You’re worth so much because God paid so much

Everybody knows that if you’re looking to buy something that you can’t find anywhere for sale, check Ebay. Ebay has everything. Books and movies, clothes and cosmetics, cars and even entire towns! Ebay is the revolutionary one-stop shop for anything and everything you could ever want to buy, including grilled cheese sandwiches with Jesus’ face on them.

What I find fascinating about Ebay is what people will pay for things. Sure there are lots of outrageously priced items, but just because the price is outrageous doesn’t mean people will pay that much for it. But in some cases, people decide what’s for sale is worth the price it’s being offered for.

Example? In 2010, Warren Buffett, a world-renown economist and expert investor, put up an Ebay auction to have lunch with him. Granted all proceeds from the auction would benefit a charity. But how much would you pay to talk money matters with Warren Buffett? Well, someone paid $2.63 million.

That’s $2,630,000.00. Check the decimal places on that bad boy. Yikes!

We evaluate worth or value by how much people are willing to pay for it. In our capitalistic American society, that’s not a foreign concept, but how do you judge the worth or value of a person’s life? How do you judge the value of their time or experience? Those things aren’t as easy to pin a number on, but the concept is actually exactly the same.

money-finance-bills-bank-notesToday’s verses are Ephesians 2:4-7.

But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.

Everyone struggles with the concept of self-worth. Honestly, I’m not sure I’ve met very many people who have it figured out. I don’t. With Christ-followers, there’s something in our brain that cautions us not to think too highly of ourselves, and that’s absolutely a valid thought to have. It is possible to get puffed up, to look at yourself and your life and believe you haven’t got any problems and that you’ve got life figured out. That’s a dangerous place to be.

But we take it a step further. Because we don’t want to think to highly of ourselves, instead we get into the habit of thinking too meanly about ourselves. We downplay our achievements and talents. We deflect compliments because we don’t think we deserve them and we don’t want people to think we’re being proud.

God commands us to be humble, but is false modesty the same as humility? No. In the same way, pride and self-worth don’t go hand in hand.

I was talking about worth and value with a one of my awesome Forever Sisters last night, and I started wondering how you can even judge the value of another human being? What we have to remember is that we aren’t the ones who assign value to people. God does that. God says what people are worth. God says that the price of a human soul can’t be measured.

Even so, in God’s eyes, our lives were worth enough to Him that He sent Jesus to die for us.

You can recognize and accept what you’re worth without being prideful. Regardless of what you’ve done or where you’ve been or where you’re going, this fact is still true: God gave His Son for you. God chose to shed His Only Son’s blood to pay the price for your soul. That’s how much you mean to God. Think about that the next time you start beating yourself up or listening to naysayers or picking yourself apart in the mirror.

Your worth as a person can’t be judged by another person, because another person doesn’t have the power or authority to purchase you. God’s the only one who can do that, because He created You. He made you exactly the way you are, with all your funny quirks and strange eccentricities. God doesn’t make mistakes, and there are no such things as accidents.

Maybe the people around you don’t see your worth. Maybe you can’t see the worth of the people around you. That’s okay. You’re not supposed to be able to see it, but just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there.

So stop basing your value to the world and the people around you on your ability to perform, your talents, your looks, your brains. Stop looking for worth based on what you can do or what you know. Instead, understand that you’re worth so much because God paid so much for you. And if God thinks so highly of you, it doesn’t matter what anyone else says.

Measuring yourself by what you believe

It’s easy to think that I’m all that. After all, I can do things a lot of people can’t do. And if I’m not careful, I can start to think that I am a pretty important human being and that God is very fortunate that He created me because otherwise who else would do all the things that He’s asked me to do?

Pride is such a stumbling block. And it’s so sneaky. I did a post on it some time ago comparing it to a ninja, and I really think it’s true. Pride is one of those sins that everyone fights with and most of us lose to. I know I lose to it a lot.

But conversely does that mean that Christians should consider themselves worth less than dirt? I’ve known believers who wander around through life, hating themselves and their lives and their sin to the point that they have become a miserable person. Their self-worth was so low that I could hardly stand to be around them — not because I was astonished by their humility but because I was disturbed by their depression.

