Think back to your high school days and recall things that were important. As teenagers, it seems so important to feel like you fit in and belong. You want to be fashionable, drive a cool car, be invited to parties, make the right grades, be a part of extracurricular activities such as sports or drama, and so on. Can you say the same is true for those things today? As we mature, many of us shift our priorities and understand what is more consequential in life. Our life’s journey and our choices help to define our self-image and self-esteem. However, even into adulthood some people struggle with their identity and it can affect many aspects of their lives. Let us be careful not to use secular ideas to determine our significance. Rather let us see ourselves from God’s point of view.
First of all, God created man and woman in His image and breathed life into them (Gen. 1:27; 2:7). The life of the flesh is in the blood (Lev. 17:11). If you have breath and blood in you, then you are significant because God created you. We are fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps. 139:14). Some of us are born in a special way. When Moses objected to God’s request with the excuse of his poor ability to speak, God responded, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord?” (Ex. 4:11). God makes us the way He sees fit and, for that, we all have worth. Furthermore, our bodies are the temple of God and the Spirit of God dwells in us (1 Cor. 3:16). This is meaningful because before Christ died for our sins, one had go to the temple to worship. Now it exists within us. In addition, Jesus calls us friends, in that He has kept no secrets from us. Everything Jesus heard from God, He has made known to us (John 15:15).
Secondly, we are significant in Christ because of the responsibility He has given to us before He ascended into heaven. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). We are called to be the light and salt of the earth (Matt. 5:13-14). We are God’s fellow workers, meaning that we work together with Him to spread the gospel of salvation (2 Cor. 6:1). Some of us will plant the seed (Word of God), others will water it, but God will give the increase (1 Cor. 3:9). Moreover, Jesus chose us and appointed us to go and bear fruit by loving one another (John 15:16-17). God does not need us to do good works for Him as He is perfectly capable of doing them Himself. He created these good works for us to do because He knew we needed them for ourselves.
Are you proud of yourself when you make godly choices? Do you feel content when you follow God’s commandments, such as exercising self-control? No one says, “It lowers my self-esteem when I give food to the hungry or mow the widow’s lawn.” We have significance in doing these good works because they allow us to fulfill our purpose for which we were created. Our actions should be seen as a testimony of our faith and should serve as edification to others.
Paul wrote, “For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Gal. 6:8-10). The good fruit that we are to bear is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22). This fruit is a learned mindset that causes us to act. This responsibility in doing good and bearing fruit not only protects us from committing sin, but it prepares our souls for everlasting life.
We can get so caught up in the day-to-day affairs of what it takes to keep food on the table that we can easily run out of time to nourish our souls with spiritual food. Recall how Jesus admonished Martha for being upset with Mary for choosing to listen to Jesus’ teachings instead of helping her serve (Luke 10: 39-42). Mary chose that good part that will not be taken away from her (v. 42). Because Mary chose to do good, we are still learning from her example some two thousand years later. This proves that our good works can have an impact on others for a long time to come.
Lastly, we are ministers of reconciliation for God (2 Cor. 5: 18). It is my opinion that sins we have committed can cause us to feel inadequate and minuscule, which can affect our self-image and our steadfastness in doing good. Yet Paul wrote, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new…God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation” (vs. 17, 19). We are not perfect. God’s focus is not in blaming us for our sins. Rather, He wishes to reconcile us to Him, which means to restore us to friendship with Him. Sin separates us from God, but the blood of Christ brings us back in harmony with Him. The Hebrew writer wrote, “Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead…through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ” (Heb. 13:20-21). God, through the blood of Christ, continues to work in us all our days to make us complete in our good works. As ambassadors for Christ, this is one of the most important responsibilities that has been bestowed upon us: to be ministers of reconciliation, to teach others to repent of their sins and put Christ on in baptism for the remission of their sins so they can be right with God (Acts 2:38). As James said, “Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins” (James 5:19-20).
On Judgment Day, it will not matter what car you drove or how much money you earned. What will matter is fulfilling your charge to do good and bear fruit, bringing others to Christ through your example and ministry. How did you live for Him?
Samantha lives and worships with her family in Florence, SC.