"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. - John 3: 16 (ESV)
As we settle down for the American past time of Thanksgiving we ought to pause and reflect about the many things we truly have to be thankful for. This is a very cold and unforgiving world and the enemy is constantly trying to get us to focus on what we do not have. The married person envies the freedom of the single person. The single person envies the companionship and love the married person has. The poor person envies the rich. The angry person envies those with peace. It is all distraction because the enemy knows this simple fact - if we are looking at what we do not have then we cannot be truly thankful for what we do have. Even within our faith we see this cosmic struggle play out. As Christians the devil shows us all the time what we do not have. A better job, more money, and easier life. The church unfortunately has joined hands in this by preaching the false purpose driven gospel that erroneously tells everyone they have some grand purpose designed before the foundations of the earth were laid. The truth is a little less grandiose. Sometimes our purpose is rather mundane. That does not mean it is not important to God, just that it may not make for a terrific action movie. Sometimes it is to be a faithful spouse or a God-honoring employee. Sometimes it may even be to die for the cause of Christ. Preach that on Sundays. Celebrate that.
We must understand beloved, the enemy goes to these lengths because he knows if we are constantly looking for something we do not have then we cannot be thankful to God for what we already have. The person without a family would be quite satisfied by the family we have but overlook. The person without a job might be quite content with the job we take for granted. The person who goes to sleep alone every night might only dream to have the loving spouse we do not appreciate. And what about Calvary? When did eternal life become an afterthought? If God does nothing else for me the rest of my life He has already done everything. Our value is not found in possessions, income, or lifestyle. It is not found in the opinions of other people who have equally wicked and deceptive hearts as we do. Our value is found in the key verse today. For God so loved you that He sent His only Son to die the death you deserved. That all may have eternal life through faith in Him. Think about that for a moment. The Creator of all, who spoke the entire universe into existence, was willing to sacrifice His only Son so that He might be reconciled unto you.
Despite this we allow how other people view us or interact with us to determine how we see our own value. Why didn't I get that promotion? Why did I get that job? Why doesn't he like me? Why did she break up with me? There must be something wrong with me is too often the default answer and how profoundly sad is that? God Almighty has already determined our worth with such an unfathomable display of love yet we allow a mere mortal man or woman to make us feel worthless. We allow a mere mortal man or woman to make us doubt ourselves, feel less than a person, feel anxious, depressed, reduced. Beloved do not let it be so. This is how God explains your value:
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. - Psalm 139" 13-15 (ESV)
Beloved, God formed even the most inward parts of you. He knitted you together within the womb of your mother. He made you fearfully beloved. We hear that but might not know what God is saying. The Hebrew word hear translates as great reverence, heart-felt interest and with respect. The Lord of the entire universe made you with great respect and reverence! He deserves no less in return. The word wonderfully means unique, set apart, and marvelous. Beloved that is your value to God! You are marvelous! You have been set apart from the futility of this world and as such, you must refuse to be judged by it. You must refuse to have this world or any act of carnal man set your value. Did you ever wonder sometimes why it is so hard to "meet the right person?" You were made uniquely! There is no one like you. That is the value of being set apart as God's child. So does this mean we are puffed up? It should not. The only thing that should exceed our value is our humility. Why? Because God did not have to do these things. Our value is only in Him and His Word commands us:
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? - Micah 6: 8 (ESV)
The Lord requires from us justice, kindness and humility. Our value is not a source of pride but rather protection from the lies of the enemy and cruelness of this world. Beloved God has provided us with everything in this life but we have to be wise enough to stay in His Word so that we do not forget it. The world and the enemy will constantly try to distract us away from the truth. God has provided us with so many blessings yet we think we are worth less than two sparrows. God has provided us with eternal life but we must remember these truths when the times seem the darkest. God has provided us with value beyond human measure but we must hold fast to that in the face of worldly rejection, judgment and even the traitorous nature of our naturally wicked and deceptive hearts. Sometimes we are our own worst enemy. Looking for any reason to feel worse about ourselves. Any reason to doubt our value. Any reason to be less. Any reason to read the inconsistencies and character shortcomings of others as deficiencies in who we are. We should not cheapen what God has placed such great investment and value in. We should humbly remember He is God. He is in control. He has fearfully and wonderfully made us. Not to be a braggart but to be a humble reflection of His divine kindness and justice. This Thanksgiving, let us reflect for everything He has given us and done for us. Let us never forget how much we are worth to Him and promise ourselves to never allow anyone, including ourselves, to cheapen that. In Jesus Name.
Happy Thanksgiving to all.