How Do You Discover Your Worth (Value)?

What sets us apart from others in life? Why is it that some people take so long to find the real purpose of their lives? How can the meaning of life be found? We pursue the answers to these questions starting at a very young age and continue our quest through adulthood, until we are old. Our self-worth is too often based on what others think of us. We crave validation for who we are and long to be appreciated and adored. Many of us pursue excellence in sports, business success, possessions, good looks, music, entertainment, sex, relationships, wealth, good deeds (doing good to others). We perfect skills and other talents that we have developed over the years, yet we still feel empty inside. Why is there such a void? And what can we do to fill it? You may have everything – education, a good job, money, a comfortable lifestyle, and even a loving family surrounding you, but you’re still looking for that one elusive quality which will complete you.

IMG_7362

Growing up I didn’t have the opportunity to try different activities in order to find out what interested me or what I was  good at. The lifestyle that we had prevented my pursuit of sports, various studies or any other extra-curricular activities. I looked to my parents and other grownups to find my value and direction in life. When it was time for me to go to college, I ended up studying something that I didn’t like. This field of study was important to my parents and other influential people in my life, but not to me. I was forced to complete the four years of college, and yes, I did receive that darned degree! A few years later I went back to school, studied what I really liked and was pleased to discover that I’m actually good at it.

Even though I was finally doing what I loved, I was still not satisfied – there was a void inside, an emptiness within me that nothing could fill. Then God showed up in my life (you can read how this happened in two of my early posts under the titles: 1 – “My Dreams And Visions Become Reality” and 2 – “A Moment Of Epiphany”) and my perspective shifted from who I was to who He is.

While I was looking at life from the Lord’s viewpoint, I came across a pastor who was teaching online from Grace Gospel church. He shared the following: “We all have asked ourselves this question at one time or another, ‘What is the purpose and meaning of life?’ The good news is – Who you are is not for you to decide, it’s for you to discover.” I love how he summarized the meaning of our purpose and how it is connected to self-worth. Simple and right to the point.

To find what God has purposed for me, I planted myself in God’s word. The most powerful revelation was when I recognized my identity only in God, based on who he is, not on who I am. King Solomon (Prophet Sulayman), who wrote the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible, was a very wealthy man. He had wisdom beyond any man’s wisdom in his time or our time, and he was surrounded by beautiful women. He had palaces, the best food and wine, anything you can imagine. Yet he said the following in chapter 1: “Life under the sun”—Life lived as though all there is to life is what we can see with our eyes and experience with our senses—is meaningless. Why is there such a void?

He is realized that God created us for something beyond what we can experience in here-and-now. Solomon went on and said of God, “He has also set eternity in the hearts of men…” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). What this man of great wisdom is telling us is that everything we have in here-and-now will never give us what God has already planned for us. Again comes the question – Why do we continue to seek to guide our own lives, with the resultant emptiness, when instead we can choose to pursue God and His will for our lives? Doing so will result in our living life to the full, having the desires of our hearts met, and finding contentment and satisfaction. This is true because our Creator loves us and desires the best for us.

Those who live in the worry, anxiety, depression, and doubt born of their unbelief, find themselves exhausted after circling the world in an attempt to find their value and the one thing which would complete them. They are looking for deliverance and contentment. Unfortunately they come back empty handed because of their lack of knowledge of who they are in God and their identity in Christ. Their lack of faith results in defeat. Ignorance can lead to failure. But with God’s timing and mercy, it’s never too late.

Sometimes, the world yells at us, “You can never measure up!” That is because others see your worth through their own limited knowledge. But God’s knowledge is limitless. He whispers, “You are always enough.” He sees us as complete and worthy. Our God is a mighty God, who has never made anything or anyone worthless. The work of his hands is flawless. You are precious to Him. That is why he sent Jesus to take your place on the cross. You are loved by the Creator of the world and he made you with his own hands. The work of his hands (you) is valuable and worthy of His praise. Our true self-worth is in Jesus Christ.

(John 3:16)
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

He gave His own life up for us by dying on a cross, proving once for all time just how valuable we really are to God. Our identity rests in Him alone. Our sins are covered by the blood of Christ Jesus. No weapon can form against you and me to tell us otherwise.

Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” (Jeremiah 31:3)

His word tells us that God created us for a purpose. Our purpose in life is to be a blessing to others. I have learned the reason we are here on earth is to learn how to love God and His creation. Since God blesses us with His love, we cannot keep the blessing only to ourselves. We must share it with others. At the same time, we must stop allowing others to define us. Rick Warren once said, “Living by your value is a life with integrity – and you will be rewarded.”

I now know that I am not defined by the opinions of others, my feelings or my circumstances. Only God identifies me as His own. Once I learned of my position in Christ, the strongholds (worthless things) in my life came crumbling down. I refuse to compromise my values or bend the rules that are given to me by God. I will do my best to act in love. As it is, I am a work in progress. The process maybe slow, but I am surely moving in the right direction.

Real meaning in life is not found only by accepting Jesus as Savior (as amazing that is) but also by listening to his teaching and following Him as His disciple. Jesus replied to His disciples in Luke 10:27,  ”Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.”
As soon as we begin to obey His first command, everything else begins to fall into place. We are finally able to find the precious jewel (our value) right at home without circling the world. It may be discovered through a stranger, friend, neighbor, home church, or a loved one. No need to go too far. Just look for it with an open mind and heart as you go about your daily life.

From my own experience, I have a friendly suggestion: The next time you wonder about your identity, value, and worth, please don’t hesitate to open the Bible. Whether you are an unbeliever, a new Christian or a seasoned follower in the faith, the truth is found in the word of God. Soak in His word, spend some time with Him, and walk with Him in obedience to His commands. As you apply God’s word to your life, change starts to take place in you and in the lives of others around you. You begin to live in a place where you are a daily witness of God’s goodness and deliverance.

ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE VALUABLE AND WORTHY OF HIS SACRIFICE!

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How Do You Discover Your Worth (Value)?

What sets us apart from others in life? Why is it that some people take so long to find the real purpose of their lives? How can the meaning of life be found? We pursue the answers to these questions starting at a very young age and continue our quest through adulthood, until we are old. Our self-worth is too often based on what others think of us. We crave validation for who we are and long to be appreciated and adored. Many of us pursue excellence in sports, business success, possessions, good looks, music, entertainment, sex, relationships, wealth, good deeds (doing good to others). We perfect skills and other talents that we have developed over the years, yet we still feel empty inside. Why is there such a void? And what can we do to fill it? You may have everything – education, a good job, money, a comfortable lifestyle, and even a loving family surrounding you, but you’re still looking for that one elusive quality which will complete you.

IMG_7362

Growing up I didn’t have the opportunity to try different activities in order to find out what interested me or what I was was good at. The lifestyle that we had prevented my pursuit of sports, various studies or any other extra-curricular activities. I looked to my parents and other grownups to find my value and direction in life. When it was time for me to go to college, I ended up studying something that I didn’t like. This field of study was important to my parents and other influential people in my life, but not to me. I was forced to complete the four years of college, and yes, I did receive that darned degree! A few years later I went back to school, studied what I really liked and was pleased to discover that I’m actually good at it.

Even though I was finally doing what I loved, I was still not satisfied – there was a void inside, an emptiness within me that nothing could fill. Then God showed up in my life (you can read how this happened in two of my early posts under the titles: 1 – “My Dreams And Visions Become Reality” and 2 – “A Moment Of Epiphany”) and my perspective shifted from who I was to who He is.

While I was looking at life from the Lord’s viewpoint, I came across a pastor who was teaching online from Grace Gospel church. He shared the following: “We all have asked ourselves this question at one time or another, ‘What is the purpose and meaning of life?’ The good news is – Who you are is not for you to decide, it’s for you to discover.” I love how he summarized the meaning of our purpose and how it is connected to self-worth. Simple and right to the point.

To find what God has purposed for me, I planted myself in God’s word. The most powerful revelation was when I recognized my identity only in God, based on who he is, not on who I am. King Solomon (Prophet Sulayman), who wrote the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible, was a very wealthy man. He had wisdom beyond any man’s wisdom in his time or our time, and he was surrounded by beautiful women. He had palaces, the best food and wine, anything you can imagine. Yet he said the following in chapter 1: “Life under the sun”—Life lived as though all there is to life is what we can see with our eyes and experience with our senses—is meaningless. Why is there such a void?

