“O holy night! The stars are brightly shining. It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth. Long lay the world in sin and error pining ’til He appeared and the soul felt its worth. O thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn. Fall on your knees! O hear the angels’ voices! O night divine! O night when Christ was born! O night divine!”
– Placide Cappeau (original in French) & John Sullivan Dwight (English translation)
God, I spent some hours today contemplating and searching Your Word for the source of my worth. Not surprisingly, it’s You. 🙂
This topic’s been on my mind off and on recently because one, current generations have big problems with self-esteem (myself not excluded), and two, because I hear a lot of messages, including from strong Christians, about how everyone needs to recognize how valuable they are. Add to that The Greatest Showman‘s song “This Is Me” being stuck in my head…
I kept thinking about the lines, “for we are glorious,” “and I know that I deserve your love,” and “there’s nothing I’m not worthy of.” I think those words are right and wrong. After searching Your Word, I still think that. I think when we start with ourselves for our search for worthiness, it’s not there. But when we start with You, we find that we are very valuable.
God, I don’t think we (Your created and fallen humans) in our natural state deserve anything good. I mean, if we did, why is Hell our fate apart from You? Hell is justice; it’s what we deserve apart from Your redeeming grace. We don’t deserve Your love or affection; that’s what’s so amazing about grace! Why is Your love remarkable if it’s something we’ve earned and deserve?
That’s what’s so incredible about reality: we are valuable because You love us, not for anything we’ve done. You set Your image upon us when You created us. You sent Your only begotten Son, who is infinitely worthy, into this dark world to lay down His life for us, to conquer sin and death, and to raise us up with Him in resurrection. If something is valued at the price which is paid to possess it, You set our value at the very highest, Your own precious, perfect life.
Your love is not caused or affected by our deeds, and our value comes directly from Your love, unchanging, everlasting, forever true. That is the answer to our deepest questions – our value is exceedingly great because the value of Your life, Jesus, is beyond comprehension and exceedingly great. We are worthy of receiving love and grace from others – and they from us – because You, Lord, love us beyond comprehension and extend Your amazing grace to us. We are glorious because Your likeness is upon us and You are exceedingly glorious. We are unique and beautiful and have important purpose because that’s the way You, Creator and Sustainer, designed us. Ultimately, all our worth comes from You, and we have received it. We have nothing in ourselves of which to boast, but we have much, an overwhelming abundance, of things in You of which to rejoice! When we recognize our preciousness, we worship You and praise Your infinite preciousness because ours comes from Yours. And therefore it is sure.
To find our worth, we must start with Yours, follow its flow in Your majestic love through the dual conduit of Your exceptional mercy and grace into the flood of righteous blood poured out at Your cross, O Jesus our Savior, Your blood which cleanses us of all our worthless deeds, and finally to our souls, which You hold in Your hands and indwell by Your Holy Spirit. When we see truly the love with which You love us, all questions about our value are answered resoundingly.
I think where we often get mixed up is we try the reverse: we try to convince ourselves of Your love by assuring ourselves of our value. But that order is wrong; Your love comes first, and our worth is the result of that. If there was someone whom You did not love, maybe they would have no value. But no one like that exists.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
– John 3:16