What would ruin you? What part of your life if amputated from you would leave you devastated? What can’t you imagine living without? Have you thought about it? Your answer may range in the list below:
My family, My career path, My mum, My boyfriend, My wife, My husband, My girlfriend, My job, My reputation, My education, My friends, My talent, My money, My voice, My car, My investment, My health, My child, My good looks, My lifestyle
There’s probably more that I have left out and you probably know them. Think about it again. What if taken away from your life would leave you falling? Our self-worth, security and happiness are largely drawn from those things that we hold so dear. You feel you’re worth someone because you have the title Doctor or Engineer. You hold your career in high regard and believe that without it your security in life is tarnished. You derive your happiness from the fact that there are people who love you. You’re confident because you’re sexually attractive. You’re self-worth is heightened when your chid performs well in school. Your fear of the future is assuaged by the amount of money you have in your bank account.
There’s a problem with that.
Case one: The family, the boyfriend, the girlfriend and the spouse
If nobody has told you this before, allow me privilege. If both or any of your parents are alive, are you cognizant of the fact that you will attend their funerals in a few years, months or even days from now? Are you familiar with the fact that you will speak in a gathering while their dead bodies lay dead in caskets that you probably purchased? With your own money you will bury them. Has the thought ever crossed your mind that you may bury a few of your own siblings? It’s not guaranteed but the chances aren’t slim. Are you aware that your boyfriend or girlfriend may not be the person you will marry? Are you aware that even if you do marry them and they become your spouse, one of you will die first and the other will look six feet into the earth as the love of their life is laid to rest? Are you aware that the situation could be worse. God-forbid that your mum, your dad, your brothers, your sisters, your spouse, your girlfriend/boyfriend could all die tragically and you may be the only one left to bury them all.
This is not to scare you or to instil guilt, beloved. This is to help you. The lesson to draw for you is probably clear by now. Your self worth, your happiness and your security cannot and should not be drawn from fellow human beings especially those close to you. If your mum is your everything, she will not be the only thing that goes down the ground on her funeral. Your self worth, your security and your happiness will too. If your boyfriend is your everything, you don’t even need his death to destroy your self worth, security and happiness. All you need is a break-up. If your girlfriend is your life, your hope, your everything, you don’t need death to shatter you. All you need is to confirm that she has been cheating on you. Your trust should not be placed on man for one main reason- man is perishable. He is here today gone tomorrow.
The Bible says in Jeremiah 17:5 This is what the Lord says: Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the Lord.”
Fore every moment your self-worth, happiness and security is derived from man, you turn your heart away from your Maker.
And don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that you shouldn’t trust the people you love. There’s a world of difference between trusting someone and making someone your trust. The former is godly; the latter is borderline idolatry if not beyond it.
Case two: Your job, your talents, your gifts
Ask a man who he is and he will tell you what he does. I have found that to be true with many. Even our names are derived from what we do. My surname, Wakhusama, means one who waters. Smith was derived from the fact that the family lineage dealt with iron and metals. Potter, Carpenter tell you the obvious. This shows how humanity has for a long time placed identity in their work. For many people in the 21st Century, their careers define them. It would scare some of you to death to imagine that your title/career would be taken away for whatsoever reason. Why? It gives you identity and it boosts your self-worth. For many too, what matters dearly is their abilities. Your voice makes Beyonce’s look like tutor training. Your talents give you prominence and you receive a lot of praise in your performance. If your self-worth, security and happiness is based on your performance in your career and in your talents, you will suffer a major identity crisis the day you face real competition. You will never handle competition or rejection. If your career gives you security, you will fall apart the day you suffer a major setback or retrenchment.
Our source of self-worth, happiness and security is revealed when it is challenged. Chances are we go up in arms to protect it. Yet the truth is that, threats will abound, not only, physically but spiritually too. The threats will come from the outside and from within. If we live life in denial that those dreadful things will never happen to us, then our self-worth, security and happiness is even at a worse state. It is hanging on the thread of our crossed fingers hoping tragedy won’t strike. But truth be told, tragedy can and will happen. You cannot place your self-worth, security or happiness in your ability to perform in your job, talents or skills.
Case three: Et al
I could describe more but time would fail us. It may be your beauty, perhaps. I have met girls who derive their self-worth from the fact that they have a pretty face or a curvaceous body. And similarly, they can’t handle the thought that another girl who is stunningly gorgeous when she’s only in jeans and a jumper and without make up. I mean she’s not even trying and every guy wants her number. Threats reveal our source of security, happiness and self-worth. Their self-worth crumbles because they wanted to be the eye-candy of the workplace. They won’t be happy unless they are the ones that cause eye distraction. But it’s a fool’s errand beloved. There are people who are prettier than you. There are people who are more intelligent than you. There are people who have more money than you. There are people who will be better than you at what you’re best at and guess what? They’re not even trying. In their lowest performance, they beat your high scores in life! You cannot and should not place your self-worth, happiness and security in your beauty, brains or any asset around you that you hold so dear.
Well why shouldn’t we?
Because it is not how the Creator fashioned us. God invented the human being, remember? He knows how best it works. Now we may question his methods and try to understand them but the last time I checked you didn’t qualify for his job.
Where is the source of our true self-worth, security and happiness?
