“Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:31).
Who are you? What are you worth? Who do you think you are?
Have you, or anyone, ever questioned your identity, or tried to put you down over your identity, and have you ever felt worthless and wondered, “Why on earth am I here?”
The first question, “Who am I?”, is a timeless one. Philosophers, scientists, and great thinkers over the centuries have grappled with this question, with varying degrees of success. When asked these questions, many people typically first think of their occupations or job titles, and how much money they make or wealth they have accumulated. Those who have achieved a higher social class and/or are wealthy are more comfortable answering these questions, while many others who might not be successful in the eyes of the world would rather not answer because of shame or embarrassment. Others may provide simplistic answers citing their name and indicating they don’t know what they are worth. In many cases, people will simply label you as they see fit or as they judge you, and if you believe their wrong judgments about you this can have a devastating effect on you!
In this week’s message, we would like you to know that your existence, no matter the circumstances of your birth, is not an accident, but a result of Intelligent Design. You are placed here on Earth for a purpose (Psalm 139:16), and we encourage you to pursue a personal relationship with your Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ, grounding your identity and value in Him, regardless of what other people say or think about you! Like the wise man who built his house on the rock, Jesus is our only sure, strong, and solid foundation (Matthew 7:24-27).
Below are some ways many people perceive their own worth and the worth of others:
- How much money you have: In today’s technology-driven age where more and more people have access to information in the palms of their hands, those who have (or create the perception of having) more money tend to gain more respect and honor in society, while those who don’t have money are looked down upon.
- Where you live: The wealthy are known to live in certain exclusive areas in cities, and there is a perception that those who live in those addresses are “better” than those who live in the other areas.
- The size of your house: Those who live in large, luxurious houses (regardless of whether they rent, own the property or the bank does) tend to look down upon those who live in modest.
- What kind of car you drive: Some people are defined by the kind of “ride” they have. And people covet certain types of cars, such as sports cars and luxury models that exude opulence.
- What brand of clothes you wear: Some people are keen on staying abreast of the trends in fashion and jewelry and looking down upon those who dress humbly.
- How much education you have: As one attains more and more formal education, there is the risk of having pride and arrogance, especially when people falsely equate earning advanced college/university degrees with attaining wisdom.
- Your job title: Those who hold high leadership positions in the workplace sometimes look down upon their subordinates. Sometimes those who hold junior positions look down upon themselves with shame.
- What gifts and talents you possess: Those who possess noticeable spiritual gifts such as prophecy, healing, singing, or dancing may sometimes grow proud and look down upon those who have less noticeable gifts.
- Your church and denomination: Some people define themselves by the church they go to and what that church believes.
- Your family background: Some people automatically inherit social privileges associated with their prominent family name, while others are automatically relegated by society to a lower class because of their no-name connections, tribe, racial background, or color/pigmentation of their skin.
- Your physical looks: Today the world mostly judges one’s beauty based solely on physical appearance. As such, there is a lot of pressure to conform to the world’s standard of beauty. In order to please the world, many people resort to wearing heavy makeup to cover “imperfections”, glamorous jewelry, artificial hair or dyeing hair to cover the natural one, external adornments, performing cosmetic surgical procedures on certain parts of the body, etc.
Unfortunately, these measures of one’s worth are shallow and deceptive, because they are “worldly” and are based on “outward appearance,” contrary to how the Lord views us (1 Samuel 16:7). Additionally, these measures promote pride, arrogance, and self-centeredness, and give no promise or hope whatsoever for eternity (Job 1:21; Luke 12:20). From our experience, we have also learned that it is almost impossible to measure to the ways of the world and keep up with the ever-changing, ever-moving trends. If you keep comparing yourself with other people, you will surely be discouraged because there will always be someone who has what you do not have! Therefore, if you choose to measure yourself by the ways of the world and “keep up with the Joneses”, the result will never be joy, peace, and contentment, but continual frustration and a feeling of failure. The Bible puts it clearly this way: “Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife ( Proverbs 17:1 NIV); “For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life” (Galatians 6:8 NKJV). Furthermore, the Word of God is very clear that “…the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7b).
What is Your True Worth?
In the Book of Genesis, we read how human beings originated via one man and one woman who were created in God’s perfect image (Genesis 1:27). After the fall of man, sin multiplied and wickedness abounded so much, to the extent that the Creator had no choice but to purge and cleanse the world via the Great Flood (Genesis 6:1-7). Fortunately, there was one man who had remembered his Creator and had not been corrupted by the ways of the world. The Lord found Noah to be righteous, faithful, and blameless among all the people, and He chose to save him from the judgment of the Great Flood (Genesis 6:8-13). The Bible tells us that “modern man” is descended from the line of Noah and his sons (Shem, Ham, and Japheth and their wives). Among all the people on the earth, the Lord showed much value towards this family of only eight people when He saved them from the Great Flood (Genesis 7:1, 7-13). God then blessed them and told them to be fruitful and fill the earth (Genesis 9:1, 7, 19). As far as the Bible tells us, the Lord has never revoked the privilege of creating all humanity in His image, even though modern science along with mass media and the entertainment industry have tried to rewrite this truth about the origin of man.