He is realized that God created us for something beyond what we can experience in here-and-now. Solomon went on and said of God, “He has also set eternity in the hearts of men…” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). What this man of great wisdom is telling us is that everything we have in here-and-now will never give us what God has already planned for us. Again comes the question – Why do we continue to seek to guide our own lives, with the resultant emptiness, when instead we can choose to pursue God and His will for our lives? Doing so will result in our living life to the full, having the desires of our hearts met, and finding contentment and satisfaction. This is true because our Creator loves us and desires the best for us.

Those who live in the worry, anxiety, depression, and doubt born of their unbelief, find themselves exhausted after circling the world in an attempt to find their value and the one thing which would complete them. They are looking for deliverance and contentment. Unfortunately they come back empty handed because of their lack of knowledge of who they are in God and their identity in Christ. Their lack of faith results in defeat. Ignorance can lead to failure. But with God’s timing and mercy, it’s never too late.

Sometimes, the world yells at us, “You can never measure up!” That is because others see your worth through their own limited knowledge. But God’s knowledge is limitless. He whispers, “You are always enough.” He sees us as complete and worthy. Our God is a mighty God, who has never made anything or anyone worthless. The work of his hands is flawless. You are precious to Him. That is why he sent Jesus to take your place on the cross. You are loved by the Creator of the world and he made you with his own hands. The work of his hands (you) is valuable and worthy of His praise. Our true self-worth is in Jesus Christ.

(John 3:16)
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

He gave His own life up for us by dying on a cross, proving once for all time just how valuable we really are to God. Our identity rests in Him alone. Our sins are covered by the blood of Christ Jesus. No weapon can form against you and me to tell us otherwise.

“Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” (Jeremiah 31:3)

His word tells us that God created us for a purpose. Our purpose in life is to be a blessing to others. I have learned the reason we are here on earth is to learn how to love God and His creation. Since God blesses us with His love, we cannot keep the blessing only to ourselves. We must share it with others. At the same time, we must stop allowing others to define us. Rick Warren once said, “Living by your value is a life with integrity – and you will be rewarded.”

I now know that I am not defined by the opinions of others, my feelings or my circumstances. Only God identifies me as His own. Once I learned of my position in Christ, the strongholds (worthless things) in my life came crumbling down. I refuse to compromise my values or bend the rules that are given to me by God. I will do my best to act in love. As it is, I am a work in progress. The process maybe slow, but I am surely moving in the right direction.

Real meaning in life is not found only by accepting Jesus as Savior (as amazing that is) but also by listening to his teaching and following Him as His disciple. Jesus replied to His disciples in Luke 10:27,  ”Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.”
As soon as we begin to obey His first command, everything else begins to fall into place. We are finally able to find the precious jewel (our value) right at home without circling the world. It may be discovered through a stranger, friend, neighbor, home church, or a loved one. No need to go too far. Just look for it with an open mind and heart as you go about your daily life.

From my own experience, I have a friendly suggestion: The next time you wonder about your identity, value, and worth, please don’t hesitate to open the Bible. Whether you are an unbeliever, a new Christian or a seasoned follower in the faith, the truth is found in the word of God. Soak in His word, spend some time with Him, and walk with Him in obedience to His commands. As you apply God’s word to your life, change starts to take place in you and in the lives of others around you. You begin to live in a place where you are a daily witness of God’s goodness and deliverance.

ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE VALUABLE AND WORTHY OF HIS SACRIFICE!

Who Leads Our Steps?

I believe that God is the one who directs our steps. Some might say, “That is not always true.” Which is fine, we all have different opinions. Often these differences show up in close relationships such as marriage. Many married couples don’t have the same beliefs or think in the same way. On this topic, I clearly remember an incident which occurred in my own life a few years ago.

My husband and I were out for a weekend lunch near the beach. We were sitting in the sunshine, having a nice conversation over lunch. He was telling me how happy he was with his work. It was at a time in his life when it seemed like everything was falling into proper place for him. His hard work was finally paying off and he was extremely pleased with how life was providing the right connections with the right people at the right time. I told him that I was glad to hear it and that I was proud of his accomplishments. Then I continued by saying, “See Honey, God is navigating your life. He is directing you to the right people and guiding these connections on your life’s path.”

