I have a dear friend with whom I met for coffee at Purdy’s on a weekly basis before all the shutdowns. It’s hard at this phase of life to make time to get together, but our talks about life, faith, and becoming adults leave me encouraged and refreshed. One of the things I appreciate most about our conversations is that she’s a contemplative deep thinker. One afternoon, over beekeepers and caramel macchiatos, she said, “I’ve been thinking a lot about self-worth, and all the wrong places I have found it.”
Obviously, I know the Sunday School answer to the question of where we find our worth. But at that moment I was forced to get honest with myself. Like many women, I have found some measure of worth in my looks. The more I conform to the images in magazines, the better I feel about myself. I have found worth in my achievements: good grades, awards, even just praise from others. I have found worth in relationships, both health and unhealthy. But here’s the thing:
We find our true worth in Christ.
Why? There are several ways that everything else falls short as an indicator of worth.
Everything Else Fades
If you think about it long enough, you’ll realize all the things I mentioned above (and more) will fade away one day. Looks don’t last. I’ll get old one day, sporting wrinkles and grey hair no matter how hard I try to avoid it. Trophies collect dust, and words of praise are like a vapor: here one moment and gone the next. Relationships end, and sometimes that’s a good thing. But even marriage and family relationships sometimes let us down. Only God and his kingdom last: “The Lord is king forever and ever; the nations perish from his land.” Psalm 10:16.
Everything Else is Never Enough
Ever notice that the moment you get what you want, it suddenly isn’t enough? Maybe it’s just me, but I have a feeling it isn’t. Soon after you get that award, that promotion, or that A+, the giddiness wears off and you come down from the high, asking, “now what?” You earn more money, and suddenly you’re wondering how to acquire even more wealth. You go down a clothing size, and you’re envisioning going down another and another. But do you ever stop and long for something that truly and completely satisfies? We are all thirsty for something; don’t you want your thirst to be quenched once and for all?
That, my friends, is only found in Jesus. Unlike anything else, He is once and for all, always enough. “But whoever drinks the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again,” he told the woman at the well, who had spent years trying to find her worth in the love of men. “The water I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14)
We know Jesus is the answer to all our questions and longings. But where do we start? How do we begin to dismantle all the false sources of self-worth and turn to Him instead? Simple.
Remember Who You Are
Maybe more accurately, remember whose you are. The Word promises over and over that we belong to God, and we are forever safely His. “For I am convinced,” says Romans 8:38-39, “that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Another friend recently reminded me that no matter what happens in this difficult season, the worst thing that could ever happen to me, eternal condemnation, has been taken care of on the cross. That, and nothing else, is the definition of our worth.
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