worth. value. identity

Worth. Value. Identity. These can be intimidating words if your life looks anything like mine used to look. I’m not sure where and when I lost it, but I know that I searched hard to find it. Before I met Jesus, I searched for some sense of meaning by trying to get people to value me. To be completely honest I still fall into that from time to time. I made really good grades, thinking that my grades would define me. People would think I’m smart, which would make them respect and value me. Good grades would get me a good job, which would get me money. I got it in my head that if I paper chased and got the money, my value and worth would increase. A very literal way to think about it, but it made sense to me. Then there’s the guys. If I had a guy that was loving and respecting me, valuing me and treating me as I should, then all would be well. I had the grades and was striving towards the rest, certain that when these areas were checked off, I’d finally feel valuable.

There’s a big problem with this way of thinking, though. The grades, the money, the love. All of these things could go away in the blink of an eye, beyond my control. Or an even more scary thought, they could all go away by my own mistakes, since it is all dependent on my choices and decisions. I think that we live in a society that shouts at us to define our own worth, throwing around words like “feminism “and say that as women, we have rights and value and worth. I agree, as women we absolutely do have rights and value and worth. But what about the homeless woman begging for change on the side of the interstate, begging for money because she can’t break her drug and alcohol addiction? She’s made some bad choices for herself, and the big movements forget about her. That’s because we say we should be valued for who we are, but so much of it is actually based on our decisions.

So what does it look like to be valued for who we are, and that alone? For our worth and value and identity to remain constant through our good and bad decisions? Look at Jesus. Look at what he did for you. Maybe it sounds cliche, or maybe its simply the truth.

As believers, we have a very real, very present enemy that is still around today. Scripture says he is the father of lies (John 8:44), so you better know that he’s going to whisper (or shout) lies to you constantly.

You’re not good enough. You’re too messed up. No one could possibly love you if they really knew you.

Sound familiar? These are lies that the devil has been telling me for as long as I can remember. He’s trying to steal my identity, diminish my worth and  lessen my value. And I bet he’s doing the same to you. But the question is, why? Go down this road with me for a second. God is love, and perfect love cast out all fear (1 John 4). Well, guess who was cast out of heaven? That’s right, the devil. He was a beautiful angel of God, until jealousy and pride got the best of him. Now, he is so scared that his time will come to an end that he attacks our worth and identity to keep us from God. He operates out of fear.

There’s a small passage of Scripture that I want to share with you. I’ve heard it and read it dozens of times, but the Lord showed it to me in a different light recently.

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil… The devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan!”                    Matthew 4:1,8-10

The enemy knew God’s plan all along. When Jesus was tempted by him in the desert, he tried to get Jesus to accept all the riches and kingdoms of the world. All Jesus had to do was bow to him and not go through with his future death on cross. The devil is so afraid of us knowing and operating in the worth we have from Christ, that he tried to stop it before it could be started. By offering Jesus what he did, he put a price on our lives  –  all the riches and kingdoms of the world. Well, by saying no, Jesus said, “They’re worth that and more. They’re worth my life.” This worth does not come from anything we can do- that would be pride. Pride in our good deeds, our generous works, pride in ourselves is something that God actually tells us is detrimental to our selves and our relationship with Him.

Our worth, our value, our identity in being a child of God is recognizing that Jesus gave His life for us, and also turned down all of the riches in the world for us. For me. For you. Jesus tells us that He would leave the 99 for the 1. That if all the other people in the history of the world were saved, He would do it all again to find you and save you. He would give up the riches offered to him, the kingdoms, the worldly glory. He would give up his own life and endure torture and a horrible, painful death, all for you. Well guess what? He did. He did this for you.

My friend, you are worth dying for. You are worth more than all the riches and gold and silver in the world. You are worth more than all the nations in the world. You are worth the life of the Son of God. You are worth every lashing that he endured, every thorn piercing on his head, every beating he received. Nothing you do or don’t do can take this identity from you who believes. No addiction or bondage you find yourself in is stronger than the love of Jesus and the price he paid for your life.

It has been said that actions speak louder than words, so when you hear the enemy telling you lies about yourself, remember the actions of Jesus. Your worth isn’t in anything you do, its in everything Jesus did.

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