind is an emotional hole.
                The one thing that can fill that whole is to embrace the love of God. When we put our faith in Christ, we can experience God’s overflowing love. It is when we embrace the love that God has given to us that we can then love others well. The more we actively receive God’s love, the more we can share that love freely with those around us.
                I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:16-19
                 How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 1 John 3:1
                 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:10-11

                We do not have to prove ourselves to God. Whether we want to admit it or not, we are always trying to prove our worth. That is why some of us work long hours, take on extra responsibility, and over fill our lives with activities. Unconsciously we are trying to say to the world, I am valuable.
                For way too long I tried to prove my worth to God. To put a label on it, I bought into works righteousness. I felt like I had to do certain things for God to accept me. Therefore, I had my unwritten list of do’s and don’ts; my spiritual checklist by which I could show God that I was worthy of His love and acceptance. The problem was that I never felt like I was doing enough or was good enough.
                The good news is that we do not have to prove ourselves to God. I don’t mean that God doesn’t care about how we live our lives. He does. What I mean is that we live good lives as a response to the acceptance that we have already received in Christ. God knows all about us; good, bad and ugly. Through our faith in Christ, God has applied Christ’s righteousness to our account. Because we have been justified through Christ, we are free to live wholeheartedly for Christ, without fear.
                 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2

                 We are capable of doing whatever God calls us to do. Even when we feel loved and accepted by God, a sense of inadequacy can still remain. We know all of our weaknesses and failures. They loom large in our eyes. Satan wants us to believe that these disqualify us from service. He says something like this. “ Face it. You don’t have what it takes. Why try? You know you are just going to fail anyway. You are not smart enough, skilled enough, good enough to be a success.”
                God has an answer to Satan’s accusations. “I know all about your inadequacies. But I will give you what you need to not only overcome them, but to succeed.” One of the most basic truths we need to hold onto is, when God calls us into service, He equips us for service. Every leader in the Bible, from Moses to the Apostle Paul, felt inadequate to the task set before them. Yet God used all of them in amazing ways. God is never hindered by our lack of skill. Bit His is hindered by our lack of will.
                Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God.  Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.  He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant--not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 2 Corinthians 3:4-6
                 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:12-13

                All of us want to be valued. We all struggle with this desire from time to time. When we are feeling less than worthy, we need to remember that our worth is secure. It comes primarily from our relationship with God and only secondarily through our abilities and our human relationships. To buy into the idea that “I am not good enough” is an affront to God’s love and grace.

Ephesians 2:10
For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.


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