November 10, 2019 Self-Worth is Only Found in Christ

Self-Worth is Only Found in Christ

No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
    25    “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
    26    “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?1

These are the words of our Lord Jesus Christ in his famous Sermon on the Mount. The blessed teaching of our Lord here and the verses following has to do with two matters: Not devoting ourselves to wealth and not worrying. The Lord only says something incidental to these things, yet it is of great importance in the way we view ourselves and for our emotional well-being.

In verse 26 the Lord asks a rhetorical question: “Are you not worth much more than birds?” The question answers itself. The answer is an unquestionable “Yes!”

We must take notice that we are worth something to God! We are worth more than birds. Is that what Jesus said? Actually, no. He didn’t say that we were worth more than birds. He said that we were worth much more than birds!

In order to be emotionally healthy we have to pattern our thoughts and beliefs upon God’s thoughts. And, God has revealed his thoughts in his holy word. The more our thoughts align with God’s, the more fulfilled we will find ourselves. This is because ideas have consequences. When we believe things that are not true we are led astray. 

I am compelled to address the subject of self-worth.  The dictionary defines self-worth as “the sense of one’s own value or worth as a person.” It is not the same as self-esteem. One psychology website provides this distinction:

Although, self-worth is often used as a synonym for “self-esteem,” Dr. Lisa Firestone believes that self-worth should be less about measuring yourself based on external actions and more about valuing your inherent worth as a person. In other words, self-worth is about who you are, not about what you do.2


In my opinion, there is far too much talk about self-esteem. I think it is possible to have a high esteem of yourself, based upon your accomplishments, while still not valuing yourself.

Self-worth is important because when we assess our own worth lowly this results in emotional problems like depression. Depression has other causations, such as lack of purpose and unfulfilled desires, but low self-worth may also lead to poor emotional health.

“It is difficult to make a man miserable while he feels worthy of himself and claims kindred to the great God who made him.”  - Abraham Lincoln

There is tremendous wisdom in that short quote! And this one:

"A man cannot be comfortable without his approval." ~Mark Twain

How do most people value their own worth? They do it one of two ways. Most often they assess themselves by how someone close to them, someone they love, values them. However, this is not a good source for our own self-worth.

It is true that when we are loved by another then we feel secure, we feel needed, and we feel valued. Not only are those things true, but we were created by God to love and be loved. When we enter into close relationships with others we have a sense of fulfillment because God is love and we were created as image-bearers of God!

Even though these things are true and good, when we measure our self-worth by the love of another person then things can go amiss.

[1.] If we base our self-worth on the love of another person, what happens when that person stops loving us?  When a person who we think loves us, say our spouse or a boyfriend/girlfriend, cheats on us or, even if we perceive that they no longer love us, or if we perceive that they love us less, then our own self-worth diminishes, sometimes greatly. Indeed, our self-worth can die altogether if it is based on the love of another.

[2.] What about a situation where our loved one remains faithful? Even better, they remain faithful and they express their love throughout the relationship. This, of course, is God’s plan for married persons. When this is the situation life is much better. 

But, what happens when that person dies? One spouse always outlives the other (except in rare incidents where they both die together in an accident or natural disaster). Since one spouse is going to die first, if the surviving spouse has their self-worth attached to the other person then the result will be the same. Their self-worth will depreciate, sometimes greatly because their foundation is gone.

[3.] There is yet another difficulty with basing our self-worth on the love of another, even if they continue to love us, express their love, and then we die at the same time.  What if their assessment of who we are is wrong? You must know that there are many truly despicable people who are loved by others. There are child molesters, wife-abusers, drug dealers, drunkards, and all manner of criminals who are dearly loved and even looked up to by someone. One person’s love for another is no good indication of the other person’s worth. You may well say, “Pastor, I’m not a child molester. I don’t abuse by wife. I don’t take drugs. I don’t get drunk.” I hope not! But the point is not whether you do wicked things, but the point is that one person’s love for another does not signify the worth of that person. And neither is your worth determined by what you do.

So, we see that looking to another person for our own self-worth is fraught with peril.

