There have been well over 100 posts on this blog by now. When a blog has that many posts, one of two things often happens: 1. There is no real main message, just a variety of messages based on whatever is going through the writer’s head that day, or 2. The messages generally revolve around a theme, but are so specialized and/or spread out that there is no summary.
A little bit of both has happened here, but it’s more of the second one, so in an effort to hash out the main purpose of this blog, here are its main points:
1. Though salvation is the greatest gift God offers us, I believe the second-greatest (and the most important one on earth) is the opportunity for a new identity as His son or daughter. This is a higher position than any we can hope to attain on earth and it is a gift, free for the taking, that we can never hope to earn. It also gives us the right to have a relationship with Him. In the Old Testament, people had to go through priests to get to God; in the New Testament, that veil is torn apart and we can all have that relationship.
2. Because it’s such a high position and we can’t earn it, there is no need to strive for a better position on earth. There’s nothing wrong with having a great job, lots of money, a passionate marriage, or wonderful kids, but it is always wrong to get your value from these things or to let the attainment or retaining of them to lead you into sin.
3. God is eternal and doesn’t change His mind. This means that if you take your value from Him, your value is assured and eternal. If you take it from achievements on earth, it will always be temporary; even if you beat everyone else, you will eventually be beaten and are still bound by the rules of the competition. If you take it from other religions, you’re stuck having to earn Heaven or that religion’s equivalent. If you take it from any inherent value as a person and not from God, you base it on your worth as the result of random chance in a world that will go on so long after you that your contributions are meaningless, making your value effectively zero. Only by taking your value in God can you have a real self-worth that lasts.
4. Everyone is equal in value before Him and it’s His opinion that matters. If He created the Universe and all that is in it, then our opinions of each other count for nothing compared to His opinion of us. And He’s so high above us that we’re all the same before Him, just as an elephant looking down on ants. None of our accomplishments matter as far as our self-esteem goes; all that matters is how He sees us and whether we accept that view of ourselves.
5. Your confidence in yourself can never be higher than your confidence in God. To take your value from what God says of you and give up taking your value from the things of the world, you have to have faith in Him. To have faith, you must know Him on a personal level. Otherwise, you’re replacing that from which you get your sense of self-worth with something flimsy or with nothing at all; when your value is tested, you’ll have nothing to lean on and will believe that taking your value from God is a bad idea, then go racing back to the things that used to give you your sense of self-worth.
6. No amount of achievement will ever be enough to satisfy you. There will always be another promotion to chase, always a better TV or phone to buy, always the next goal in savings, always the next hurdle in child-raising, always the next situation to navigate in a marriage…always the next something. If your value is based on anything but what God says of you, you will spend your entire life trying to earn and re-earn your value.
7. You enslave yourself to that which gives you a sense of self-worth. If it’s your job, you’ll work all the overtime you must in order to be the best employee you can be. If it’s being a friend, you’ll open yourself up to being taken advantage of. If it’s a romantic relationship, you won’t stand up for yourself if you’re being ill-treated and can’t possibly love the other person as God wants you to love them. If you get your value from God, you’ll feel a need to seek Him and so strengthen that value. God doesn’t want to take away your need for self-worth; He just wants to be your source for it.
Adam and Eve were created free. They enslaved themselves to sin and the world. Jesus died to set us free.