Surprisingly, he disagreed with me, saying, “God doesn’t direct us. He gives us free will, so we can choose and direct ourselves.” He said, “I have God’s peace because I believe in Him.” I said, “Yes! God gives us free will, but since we believe in Him, He is the one who directs our path. If God doesn’t direct us, we are lost. Those who don’t believe in God’s truth don’t experience His peace and wisdom, which is given to us through Jesus. We are unable to do anything without His lead.” We disagreed on the subject, so we both became quiet for a few moments.

I was kind of disappointed that we couldn’t see eye to eye on this matter. We walked side by side at the beach, then we headed for home. It didn’t take long for God to speak to us.

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As we approached the freeway, I noticed that for some reason, my husband was getting anxious. As we entered the freeway ramp, he suddenly accelerated. When the two lanes merged into one, I realized he was trying to pass a big SUV. He nearly collided with the SUV on the side of the car where I was sitting. It could have been a disaster! I screamed, “What are you doing?!” The guy in the SUV was looking at us in shock and anger. I was shaking. I yelled at him a bit and then stopped. I was surprised to feel a strong peace coming over me, calming me down. I felt as if someone was telling me there was a reason for what had just happened. My husband kept saying, “I am so sorry, I’m so sorry!!! I don’t know what came over me.” He didn’t understand why he would drive so recklessly, risking a serious accident. A few minutes later I realized what happened and why it happened. When we got home I shared these verses from the bible with him.

(Isaiah 48:17) “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go.”

God showed my husband that He is the one who directs his steps. Without His lead we are out of control. God drew back from my husband for a moment just to show him that without the leading of Holy Spirit, his life was out of control. The Lord is full of mercy; He corrects His children. We were very grateful to him for opening our eyes. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord…”
(Psalm 37:23)

As this verse clearly tells us, God leads the steps of those who believe in Him. God corrects us so that we will grow stronger in our faith, trust Him more and not rely on our own understanding. God does his part and we must do our part.
(Proverbs 3:5-6) “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Proverbs 16:9 says, “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.”

When we surrender our lives to God, it becomes His job to take full and complete care of our lives. Even the trivial things matter to Him. His Spirit (the Holy Spirit) is called the “Helper” in the Bible. His job is to help us in every step we take. Our job is to live a life in obedience to God – a life of integrity with love in our hearts.

In Psalm 32:8, God says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.”

We can go ahead lay out our plans, but must look to God to direct our steps. In other words, we ask for His will to be done in our decisions. Then we will be at the place where God wants us to be.

But what about those who do evil? Those whose words and actions are lead by the prince of evil, Satan. We must keep our distance from them and continuously pray for their salvation. “May the Lord our God get hold of them before they cause further harm. May they turn their eyes to Jesus and kneel before the cross. May His love rule in everyone’s hearts, that He may bring order and peace in the world. Amen!”

When we open the Bible, we see what we need to embrace, and also what we need to avoid to lead a fulfilling life. Everything, good or bad, is in the Bible. I’m so grateful that God graciously teaches us His will and provides us with His power. Glory to His authority and praise His precious name forevermore.

 

Haughtiness vs. Humility!

The Webster definition of pride is “ego”, a feeling that you’re more important or better than other people. But there are two different kinds of pride. The first is the pride that we feel when we are pleased with ourselves or someone else. Pride in a “job well done” is a healthy kind of pride. But there is another kind, a “haughty pride” that God absolutely detests. It is a snobbish self-admiration which will make us trip up and hurt ourselves and others around us. There is nothing wrong with having pride, but there is something wrong when pride keeps us from having the beautiful life that God has for us. So why do some of us still indulge in pride? Those who don’t have a fear of God do not have humble hearts. Their hearts are instead consumed with self-love, self-thoughts, and and a blind, anti-God mindset. God’s word repeatedly says: No sin is as offensive to God’s authority, His law, and His rule as the sin of pride. Since God is love, following His law means pursuing the exact opposite of pride. He wants us to chip away at prideful attitudes because of love. In Corinthians 13:4 says: “Love is patient and kind; it does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant.”

