Ask This Question to Determine Your Worth

Ask This Question to Determine Your Worth May 8, 2018

What does God think of me?

As I write this, my own daughter is finishing sixth grade. In everything but looks, she reminds me of sixth-grade me—sports, school, spirituality. It’s uncanny. But remembering my inner struggle from that time of life causes me to pray that she understands two particular truths about herself, principles that every human must understand in order to find wholeness, healing, contentment, and joy:

We are not what we have done.

Whether good or bad, whether shame-inducing or pride-provoking, no action we have taken or deed that has been perpetrated upon us can imbue us with significance. Only God, our creator, can do that.

Consider Rahab. A well-known prostitute in Jericho, she apparently had been following the stories of this great mass of people wandering in the wilderness for a generation. She knew the stories: how God had rescued them through the Red Sea, how they had defeated powerful kings, and that they would soon overrun her city. She chose to join God’s chosen people, to repudiate her godless people and her sinful life, to make the jump from outsider to Yahweh-follower. “By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies” (Heb 11:31). God welcomed her into his people. She was rescued (see Joshua 2), married an Israelite warrior, birthed a boy who matured into a godly man (Boaz), and was named in the lineage of the Messiah. Generations of Israelites hear her name and consider her blessed, someone to emulate. Her shame no longer defined her.

Now consider the apostle Paul. In his letter to the church at Philippi, he writes, “If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless” (3:4–6). His point: he could win the super-Christian award if people wanted to compete for such an honor. He had every reason to be proud of his heritage, his education, his character. But he knew that all of those accomplishments meant nothing without the deep love of Jesus. He found his identity in his relationship with his Lord. Speaking of his desire to know Christ fully, he says, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own” (v. 12).

Paul knew what we need to realize, that our value comes not from what we’ve done, good or bad. Rather . . .

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