|Volume 19 Number 12 December 2017||
“All that my eyes desired, I did not deny them. I did not refuse myself any pleasure, for I took pleasure in all my struggles. This was my reward for all my struggles. When I considered all that I had accomplished and what I had labored to achieve, I found everything to be futile and a pursuit of the wind. There was nothing to be gained under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 2:10-11). The world thinks you are unworthy. Think about it. For just a single day count all of the messages—a content analysis of sorts— with which you are inundated to reveal to you the fact that some part of your life is either missing or inadequate. What you will no doubt find is that not only are these folks trying to sell you something, but that the biggest bill of goods is aimed directly at your self-worth and self-esteem.
Women, you know you just don’t look good enough, are not thin enough, don’t work out enough, need plastic surgery to be whole, are defined by your inclusion in some health club, and on and on. Men, as well, can’t be men unless they have certain products, drive certain vehicles, manifest certain behaviors or are part of certain trends. All of us are inadequate, and we are in desperate need for external organizations of the world to tell us what to do.
Funny—the odd type of funny—the One Who created you didn’t see it this way. Oh! He tells over and over that we must rely on Him and that without Him we are lost and dying. He even tells you and me about how we need to behave and certain actions that are wrong. However, when He created you and me in His image, this says something far different than when another flawed member of the human race tells us something about ourselves. At the same time, God tells us just how special we are and just how much He wants to be part of our lives to make us complete.
No treadmill, calorie counting handbook, surgeon or financial manager will ever make you whole or give you a lasting sense of self-worth. Sure, they may make you look and feel better for a time. However, you see, time passes and no amount of money can buy it back. Gravity doesn’t take bribes. First it pulls on your body and makes wrinkles and sags. Then, it eventually pulls you to the grave.
Genuine self-worth sees beyond the shadow of the grave to a life with the One Who knows already that “you are worthy,” even with those blemishes on your skin or the fact that you own a car that most think needs to be in a scrapyard. In this day, count those messages, but live like you are worthy in spite of them. Know that you are God’s creation and find the joy in that. There is a reason that Ecclesiastes is an overwhelmingly depressing book. Not only does it place worth in the deeds and thoughts of man, but it places them “under the sun.” To put it another way, it relegates the estimation of worth to a life lived without God’s influence. The result? The wise man says it is vanity or emptiness.
“And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, Lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him…” (Matthew 3:16-17). At Jesus’ baptism that began His ministry, the heavens were opened, and they were also opened at the close of his ministry (Acts 1:9-11; Mark 16:9-20; Hebrews 4:14-16; 9:23-24).
In the same manner, the heavens were opened when we were baptized, for we are “united with Christ in baptism” (Romans 6:1-5; Colossians 2:12; Galatians 3:26-27). The heavens will be opened to us again when we meet Christ at His Second Coming. If alive, that will certainly be when we close our ministries (John 14:1-4; Acts 1:9-11; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 2 Thessalonians 1:3-10).
At our Lord’s baptism, Matthew 3:17 says, “And Lo a voice from heaven…” Again, it is most enlightening to read the times when “a voice came from heaven to Jesus.” We note this, too, at His birth in Luke 2:10-12. At His transfiguration in Matthew 17:1-5 and during the last days of His ministry as revealed in John 12:28, a voice from Heaven came to our Lord.
The problem in the world today is that people are not hearing the voice of God. God speaks to us today through His Word as we are told, “Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 2:14). Faith comes “by hearing the word” (Romans 10:17; John 6:44-45).
Everyone who becomes a Christian does so because he has heard and hearkened unto God’s calling (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46; John 6:45; Romans 10:13-17). We, today, have a choice to make. We can either heed the voice of God as He calls us by the Word, or we can dismiss such a calling (Luke 8:18; Mark 4:24; Hebrews 2:1-4).
This is not the only time we will hear the voice of God. We need to be reminded that if we are alive at Jesus’ Second Coming, we will hear His voice—in this case, Jesus Christ, who possesses all of the qualities of being God (1 Thessalonians 4:16). If we are dead and in the grave at the time of the Second Coming, we will still hear Him when the call is given (John 5:28-29). When we stand before God in the Judgment, we will, yet once again hear His voice (Matthew 25:34, 40-41, 44-45).
We have a choice today as to what we will do with the voice of God, but when God speaks to us at the Judgment, not a single one of us will have an opportunity to refute our eternal assignment, even though we may argue with the King (Matthew 7:22; Luke 13:25-27).
It is in Matthew 3:17 that we read, “…saying, This is my beloved Son…” It is imperative that we realize we become sons of God (Christians) when we are baptized into Christ (Romans 6:3-4; Galatians 3:26-27). Let us know that it was after His baptism that God called Jesus “my beloved Son.” Many today mistakenly teach and believe that they can become “a son of God” before being born again—born into the family of God.
We please the God of Heaven when we believe (Hebrews 11:5-6) and are baptized (Mark 16:16). Then, we must be steadfast (Hebrews 10:36-39; 1 Corinthians 10:1-5), live the life of a Christian (Romans 12:1-2; 14:16-19; Galatians 5:25; Hebrews 13:16; 1 John 5:11-12) and do His will (Hebrews 13:20-21).
If the above is not our top priority, we will hear him say, “Depart from me” because we failed God by being displeasing to Him. May this never be our disposition entering into eternity.