What is Your Self-Worth? (Article 19-6)
How much is something worth? The answer is deceptively simple to define. In economic terms, "something is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it". This stark reality rings true in our world’s day-to-day business dealings. But now allow me to ask, how much do you feel you’re worth? After all, is it not reasonable to apply this same question of personal “value” to ourselves since we too are tangible items fixed to an economic system of governing principles?
We Are Fighting a Losing Battle. The crux of my above question is asking how you believe you “measure up” relative to what the world defines as a valuable person. In other words, isn’t our perceived self-worth based on how others value us? For example, our self-worth may be connected to the type of job we have; our physical appearance; how much money we make and have in our bank accounts; the assets we own; relationships; intellectual capacity and achievements; degrees we’ve been awarded; or even our social media followings. Is not our sense of self-worth tied to our level of self-esteem – that being our sense of our own personal value as a person? In a nut shell, the world conditions us to assess our self-worth by “who we are” rather than “what we are”. The problem is that this type of thinking involves measuring oneself against others, rather than paying attention to one’s intrinsic value. Our competitive culture tells us we need to be special to feel good about ourselves. In this sense, searching for self-worth by constantly comparing ourselves and measuring up to others is fighting a losing battle - for our value is measured against ever-changing sets of evaluation criteria.
The World’s Answer to Improving Self-Worth. Popular psychology theorists lead us to believe that building self-worth begins with not comparing ourselves to others and listening to that ugly little voice that constantly nags us about achieving or possessing more things. In short, theorists believe it’s just a matter of us not listening to that critical and nasty coach within that shapes our self-perception, that leads to an improved self-perception, thus self-worth. It suggests too that it's controlling our “inner voices”, that stops our self-destructive or maladaptive behaviors, that make us feel bad about ourselves. This sounds like a reasonable approach, doesn’t it? Well, in part it does but in total it is not a sound approach. Why? First it is important to remember that as believers we know there is no truth in us. If you believe this to be true, then we know there is no foundation to build on that leads to an increase sense of self-worth. If you don’t believe this to be true, then I ask what measuring stick will you use to conclude you are in fact valuable and will remain valuable in the world’s eyes?
Only God Defines Our Worth. Yes, I do believe you need to stop listening to the world-based inner voices that you may be using to define your self-worth (and the worth of others); however, very importantly, I encourage you to listen to your inner "spiritual" voice that speaks to the fact that only our “Maker” defines our personal worth. Christ addresses our worth in Luke 12:6 when He asks the rhetorical question “6 Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins?" Christ then answers His own question by stating “not one of them is forgotten before God.” Christ tells us in this verse that a single sparrow, a bird of little value and worth, is taken notice and care of by our loving Father in Heaven. The sparrow has its life from God, and is protected and preserved by Him and only Him. Second, we should never forget that nothing can be done to the sparrow without His permission. God’s providence reaches to the minutest creatures on earth.
Based on the above verse, Christ entices us to reflect on how much God values even the smallest of His creations, but most importantly how much more God values the greatest of His creations - you and I. These points are bolstered in Luke 12:22-34, where Christ states “24 Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds? … 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 If then God so clothes the grass, which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith?” In these verses we are again reminded of our worth, and that we are so valuable that God cares for our every need. We need not be concerned about anything. God infinitely loves and values us to an incomprehensible level of understanding. “It is He who made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture” (Psalm 100:3). If it is He who made us, how logical is it that we turn to others to determine our self-worth? As powerful as the above verses are in concluding our value to God, it pales in comparison to what John 3:16 reveals. For it says “16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
So, Again I Ask "How Much Are You Worth"? So, let me again ask the question of you, what is your worth and resulting sense of self-worth? After all, if we default to the economic principle that the value of something is determined by what someone is only willing to pay for it, then is it not logical and only fair to ask how valuable are we to God. What price did God pay to possess us as His own? In answering this question, it is my hope that you conclude that the value God affixes on you is beyond comprehension. You and I are priceless in the eyes of our Savior and Father in Heaven.
The only question that now remains is whether you decide to allow the world to define your self-worth or the worth our Father places on you?
So again, I ask, what do you believe is your self-worth and equally important to ask, what value do you place on other people – family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, the homeless, the destitute, and the lost? For if God values us all in the same way, should we not (as believers) value them in a same manner?