This is a difficult post to write.
It’s not easy to admit the temptation to estimate my own personal value.
I know the truth in my head: Our value stems from our position as children of the loving, almighty God—the Lord of the universe and Creator of all things. I know that.
Sadly, my heart doesn’t always feel it. Somewhere in my life, I learned to believe that my value is derived from things I produce, my grades, my success, my pay.
It’s a battle I’ve fought for ages. Sometimes I feel I make progress, then I experience recurring flare-ups, spurred on by things like:
- The schoolmate who stopped being friendly when I started covering my paper during a test
- Struggles with a college calculus class when I couldn’t earn an A
- Below-market pay for jobs where I give everything I have
- An awkwardly absent “thank you” at the completion of a big project
- A sense that some appreciate what I do more than who I am
- Blog posts that don’t seem to reach many people
Let’s be honest. These are petty, selfish examples that reveal the shallowness of my own heart. Which is why this is so difficult to share. But I can’t bury the truth under a bushel and I don’t believe I’m the only one who struggles with this stuff.
My most recent flare-up seems worse than normal. It feels much harder, lasting far longer than I think it should. For some reason, I can’t seem to grab hold of the truth long enough to walk in it. Just when I think I get a grip, it all slips through my fingers.
Continuing My Journey Toward Value in Christ
Last week I read in a devotional from our church small group:
“The damaged self still wants to gratify its desires, while the spirit wants to draw close to God.”
The sentence stopped me in my tracks and moved me to spontaneous prayer. I cried out to God asking, “Lord—show me where I’m damaged as it relates to my personal value. Why can’t I overcome?”
In prayer, the Holy Spirit reminded me of my long-ago past, which shined light upon the root of the issue. Names, faces, and circumstances flooded my mind along with deliberate declarations of forgiveness toward those involved. There’s no need for grudge holding, in fact, I’d just like to be free from the grip of this stronghold. The offenses seem minor, even silly, this many years later, but they’ve managed to generate a lasting impact.
By revealing the root problem, the Lord helped me understand more about the battle. Like finding a small pebble in my sock that made it uncomfortable to walk, identifying the source allows me to dispose of it properly. Those small pebbles can be hard to dig out, however, and I knew my work wasn’t finished.
Since my value comes from Christ, I asked Him two bold questions:
“Do you value me, Lord? Will you show me?”
“My child,” I felt the Spirit whisper. “I gave my life for you.”
How could I have overlooked such an obvious act of love? Was I in such a selfish mindset that I could disregard Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross? A sob escaped while my hands covered my face. “Please forgive me, Lord,” I murmured, heartbroken at my own insolence.
Washing by the Word
Instead of meeting me with condemnation, a delightful sense of God’s favor flowed through my heart. Through His Word, He proclaimed His love and defined the value that He holds for His children:
- We are created in His image (Genesis 1:27).
- It is He who made us. We are His. We are His people (Psalm 100:3).
- He knit us together in the womb and calls us “fearfully and wonderfully made.” His works are wonderful (Psalm 139:13-14).
- He has loved us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3).
- Even the hairs on our head are numbered (Matthew 10:30).
- God so loved the world that He gave His only Son (John 3:16).
- We were bought with a price (1 Corinthians 7:23).
I felt my stony heart begin to melt as the truth resonated in my spirit. As the truth of God’s Word washed over me, I felt cleansed as if washed with water—just as Paul describes in Ephesians 5:26.
My damaged self (my flesh) desperately wants to find value through fleshly means. As the Word performed its cleansing work, I felt my spirit draw close to God and embrace His truth.
Yes. A breakthrough that feels amazing. Today I will walk in freedom and victory, realizing that the Lord and I may have to walk through a similar exercise again in the future. Our flesh is a tough monster to tame. Salvation happens in a moment but sanctification takes a lifetime. I’m grateful for the Lord’s patience and gentleness as He helps me again and again, as often as needed.
Be strengthened by His Word today!