I want so badly to have a tangible measure of my worth. I want some sort of cosmic report card that says I got straight A’s, or maybe a plaque on my wall that says I won Best Human. To be honest, I spend way too much time and energy searching for this tangible measure. I tell myself that maybe if I wear a certain clothing size, or am involved in a certain number of charitable organizations, or finally figure out how to have great hair, then I will finally be able to put to rest my insatiable need for perfection. As you can imagine, this leaves me chasing after the wind; running in circles and getting nowhere.
According to Romans 9:23, we were made for glory. I think that my desires, and maybe yours too, point to that reality. However, I’m pretty certain we were not made to live our lives in a fruitless search for human “perfection.” Not only is it exhausting and unattainable, but it reinforces the lie that we aren’t valuable the way we are.
Jesus says that our worth comes from being God’s beloved children. I want to take Jesus at His word, I really do, but there is a part of me that still believes my worth comes from my outward appearance, or my achievements, or what people say about me. Surely we will get to the end of our lives and be judged on if we had good fashion sense and ate only salads for lunch, right? Right??
Sometimes, in the middle of my vanity and selfish ambition, I’m caught off guard by the reality that I do have a legitimate measure of my worth, and it has nothing to do with my clothes or my finances or my job:
“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” -Romans 5:6-8
Jesus didn’t stand in our place because we were the smartest or funniest or prettiest, but simply because we were loved and valued as creations of God.
It reminds me of a clinical placement I had two summers ago in the NICU. These babies had not yet done a single darn thing – no accomplishments, no words of wisdom, no acts of service. Many of them could not even breathe without the help of a ventilator. And yet, everyone who laid eyes on them just knew they were valuable, and that it was worth it to work around the clock to preserve their lives. It wasn’t because they had proven themselves to the world, but because they were inherently precious and sacred, just like we all are.
The death and resurrection of Jesus prove that we are not only valuable, but that we are infinitely loved and accepted. At the end of the day, isn’t that what we are hoping our achievements will obtain for us anyway?
We are never going to achieve perfection this side of heaven. And that’s okay. Because we know that on the day when we see Jesus face to face, it is then that we will be made like Him…
“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” -1 John 3:2