[4.] I said that there were two ways that people value their own self-worth. One way is through the love of another. The other way is through their own affirmation of it without respect to anyone else.

One step in having a good sense of our self worth is knowing its importance. Self-help guru, Marsha Ferrick, said this:

Self-worth is what is at the very core of our human existence, no matter what our circumstances are.

If one is able to see the importance of self-worth and not have it depend upon our achievements (a common trap) nor on others’ valuation of us, then we can have a positive self-worth. I think this is the better road than the first. However, there are still problems with it. First, what would are self-worth be based upon? We may think that it is important. But just because something is important doesn’t mean that we understand it properly. If our self-worth is good yet it is not based on anything other than a sense of importance then it is quite tenuous. We may find that it doesn’t last.

Second, the same problem arises with self-affirmation as does with looking to another person for our sense of self-worth. What if our assessment is wrong? What if we think we have self-worth but we actually do not?

[5.] I tell you, if our self-worth is based on anything other than Christ then it is both uncertain and temporary.

Our self-worth is only found in Christ. Our worth is in him in three glorious ways.

First, Christ is the Creator and because he created us we have worth.

For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 4

The “him” in this verse is Christ. All things were created by the Lord Jesus Christ in his pre-incarnate state before the universe was. You were created by Christ! He created you and because he did you have worth, a worth that is “much more” than other created things, such as animals. 

But there is a awful problem. Our worth has been deeply and completely tarnished by sin. We have not lost our worth altogether. It is as if a beautiful and costly dress, made of the finest materials and designed by the most famous dress-maker in the world, was dropped into a cesspool that had the blood of murderers mixed in with human excrement. The blood stains could never be removed. The worth of that beautiful dress would never be the same.

If left to ourselves, our worth would forever be lost. But the Lord Jesus not only created us but, for those who have trusted in him and belong to him, he has redeemed us. He has taken away our sin and our guilt. He has purified us.

Finally, not only has he done these wonderful things, but the Scriptures teach that he selected us for these things from before the foundation of the world! If you belong to Christ then he thought of you before you were born. He loved you before he created you! This is amazing and it is true!

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 5

God the Father chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world! “In love” he predestined us for sonship through Jesus Christ.  This blessing is always and only in and through the Lord Jesus Christ. It is because the Father loved us that he predestined us! This speaks of grand and eminent worth!

If you have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ then these things can be said of you:

* You have worth because Christ created you.
* You have worth because Christ redeemed you.
* You have worth because the Father loved you before the foundation of the world!

Amber is fossilized tree resin, which has been appreciated for its color and natural beauty since ancient times. Much valued from antiquity to the present as a gemstone, amber is made into a variety of decorative objects. Although it is pretty, it is one of the least valuable gemstones.

An American tourist in Paris, who purchased an inexpensive amber necklace in a trinket ship, was shocked when he had to pay quite a high duty on it to clear customs in New York. This aroused his curiosity, so he had it appraised. After looking at the object under a magnifying glass, the jeweler said, "I'll give you $25,000 for it." Greatly surprised, the man decided to have another expert examine it. When he did, he was offered $10,000 more. "What do you see that's so valuable about this old necklace?" asked the astonished man. "Look through this glass," replied the jeweler. There before his eyes was an inscription: "From Napoleon Bonaparte to Josephine." The value of the necklace was high because it belonged to a famous person.

So it is with you if you belong to the Lord Jesus. Because you belong to him you are valuable! And, you can know your worth!

What ought we to do with this glorious truth? All we should do is not place our worth on the love of anyone else. Neither place your worth upon your own accomplishments nor even your own ideas.

You have self-worth not because of self but because you are in Christ! Thank him for this today and everyday. “Lord, I thank you that you loved me before the foundation of the world. Thank you that you love me now. Thank you that I am “worth much more!” Amen.” 

Say this prayer every day for the next week. Let your worth become real to you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Mt 6:24–26). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
2 www.psychalive.org/self-worth/
3 marshaferrickcoaching.com/importance-of-self-esteem/
4 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Col 1:16). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
5 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Eph 1:3–6). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.