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God (Love) and pride don’t mix. In other words, they’re like water and oil. Although some say they have a fear of God or they claim to be Godly, they are so wrapped up with self-vanity that they cannot see the truth. If we believe that our lifestyle, children, religion, beliefs, and our faith are better than the life of someone else, we are setting ourselves up for a hard fall. We don’t realize how very dangerous pride can be to our souls and it’s deadly to our relationship with God and others. Pride is our enemy and it keeps many of us from great opportunities. Haughtiness can break a person to pieces. I learned a great lesson about pride in one of my studies in the book of Daniel. It made me say “Whoa, I cannot afford to carry such a sin in my heart.”

The words pride, arrogant, and haughty are mentioned over 200 times in the Bible. God hates these attitudes and behaviors. He rejects them and when our attitudes reflect them, our prayers will bounce off the ceiling. One of the stories that caught my attention was in Daniel chapters 3-4. Here we see King Nebuchadnezzar, who had built an enormous and successful kingdom in Babylon. He was quite proud of his prosperity. He was patting himself on the back for his achievements and his fame as a mighty ruler. He was full of pride and self-righteousness. Unfortunately he didn’t acknowledge that all he had was from God. A year earlier (in Daniel chapter 2), the Lord God warned the king through a dream that his ego would eventually cost him tremendously. The King was troubled by the dream and couldn’t sleep. He asked many magicians, enchanters, and astrologers to tell him the meaning of the dream. He was not only egotistical but also a very cruel person. If one of these advisors couldn’t tell him the meaning of his dream, he would cut them to pieces. But if they could tell him the true meaning of the dream, he was willing to reward them with great gifts. Long story short – the advisors couldn’t interpret the dream and he ordered their execution.

Someone told the king that the prophet Daniel could solve the mystery. But Daniel asked the king for more time as he had to pray about it before interpreting the dream. After his devotional prayers, Daniel provided the dream’s meaning. The dream meant that Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom would be taken away from him and he would be lost by himself in the wilderness for seven years.

(Daniel 4: 29- 32)
As the king was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, he said, “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?” Even as the word were on his lips, a voice came from heaven,” This is what is decreed for you, King Nebuchadnezzar: Your royal authority has been taken from you. You will be driven away from people and you will eat like the ox. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes.”

And just as the Lord God had predicted, that is what exactly happened to the king Nebuchadnezzar. The Bible implies that he lost his power and lived like a wild animal with his hair growing long and his nails like the claws of a bird, and he even lost the ability to think reasonably. Ironically, he was the one whose life was cut to pieces. His self-sufficiency destroyed him. God loves His children. He warns us over and over to humble ourselves.

1 Peter 5:5 “Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

(Luke 1:52)
“He has brought down rulers from their thrones, but has lifted up the humble.”

Someone who humbly accepts who they are, and does not pretend to live someone else’s life, is naturally confident, happy, and attractive. A truly humble person does not deny the gifts God has given her/him, but does not brag about them as if they’re by her/his own doing. Humility is a state of mind in which one always think about the needs of others instead of their own. Humble people never think of themselves as better than others, for they know God’s law.

We must be vigilant and faithfully immerse ourselves daily in God’s word. The Bible says; there are six things that God hates, seven that are detestable to Him. One of them is pride. It separate us from God’s presence and His favor.

(Proverbs 6:16-19)
Haughty eyes (looking down at others, belittling them),
a lying tongue (not true to themselves and others),
hands that shed innocent blood (hurting others),
a heart that devises wicked schemes (a heart full of evil plans),
feet that are quick to rush into evil (running to evil instead of running to God),
a false witness who pours out lies (not knowing God’s truths, but spreading the untruths to others), and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

“Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor.” Proverbs 29:23

These words should shake us to the core of our being, for God has warned us throughout the Bible about the consequences of haughty pride and arrogance.
If you find that you cannot move forward in your life, whether it is a relationship or marital problem, financial difficulties, health issues, or a crisis of faith, if it seems like you are stuck in one place, and your prayers are not reaching to the doors of Heaven, then you must ask yourself this question: “Is my pride getting in the way of my happiness and success?”