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Despite no good in and of ourselves, we all have value that is given to us by God. In terms of common grace, all of us are created in the Image of God according to Genesis 1:27. Each of us is hand-made by God.
"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well" (Psalm 139:13-14).
Jesus states the following in Matthew 10:29-31:
"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."
We all merit respect for human dignity based on God creating us and should grant such respect to our fellow man on the same basis. It makes me think of Max Lucado's book You Are Special where the Wemmick named Punchinello learns that God loves him just as he is and it doesn't matter what others think.
Often, we give too much credence to what others think -- or even what we ourselves think. What matters is what God thinks. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 4:3, "I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself." Notice that he addresses both others and himself. Yet, some of us fall into basing our value on the thoughts of man.
What are you forfeiting your value for? Are you basing your value in worldly status and things or abasing your value in self-pity?
Are you basing your value on things -- the latest and greatest? Did Jesus have such things? In Matthew 8:20, Jesus says, "Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."
Are you seeking man's approval? In Matthew 6:1-4, Jesus says the following:
"Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."
Are you basing your value in a status symbol? Is your status saved by grace through faith in Jesus?
Are you seeking popularity? Regarding Jesus, Isaiah (53:2b-3) prophesied of Him:
"He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem."
Certainly people flocked to Him when they felt like they could get something out of Him, but in the end, He hung on the cross alone. And as He bowed His head after declaring, "It is finished," He showed the ultimate value of those who are in Him: "God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). Jesus found you worth dying for on the cross. You are special in His eyes, and how He sees you is all that matters.
We should ask that He give us a proper perspective of both ourselves and others. A helpful verse is Leviticus 19:18 (which is quoted by Jesus in Matthew 19:19): "Love your neighbor as yourself." Take notice of the phrase "as yourself." To put yourself down (deface yourself), you must focus selfishly on yourself, and this is self-centered and disobedient. Jesus calls us to deny ourselves (Luke 9:23 and Matthew 16:24). Further, how can you see God if you are always looking for the negative? Putting yourself down is negative; you aren't looking towards God when you put yourself down.
Likewise, you aren't looking towards God when you put others down, either. Consider James 2:2-4:
Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, "Here's a good seat for you," but say to the poor man, "You stand there" or "Sit on the floor by my feet," have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
Or perhaps you aren't putting anyone down, including yourself, but thinking too highly of yourself (which again is looking at self, not God). Consider 1 Corinthians 1:27-31:
But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things--and the things that are not--to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God--that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: "Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord."
Further, Romans 12:3 states the following:
"For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you."
Is anyone in less need of His grace now than yesterday? As the hymn goes, "I need Thee every hour." We have different talents, gifts, resources, colors, builds, personalities, preferences and pasts and we all need Jesus. He is the source of our value and the sustainer of our continued value. Are you looking at circumstances, people, status, or things? All of these will pass away. Or are you looking to Jesus Christ?
Ichthus Library: Personal Works