If we believe that we were created specially in our Father’s image, then we know that we have are not worthless, but have value, and indeed so much value that the Father sent His only begotten Son to die for us that we might be saved (John 3:16-17). In the Lord Jesus Christ, “we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7). However, if we believe that our existence is a result of progressive evolution from fish, lower animals, and primates, or as a result of cataclysmic, cosmic collision that happened “billions” of years ago, what value have we, and how different are we from other animals in the wild? Don’t we then succumb to the “survival of the fittest” mentality, where our destiny is sealed solely by our physical strength and ingenuity? On the contrary, the Lord purposefully created us for His pleasure (1 Corinthians 8:6; Revelation 4:11), gave us good commands to live by, including obeying Him and loving our fellow men (Exodus 20:1-17; Matthew 22:37-40), and one day each of us will give an account of ourselves to the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Romans 14:12). Only the Lord knows the days of our lives from the day we were conceived to the end as it is written in Psalm 139:13-18 (NKJV):
For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.
My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; when I awake, I am still with You.
Our Heavenly Father cares about us, our families, and He hears our prayers (1 Peter 5:7). He says “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). He watches over us day and night and protects us (Psalm 32:7; 91:1-7, 14). He delivers us when we call upon Him (Psalm 50:15). He knows what we are going to say before we even say it (Psalm 139:4). He sent us His wonderful and precious Holy Spirit to help us, teach us everything, guide us into all truth and comfort us (John 14:26; 15:26).
In encouraging us to go out and share the Good News to the world, our Lord Jesus reminded us not to be afraid of anyone, but to share with boldness and without fear (2 Timothy 1:7). He further reminded us of our identity by saying that we are precious in God’s eyes, who knows the very numbers of our hairs, and even notices when a tiny, little sparrow falls. How precious and special are we to Him if we “are of more value than many sparrows”? (Matthew 10:27-31).
Brothers and sisters in Christ, the Lord Jesus loves His children very much. If you love the Lord and at any time you feel worthless and are in doubt about your life, remember that you are a precious in His sight (Isaiah 43:4). We, as believers, all have a purpose here on Earth as we await the Lord’s return, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10 NKJV).
How to Value Yourself and Others
As followers of Jesus Christ, we should not engage in the sins and wicked practices of the world, for these only show that we do not value ourselves or God who created us and sent His Son to die for us (1 Corinthians 6:16-17). Immorality and sexual sins are so pervasive in today’s culture, and many treat themselves and others as if they are worth nothing. Brothers and sisters, this is very displeasing to the Lord: “Flee from sexual immorality… You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies” (1 Corinthians 6:18-19). The Bible is very clear that the wages of sin is death – everlasting damnation with no hope whatsoever (Romans 6:23; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Revelation 21:8). Also, remember “The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts”( Romans 13:12-14).
Sharing the gospel is a good way to show that you value others. Some people reject correction and the gospel of Jesus Christ as some of the Jews that Paul preached to did; those who reject the Good News show that they do not consider themselves worthy of eternal salvation (Acts 13:46). Believers and followers of the Lord Jesus have been appointed for eternal life, and we are thus called to obey the Word of God and work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12; Acts 13:48).
People in the world are comfortable judging others based on the outward criteria as we mentioned previously, but believers in Christ should heed the Lord’s warning not to judge and favor people based on their outward appearance (1 Samuel 16:7). In Church, some who are dressed well or of higher social class often get treated with special privileges while the poor are treated with contempt (James 2:2-4). The Bible warns us against such discrimination and instead encourages us to treat people fairly (Leviticus 19:15) and serve others just as the Lord Jesus served us (Matthew 20:25-28).
Some politicians and business leaders are known to hurt others by demeaning them if they are poor, less educated, or from a less prosperous home or country. We must forgive and pray for these leaders. However, we must not fear them because we serve a Mighty God who comforts us (Isaiah 51:12-13). Please never forget that no matter what nation of people you come from, you are beautiful and made in God’s image (Genesis 1:26). When you are a child of God, your leader is the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord values you and is able to deliver you from all oppression including giving you the power, ideas, and ability to get wealth and sustenance (Deuteronomy 8:18) as He is your Provider (1 Chronicles 29:12; Psalm 145:16; Philippians 4:19), as well as actually delivering you from “slavery” just as He did with the children of Israel. He gives true riches and as you stand firm in Him, one day He will grant you an everlasting inheritance and much treasure. Hold on to the hope that children of God will be transformed into His likeness and He will reign over us as Prince of Peace, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords forever (1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Revelation 11:15)! He says in Proverbs 8:17-21
I love those who love me,
And those who seek me diligently will find me.
Riches and honor are with me,
Enduring riches and righteousness.
My fruit is better than gold, yes, than fine gold,
And my revenue than choice silver.
I traverse the way of righteousness,
In the midst of the paths of justice,
That I may cause those who love me to inherit wealth,
That I may fill their treasuries.
The Lord loves His children, and He is faithful and desires us to treat others with love (Matthew 7:11-12). We should also remember that “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 NKJV), and that “God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him” (Acts 10:34-35). Additionally, the Apostle Paul warns Christians to “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4 NKJV). We should, therefore, be encouraged to value ourselves and others. The Bible says that followers of the Lord Jesus Christ are “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9 NIV).
Since God speaks so many words of life over us through His Word, our lives should be more joyful and fruitful as we agree with Him on our true identity, and strive to speak life over ourselves and others (Proverbs 18:21). Remember, when Moses doubted his speaking skills, the Lord was there to affirm him and let him know that He would be with him and help him (Exodus 3:12; 4:10-12). In the same way, God is with His children and will help us (Isaiah 41:13; 43:2; Matthew 28:18-20), “for we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15 NKJV).
In Part 2 of Our True Value and Identity in Christ message, we will explore the dangers of not knowing your true identity, examples of Bible characters who struggled with their identity, and how our true identity can only be found in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Yours Truly, in Christ
Abes and Janet.