Within today’s culture exists an insatiable need to prove self-worth and value by being the best. From cereal boxes to politics, we're bombarded with claims of superiority on a daily basis. As a result, some endeavor under the constant pressure to prove their worth to the world, to themselves and, yes, even to God.
Admittedly, we all want to feel secure in our relationship with the Lord. Sometimes just below the surface of serving God lies our very real need to feel valued. For any who dare to admit, it's an unpleasant and exhausting place to find yourself and not always easy to detect. Unfortunately, it's simply the human condition to which we're all prone.
Even the 12 disciples struggled with this train of thought: “Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest” (Luke 9:46). Jesus responded saying, “for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great” (Luke 9:48). Jesus taught them that His value system is different — that it was not and is not and never will be about being “greater.” You'd think the disciples would've understood, but later during Passover, they began arguing again over who would be the greatest (Luke 22:24-26). It goes to show how strong this way of thinking is embedded within the human makeup.
At its core, I believe it's caused by a fundamental misconception of how we think God loves us. We do not have to earn God’s love — we never could even if we tried. We'll never fully comprehend our value to God and his great love for us: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Although this verse has been widely used, its place and meaning go far beyond the posters you see held up during a football game. The author of life, the omnipresent, ever-benevolent God of Gods, the great I AM, gave His son Jesus … to you.
It's one thing to give your own life (as Jesus did) but it is another thing completely to offer the life of your child. As a parent myself, I cannot fathom love so great that it surpasses the love for one’s child, allowing him to not only die, but to do so in a gruesome, humiliating, and dreadfully painful manner. God did this because the caliber of His love for us is far beyond anything we could ever imagine. His love is great.
Jesus let His disciples know that they were all valuable to him, “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:29-31).
Surely Jesus, in defining our value could've used a more dignified unit for comparison, something more respectable like gold. So why didn’t He? You see, Jesus wanted to portray the insignificance of the sparrow. You could buy two of them for less than a modern day penny; they were literally a dime a dozen. Nobody cared about them, but Jesus did. He says that not one of them dies “without your Father,” or in other words, not one of them dies without the Lord taking note of it and allowing it.
Then he goes on to express that we are worth “many sparrows.” If we wonder “how many sparrows?” then we are falling right back into the worldly attitude of hoping we're worth more than someone else. We cannot draw our comfort from being better — that's why Jesus didn't say how many. It was only to convey that if Jesus cared so much about something that was so irrelevant, then how much more does He care for us? If He cares so much about something that is purchased for less than a penny, how much more does he care for you who was purchased with His blood?
If we don’t earn God’s love, and if we don’t provide something of worth to Him, then why does He love us so much?
The answer is actually quite simple … because we are His creation. Ask any mother who holds her child for the first time why she loves her baby. The child has done absolutely nothing to please her. He has provided no service of worth. The only thing he's done is cause nine months of discomfort and unspeakable pain during labor. So why does she love her child? Simply because he's hers.
This is why God loves you. Any good we have is because God gave it, and any ability or talent that we hold is only because God has allowed it. King Benjamin spoke, “Ye cannot say that ye are even as much as the dust of the earth; yet ye were created of the dust of the earth; but behold, it belongeth to him who created you” (Mosiah 2:25). When we understand that God loves us because of what we are (His creation) and not because of what we do (abilities, performance), it alleviates the pressure and insecurity to prove our worth and allows us to be confident in Christ. It provides us the freedom to approach Him with all our concerns and imperfections without fear of judgment — to know we were made in His image and are children of the most high. This allows us to be ourselves.
God created you to be you. He doesn’t want us all to be the same, and He wants each of us to be a “godly” us. When this takes root in our heart, it empowers us to take real joy in the blessing of others without feeling like, “Why doesn’t God use me that way?” or “I’ll never be like Brother or Sister So-and-so.” We can thank God and be blessed securely knowing that our place is just as important to God. This empties our heart and allows the pure love of God to pour in. Adoration and real love for God comes when we understand how great His love is for us and how undeserving we are of it.
We don’t want to be the product of what others think.
We want and need to be … the product of God’s love.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.