And I don’t think that’s the way Christians ought to live. If you’re so caught up in bemoaning your sin and your failures and what a wretch you are, where’s the joy in that? Where’s the irresistable allure we’re supposed to have? Does anyone in the world want that? Is there anything in living a life like that to draw people to it? Is that the best way to make Christ relevant to people? I don’t think so.

So what are we supposed to do? If we can’t be proud but at the same time we can’t despise ourselves, what kind of a perspective are we supposed to have on ourselves?

The verse today addresses this.

Romans 12:3

3 Because of the privilege and authority[a] God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.

Okay, the first thing I want to point out that this verse says to “measure yourseves.” Not measure each other.

We are not called to sit around comparing ourselves to other believers, debating and deciding whether our sin is lesser than theirs or whether our life is worth more or is more useful than theirs. We don’t know other peoples’ hearts. We can’t read their minds. The only heart and mind you can read is your own.

I think it’s funny that Paul even prefaces this verse with a statement that God is the one who’s given him the authority to say these things. He wasn’t saying things like this to people because he had a bloated sense of his own importance. He spoke to people this way because God had given him the authority to do so.

“Don’t think you are better than you really are.”

Wow. What a concept! And isn’t it funny how we all try to rationalize this statement? I don’t know about you, but when I read that I immediately started to use comparisons to try to make myself feel better. Well, I’m not as bad a Christians as so-and-so or I’ve never done things like so-and-so has.

Wrong! That goes back to the first point I made up there. We are never to compare ourselves to any other person. The only standard we should compare ourselves to is God. And we all fall short of God’s standard and Christ’s life, even though we should strive for it.

Be honest with yourself. Look at yourself in the mirror and be honest about what you see. Don’t let culture’s corrupted perspective convince you of things that aren’t true. Judge yourself (because that’s the only person you can judge) truthfully. If you’re beautiful, admit that to yourself. If you’re not so beautiful (in your opinion), admit that too. If you’re smart, admit to yourself that you’re smart. And if you’re not so smart, make sure you understand that. Be honest in your self evaluation. Don’t base it on anyone else. Be real. Be genuine.

Because God made you exactly the way you are. He gave you those freckles and moles. He allowed you to have acne. He gave you the metabolism of a rock so that even if you live on a diet of lettuce you still gain weight. He created you with wide shoulders that never seem to slim down no matter what you try. He made you with stubby legs and thick hips. He made you with square corners or no curves. He gave you your intelligence, your wit, your sense of humor (or your lack thereof). Recognize that. Cherish that. You are a unique individual person. And not only did He make you unique, God loved you enough to sacrifice His Son for you so that He could have a one-on-one relationship with you.

I’d say that makes you worth quite a lot. Don’t you agree?

But here’s where people get out of hand. When I begin to recognize all the things I have going for me and when I begin to understand how much I’m really worth, I start thinking it’s because of something I have done. Or it’s because of some intrinsic value I have.

Wouldn’t you agree that possessions are only worth something to the people who want them? There’s a poem by Naomi Shihab Nye called “Famous” that talks about a photograph being famous to the person who holds it but not at all famous to the person who is pictured.

We are only worth anything because God values us.

We are only capable of accomplishing anything through the skills God has given us or through the education God gave us the ability to complete. He gave us everything we have, whether we recognize that fact or not. We don’t have anything in our lives that we earned 100%. Because someone has to give you the breath to keep breathing every morning.

We are valuable and worth infinitely so much more than we can imagine but only to God. And by being worth something to God makes us worth something in general, obviously. But don’t get a big head because God gave you a gift. Think about the irony of that.

It’s like bragging that you have an i-Pad when someone gave it to you because you couldn’t afford it.

Be honest with yourself. Recognize your gifts and abilities truthfully. Cherish them. And remember that God is the One Who gave them to you so that you could use them for His glory. Never compare yourself to someone else and always give God credit for the good (and the bad) things that happen in your life.

That is true humility. That is a healthy self-worth.