A True Sense of Worth

How does a Christian establish a true sense of worth? Spiritual gifts are important for building up the body of Christ, but we don’t all have the same gifts. Therefore, “God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body” (1 Cor. 12:24). Our individual talents make a contribution to the kingdom of God, but God has given five talents to some, two talents to some, and only one talent to others. Does that mean that only the five talented Christian can have any legitimate sense of worth? The answer is a definite no, and those who try to find their identity and sense of worth in gifts and talents run the risk of not accomplishing God’s primary goal for their lives, which is godly character.

Are intelligence, beauty, and performance the means by which we gain a sense of worth? The answer again is no. “God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the lost. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him” (1 Cor. 1:27-29). There is certainly nothing wrong with being an intelligent, attractive performer who seeks to glorify God. It was God who gave those life endowments. He has not equally distributed gifts, talents, and intelligence to all, but He has equally distributed Himself. We all benefit by His promises and we all participate in His divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4).

Unlike this world, the ground before the cross is level. We all have the same standing in Christ. Those who add on to their faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love will never be ineffective or unproductive (see 2 Pet. 1:3f). Peter doesn’t mention any gifts or talents, because God is a fair God. We find our sense of worth by being a child of God and growing in character. “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness” (vs. 3). Those who know who they are in Christ and have a life characterized by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control will have a legitimate sense of worth and they will not be unfruitful. “Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall” (vs. 10).

Dr. Neil

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