Consider your worth

As humans with many flaws we are quick to underestimate our value and worth. God wants us to understand how valuable we are in His eyes, because this will convince us of His love and provision in our lives. The first verse I want to quote:

“Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father keeps feeding them. Are you not worth much more than they?” Matt 6:26

We are worth much more than the birds in the air. Yet we foolishly think God would take care of them but not of us! We need not worry about anything, for He cares for us. The second verse I want to quote:

“Again the kingdom of heaven is like a man who is a dealer in search of fine and precious pearls, Who, on finding a single pearl of great price, went and sold all he had and bought it.” Matt 13:45-46

We are that pearl of great price. God offered everything He had – His only Son, in order to save us and buy our redemption. He placed such high value on our lives that He did not even spare His only son (Rom 8:32).  Christ purchased our freedom (Gal 3:13). Another verse comes to mind explaining our worth:

“You shall also be [so beautiful and prosperous as to be thought of as] a crown of glory and honor in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem [exceedingly beautiful] in the hand of your God.” Is 62:3

Never underestimate your worth. Realize what a costly price God paid in order to restore us to Himself. Boldly approach His throne of grace, realizing you are a precious pearl of great worth to Him!

My story

I wanted to use today’s post to share a little bit of my testimony with you. I gave my heart to the Lord when I was 10, and really had a special relationship with Him ever since. Somewhere along the line a very strong message of condemnation crept into my heart, and I just never felt I measured up to His standards.

I had an incorrect view of God – seeing Him as an angry judge, waiting for me to slip up somewhere. I believed I needed to live perfectly holy in order to draw closer to Him, so any time I would slip up I would fall into a deeper pit of condemnation. It got so bad that I suffered from depression while I was studying.

My life changed the night I went to a church meeting at Immanuel Bedieninge – a ministry in Potchefstroom. This was the first night I heard the message of grace, and the true miracle of Jesus’ sacrifice. Two key messages changed my life:

  1. God is not angry with me. When He looks at me, He only sees Jesus, and how righteous I am through faith in Him.
  2. I don’t have to perform in order to draw closer to God. I can live from the depths of my soul in a deep relationship with Him, knowing I am righteous in Christ.

Condemnation really creeps up on people without them even noticing. What usually disappears first is their joy, then their freedom, and ultimately their boldness towards God. We can draw near to Him boldly without fear – what a LIBERATING message! I am so overwhelmed by His goodness!

“Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it].” Heb 4:16

Busy with too many ‘things’

In many churches it is believed that after you are born again, you need to become involved in various pursuits, ministries and services. I agree that there will be life flowing from you innermost being the moment you are born again – resulting in a natural desire to reach out to people with the overwhelming love of God. What I don’t agree with is being so busy in ministry and services that you forget about the Source of your faith – Jesus.  A verse in Hebrews comes to mind:

Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection].” Heb 12:2

By looking to Jesus you will be changed from the inside out (He will bring you to maturity and perfection), and life flowing from your innermost being will be the most natural result. Doing service and being involved in various ministries WITHOUT Jesus as the source will only lead to a life of burn-out and struggle. Jesus said the same thing to Martha, when she complained that Mary was just sitting at Jesus’ feet, listening to His teaching:

“But the Lord replied to her by saying, Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; there is need of only one or but a few things. Mary has chosen the good portion [that which is to her advantage], which shall not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42

Martha is described as overly occupied and too busy being distracted by too much serving (Luke 10:40).  Serving and ministry from any other source than Jesus will only lead to dead works. If, however, you sit at Jesus’ feet and continually drink the living water He gives, your life will effortlessly overflow with Godly love. This is the better portion, which SHALL NEVER be taken away from you (Luke 10:42).

Jesus changed everything

The cross of Jesus is the center of Christianity. We must never underestimate it’s significance – it is crucial to every aspect of our faith. I don’t think we will ever be able to fully comprehend the magnitude of what was accomplished on the cross – but I love the parts that God has already revealed to me!  Also read “God’s gift to us (Part 1, 2 and 3)”

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]” John 16:33

Many people simply quote the part about tribulations and trials in the previous verse, without referring to the parts that precedes and follows it. Firstly, Jesus promised us IN Him we will have perfect peace and contentment. Secondly He tells us to be of good cheer, for he HAS overcome the world and deprived it of it’s power to harm us! Therefore it is a choice – stay in the world where you will have trails and tribulations and distress, or believe in the complete work of the cross.

