Summary: We live in a culture where the price tags have been switched. So how do we know what we're worth?
“Getting A Clue: What Am I Worth?”
The Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard told a story of thieves who broke into a jewelry store but didn't steal anything; they simply rearranged the price tags. The next morning, the expensive jewelry was sold as junk, and the junk jewelry was sold as expensive. His point is obvious. We live in a world where someone has rearranged the price tags. As pastor Mike Glen wrote, "Nowhere is this switching of price tags more evident than in the area of self-esteem. In our culture, people are valued for how they look, what they can do or even what they have, but rarely for who they are. In our world, you have to be beautiful by mathematical standards, entertaining), and if you are not, the world has no place for you. If you can't make the Top 100 in the world on some list, you are nothing. This pressure on self-esteem has devastating consequences in the lives our young adults. Young men commit heinous acts just to prove to someone they are a man. Young women get involved in destructive relationships because they are told they are nothing if they do not follow the culture's standards.” (1)
Additionally the advance of secularism and the onslaught of co-called sexual freedom has taken a horrific toll how people feel about themselves. One writer described it as tsunami that has knocked down and carried away most all the markers of our identity(2) : marriage and family, objective right and wrong, respect for people and for human life. Life has been cheapened and devalued. It’s no wonder lack of healthy self-worth has reached epidemic proportions. That’s why an answer to today’s question is so critically important.
We get our clues from Paul’s letter to the Church in Ephesus, the first chapter. Before saying anything about behavior and action, Paul spends three chapters reminding us of our worth. There are at least five truths Paul wants us to know. First, know that A PRIZE HAS BEEN AWARDED TO YOU. Verse 4: “For he chose us…” …” The choosing is God’s effort, not ours. Jesus said (Jn. 6:44) “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him…” We believe in Jesus Christ not so we can be chosen but because we already chosen.
Paul continued, “For he chose us in him…” Did you hear the good news? He chose us in Christ – period! You are CHOSEN BY GOD BY GRACE. You didn’t have to earn it, beat out others to get to it, or build an acceptable resume – He chose you because…He chose you. Growing up I was the youngest boy in the neighborhood. That guaranteed that when teams were chose for anything, I was usually last – and then sometimes chosen only if the teams were uneven. Perhaps that’s why I appreciate that God makes the choice and that He makes it by grace. OUR WORTH IS NOT A REASON FOR GOD TO ACCEPT US – IT IS THE RESULT OF GOD ACCEPTING US. As Charles Spurgeon once put it, “I’m glad God chose me before I was born; he certainly wouldn’t have chosen me after.”
“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world…” Think about it – we were, wrote Paul, chosen before the creation of the world!
It’s not that God created a world and then created people to dwell in it and then chose his favorites – no He chose us first and then created a world for us! What a thought! Someone has put it this way: BEFORE THERE WAS A PLACE FOR THE UNIVERSE IN GOD’S HAND THERE WAS A PLACE FOR ME IN GOD’S HEART!
Furthermore, Paul said, (4): “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” WE ARE CHOSEN TO BE HOLY. God is making us whole and holy by his love. Our holiness, or wholeness, or wholesomeness, is not something we need to attain. A young man once studied violin under a world-renowned master. The time arrived for the student’s first recital. Following each selection, despite the cheers of the crowd, the performer seemed dissatisfied. Even after the last number, with the shouts louder than ever, the talented violinist stood watching an old man in the balcony. Finally the elderly one smiled and nodded in approval. Immediately the young man relaxed and beamed with happiness. You see, the old man in the balcony was his teacher; thus the applause of the crowd meant nothing until he had first won the approval of his master. The applause – or lack of applause – from the crowd around us means nothing. WE HAVE THE APPROVAL OF THE MASTER – and we didn’t have to play perfectly to gain it! Embrace your prize – claim your status. You are chosen by God and are holy in his sight.