We’ve been conditioned to think that if we get a Master’s degree, then we’ll have some security. One of my favourite teachers, Timothy Keller, spoke of one of his mentors who was once confronted by a girl’s mother. The girl had finished her college degree and after some influence from her professor, she became passionate to go into the Christian mission field and help needy Africans. The girl’s mother was irate and said to the professor:
“We want our daughter to get a Master’s degree in Law School so she can get some security, not run off to Africa without higher education.”
The professor replied to the mother with something like this:
“We’re all living on a tiny ball of rock called earth and we’re spinning at countless miles an hour. Even if we do not run into something in outer space, eventually we’re all gonna die and below all of us will open a trap-door and underneath will either be the everlasting arms of God or absolutely nothing and yes, maybe we can get a Master’s degree to get some security.”
The professor is right. No amount of money can save the Titanic when it’s sinking. No amount of talent can, no human being, no wife, no husband, no girlfriend, no thing in all the earth can guarantee us a sure, fixed, certain security and happiness.
But something else can
God created humanity to derive self-worth, security and happiness from HIM. He says in Colossians 1:16, “For by him all things were created….all things were created by him and for him.” You were created BY him and FOR him. Now if you live as if you were created BY your boss and you live FOR your career, you will fall apart. Whatever you live for gives you self-worth, security and happiness.
Trust self-worth, security and happiness
Listen. Over 2000 years ago, God decided to be as you, human, so he could give you something that your education, degree, mum, dad, talent and gifts cannot give. He was bruised for your transgressions. He was cursed for your sins. The punishment that brought humanity peace was upon him, and by his wounds afflicted on his body, palms and feet, he gave you an everlasting gift of eternal life. He gave you self-worth by inviting you to be the child of the Cosmos King even despite the fact that you don’t act like royalty in your morals, conscience, thoughts and actions. Think of the worst thing you’ve done. Now thank him because he forgave that too and called you “beloved of mine!” “Child of the most high!” whilst you were undeserving. He gave you security when he offered to have your life hidden with Christ, in God (Colossians 3:3). Think about that. Your life insurance is placed in CHRIST and then CHRIST is placed IN GOD. Now, who can hack into that just to harm you? Who can by-pass that kind of security? And even if evil were to get past GOD (which it can’t) it would still have to deal with Christ to get to you. He gave you happiness that holds you together despite the tragedies of life. He didn’t promise death wouldn’t come. He didn’t promise accidents wouldn’t’ strike. But he promised that when the Titanic of your life sinks and your mum, your dad, your education, your music, your money and your reputation can’t save you, He will. He is the hero without a kryptonite. When your self-worth, your security, your happiness is challenged, He will be before you and he will hold you together. “For he is before all things and in him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:17)
Christ Jesus, beloved, is the eternal, sure, unmistakeable, confident, firm, never failing, certain, definite, unwavering, imperishable, assured, satisfied, unshakeable, hopeful source of self-worth, security and happiness.
God over all
There’s a popular saying that goes, “Give God the big stuff and handle the small stuff.” That saying is wrong and very unsound in doctrine. When Jesus Christ is your security, your source of self-worth and happiness, you don’t pie-chart your problems and surrender the ones he can handle and remain with the rest you can deal with. No. You give and surrender every tiny aspect of your life. He is a not a God who handles the big stuff and gives you the small stuff. He is not your assistant. He is your God! God over the big stuff and God over the small stuff! Some fear that if they surrender their self-worth, happiness and security to God’s control, he may miss out on something they want. Let me challenge you. If a billionaire spent thousands of dollars on a gift for you, would he miss out on the wrapping paper? And yes, the things we worry about (our education, our money, our food, our clothes, our jobs are all wrapping paper in comparison to the great gift he gave us on that cross.) Would God pour divine blood on a wooden cross just for you and then forget that you need food, shelter, clothing, rent? Trust in Him O you of little faith…the pagans run after all these things and your heavenly father knows you need them. Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6 And when he has blessed you, it is your turn to use the resources he gives you to bless others (especially materially) so that they too can see that God is their security and source of self worth and happiness. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 1st John 3:17
Time to rethink about your security. What do you live for? Where are you spending your time, money, energy and resources? Commit to God…you expect me to say “and he will commit to you.” No. Commit to God, for he has already committed to you. He committed to you on that cross even before you were born. He didn’t merely gamble for your life with his. He assuredly died for you even when he knew you would gamble with yours. You were his love and treasure and that’s why he stayed on that cross even when he had the power to summon angelic legions to take him off it. He remained for you to ensure that your security, self-worth and happiness is guaranteed through a relationship with him. Don’t gamble your life on wrapping paper. Seek him first and he will give you more than wrapping paper. He died for you; I dare you to live for him.
And if you don’t know Christ Jesus and would like to know him, I offer you the gospel. He died for you while you were still a sinner and undeserving of his love. He saw that all your morality, good deeds and charitable acts were too short to bring you back to him. In fact, the best of your morals appear as filthy rags before him (Isaiah 64:6). Your best works and your moral performance cannot earn his love and forgiveness. So he gave it freely. He lived as you did. He was tempted as you were. He taught the way; he was the way. He taught the truth; he was the truth. He gave you life. He was the life! He is the way, the truth and the life! (John 14:6) He accepted you when you rejected him and bled so that you would live. He offers you life in abundance to be with him and forgives your sin if you confess it, humble yourself and accept him to be Lord in your life today.