Jesus deprived the world of it’s power and released it’s stronghold on the children of God (those who believe). The world in this sense refers to what we experience daily as a result of sin. Sin came into the world, and death  (decay, suffering, problems, sicknesses etc.) as a result of sin. Jesus completely abolished sin, therefore also setting us free from it’s power:

“Sending His own Son in the guise of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, [God] condemned sin in the flesh [subdued, overcame, deprived it of its power over all who accept that sacrifice],” Rom 8:3

We cannot look at anything without considering what was accomplished on the cross of Jesus. Everything was made new after that sacrifice. In Revelation we also read the following incredible confirmation from Jesus:

“He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Rev 21:5

Unconditionally blessed

In Deuteronomy 28:1-12 we read about a myriad of blessings that was promised to the Israelites … IF they were obedient and followed the law at all times. However, if they did not obey the law, a myriad of curses would come their way (Deuteronomy 28:14-45).  We have already established that we have been set free from the law and legalism through the complete sacrifice of Jesus. He came to fulfill the law, so that we do not have to submit to it in order to be righteous in God’s eyes.

Because we believe in the complete sacrifice of Jesus we are called sons of Abraham due to our faith, not sons of Moses due to our holy adherence to the law. That means we are heirs according to a promise, not according to a set of rules that is followed (as was the case with the Israelites in Deuteronomy).

“Know and understand that it is [really] the people [who live] by faith who are [the true] sons of Abraham.” Gal 3:7

To understand that we are now unconditionally blessed, we must look to God’s actions toward Abraham. He came to Abraham and told him He wants to bless him, without any conditions following this statement. We are now also unconditionally blessed because of our faith in Christ.  So – how blessed you are does not depend on how holy you live, or how closely you follow the law – it is a free gift and an unconditional promise which is true in Christ.

“And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you [with abundant increase of favors] and make your name famous and distinguished, and you will be a blessing [dispensing good to others]. And I will bless those who bless you [who confer prosperity or happiness upon you] and [a]curse him who curses or uses insolent language toward you; in you will all the families and kindred of the earth be blessed [and by you they will bless themselves].” Gen 12:2-3

A permanent mediator

It feels great when someone stands up for you and vouches for you. You feel valued, safe and protected. Jesus becomes our permanent mediator by continually showing how He has completely and permanently cleansed and perfected us.

“But if anyone should sin, we have an Advocate (One Who will intercede for us) with the Father–[it is] Jesus Christ [the all] righteous [upright, just, Who conforms to the Father’s will in every purpose, thought, and action].” 1 John 2:1

His intersession and salvation lasts forever – it does not diminish if you don’t live holy enough. It continues regardless of your actions, so that all glory can go to God through Jesus Christ.

“But He holds His priesthood unchangeably, because He lives on forever. Therefore He is able also to save to the uttermost (completely, perfectly, finally, and for all time and eternity) those who come to God through Him, since He is always living to make petition to God and intercede with Him and intervene for them.” Heb 7:25-26

This is why we can boldly approach the throne of God, because we know about our righteousness in Jesus. It is not a righteousness ascribed to our own works, but a righteousness built entirely on belief in the sacrifice of Jesus. Now we are innocent. We cannot be accused anymore, and no-one can judge us.

Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect [when it is] God Who justifies [that is, Who puts us in right relation to Himself? Who shall come forward and accuse or impeach those whom God has chosen? Will God, Who acquits us?] Who is there to condemn [us]? Will Christ Jesus (the Messiah), Who died, or rather Who was raised from the dead, Who is at the right hand of God actually pleading as He intercedes for us?” Rom 8:33-34

We have a permanent advocate on our side. Every time someone accuses us before God (even if we accuse ourselves) the verdict will be: “Not guilty!”. Praise God!

Nothing can separate us

The moment you are born again you become ingrafted in Christ. Ingrafted means to be incorporated in a firm or permanent way; to be implanted. That means you are connected to Him forever (also see post on being born of incorruptible seed).

“Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!” 2 Cor 5:17

This is why Paul was completely convinced of the fact that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ. This is truly the one relationship in which you can feel 100% secure. Unlike some earthly relationships it does not come and go, or fade away with time – it is a permanently fixed rock on which you can build your life and identity.

“For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom 8:38-39

Nothing can destroy it, spoil it, damage it or sabotage it. It is constant. It is solid, unwavering and steadfast.  The Message puts Lamentations 3:22 – 23 in such a beautiful way:

“God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning.  How great your faithfulness!”