Image by 2040-cars.com
The time arrived to sell my first car, a yellow 1964 Falcon Futura, much like the one above, so to save every cent for the next vehicle I consulted a friend in the car business. I wanted a dollar figure on its worth, but he surprised me, "Tim, the car is worth as much, and no more, than you can get a person to pay for it." The implications of that concept have followed me for decades, and they directly impact the level of our intimacy with God. Our intimacy directly connects to the depth of our connection.
However, we tend toward two extremes on determining our self worth. First, many think the universe revolves around them. They approach life with arrogance and superiority and look down on others. These narcissists rarely need anyone, except how they benefit them. Spiritually, they often think they know better than God how to best live life.
Second, others have such a low self worth they battle depression, struggle to find a purpose in life. Ironically, they often become quite competitive, striving to find worth in being better than others in at least one field. That was me for too many years. They also struggle in relationships, wondering why anyone would want them. Spiritually, they often think of themselves as guilt-ridden and helpless.
So, that's the problem: neither work very well. The solution comes from the apostle Paul, "Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment" (Romans 12:3).
Let's break that down. Don't think of yourself too highly--that invalidates the first extreme, doesn't it? Than you ought to think--or, you should have a high view of yourself, but not too high. That invalidates the second.
Now, what should be the foundation of our self worth? A Christmas carol reveals the secret! Last week I posted a link to the group Home Free singing "O Holy Night," (http://rare.us/story/this-a-cappella-version-of-o-holy-night-will-take-your-breath-away/), and the third and fourth lines provide the key:
"Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth"
We yearn for self worth with ineffective methods--that's line three. Four gives the solution, and it links to my Falcon story. Where do we get self worth? From what God willingly paid for us--his son. I don't recall the worth when I sold my Falcon, but I do know the worth God places on me. And on you. And on every human. We all have equal worth, don't we?
We think too highly of ourselves when we believe we have more worth than others. We don't think of ourselves as we ought when we think we have less value than anyone else. The reason for this--Christ came and died for the world. Not just Americans. Not just us "good guys." For all.
Think about the implications for spiritual intimacy with God. When we become aware of the value God places on us, shouldn't that improve our appreciation of him? When we become aware of the value God places on all, shouldn't that improve our treatment of others?
Kick Starting the Application
First, follow the link and listen to the song. Prayerfully. Thoughtfully. Then think a bit of your source of self worth. Has that worked for you? Why or why not? How do you view others in relationship to yourself? Do you value them equally? Why or why not? How can you focus on that line, "till he appeared and the soul felt its worth?"