Benefits for leaders who are know they are valuable to God:
1. It is disabling to get your sense of worth from success. Conversely, when one’s value is firmly rooted and established in the love of God, there is freedom to fail and therefore the freedom to take risks.
2. Leaders who know they are valuable to God are free from the pressure to rush to attain some standard of success and are able to take their time and make decisions more objectively.
Benefits for the community when leaders know they are valuable and value each member:
1. Communities that value each member are hospitable environments where people can grow.
2. When team members feel valued, they offer more of their creativity and energy to the enterprise and the team prospers.
Biblical inspiration and support:
The Bible teaches that we are valuable not because of our performance or our success, but because God values us. He has shown our great worth:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” ( John 3:16, ESV)
That may be a familiar verse to you, but I implore you not to hurry on. Take a minute and consider it anew. God placed so much value on the people He created that He gave His only Son, Jesus, to die a horrible, painful, shameful death. The cross is the evidence of the worth God puts on us. We were worth dying for.
We are not valuable because we are so smart, attractive, clever or productive.
We are valuable because God says we are.
He actually showed we are valuable when Jesus died on the cross.
And if God says we are valuable, He is God and therefore it is so.
No matter how you performed today, no matter if you feel like a success or a failure, you matter.
We are so valuable to God—His love for us is so great—that Jesus died for us.
In Ephesians 1, Paul lists out many truths about us as Christians:
“3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:3–14, ESV)
I want to draw out a few of the beautiful things in this passage. As Christians we are…
1. CHOSEN: God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world (vs 4). Let that sink in today. You are chosen. In the long line before the ball game in the school yard of life God pointed to you and said, I choose that one. And He chose you not because of your resumé, not because of your performance. He chose you before the world was even created which means before you were born.
2. ADOPTED: In love, we were predestined to be adopted as God’s children and heirs (vs 4-5, 11). God knows all things and knew that our adoption would cost the death of his Son, and he did so anyway. Why? Why did God do this? It was His will. It was His will to do what it would take, Jesus dying on the cross, so we could be adopted in love.
3. FORGIVEN: Through Jesus’ death we have forgiveness (vs 7).
4. LAVISHED IN GRACE: God has not given us His grace sparingly; He has generously poured out His grace upon us with all wisdom and insight (vs 8).
5. SEALED WITH THE PROMISED HOLY SPIRIT: We are secure, having been sealed with the Holy Spirit which is a sign of the guarantee of our future resurrection and inheritance.
What love God has shown! What value the Lord has placed on us! That we have been chosen, adopted, forgiven… that we have had God’s grace abundantly lavished on us and that we are sealed with the Holy Spirt. And this is done on our behalf. We have not earned it. We do not deserve it. We received God’s forgiveness and blessings based on our faith in Jesus Christ and His death, resurrection and ascension.
What about the good works we are to do, though? Like in Ephesians 2? Are those still important?
“ 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10, ESV)
These good works flow out of our vital connection to God (see John 15). As Paul says, we work with His power that works so powerfully within us (Colossians 1:29). These good works are not assignments God hands us as we go out the door to go and accomplish on our own. Lately I have been wondering what these “works” actually are? Are they like the tasks we do at a job that pays us for our service? Or are they the works of loving God and loving our neighbor? Or some of both? All that to say, while good works are important, our value never comes from what we do.
In the end Christian leaders do not find our confidence in what we do or even in the success of the team we are leading. Our confidence comes from the assurance that ultimately praise, glory and honor come from God, (and to God) not from people (1 Peter 1:6-7, Psalm 84:11). After all, we are God’s workmanship – no one else’s! (Ephesians 2:10).
The problem is, part of me likes getting my value from what I accomplish. It seems like it has worked out pretty well for me in my life because I am a top-performing, highly productive type of person. I like the honor I get from what others see as success. But in the end, this is bondage. Everyone needs to be valued, and if we think we have to perform well to be valued, when failure comes or we hit difficulties and are unable to produce, we hit a personal crisis. We end up trying to please or trying to succeed so we can feel valued. I think Jesus offers us a way out of this never-ending game. We are valuable because God says so, period. From that place of security, as we remain in Christ as branches remain in a vine, we will bear fruit, much fruit, and fruit that will last (John 15).
I feel like someone reading needs to hear today they are forgiven. Jesus’ death on the cross is completely sufficient payment for the wrongs you have done, said or thought. As He said just before He died, “It is finished…” (John 19:30, ESV).
I invite you to read and consider this word of truth:
“6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1 John 1:6–10, ESV).
As we come to Jesus, not making excuses, but accepting the truth that we have sinned and need Him to save us, we are forgiven and cleansed. Jesus’ work is completely adequate for each of us to be forgiven and washed clean. This is such good news!
If you are having a hard time experiencing the joy of Christ’s forgiveness, I find that a time of confession can help me come into the light with God and restore connection and intimacy in our relationship. A tool to help is available here.
Facing your value.
So often we have to face hard truths about ourselves, but how much time do we invest in facing life-giving truths about ourselves? Consider spending some time in Ephesians 1:3-14. Here are some suggestions:
1. Read the passage and pay attention to what phrase seems to stick out to you. Then spend time meditating on this phrase and praying for God to bring His revelation.
2. Read through the 5 points above and pick one to ponder and ask the Lord to help you really believe it and take it in.
3. Memorize a verse—or the whole passage—so that you can take it with you wherever you go and so that it can be food for your spiritual life.
A final word:
Leaders are valuable…
Because people are valuable to God.
What helps you when you fail?
Hi! I'm Jeri Howe.
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