It seems like we are judged in this world by what we can offer. It kind of makes sense and seems logical at times. If we are capable and productive at work, we are noticed and rewarded for it, maybe given a raise or a promotion. If we have an athletic talent, we make a team and possibly win games/competitions or receive awards. If we are successful in academics, we are honored and praised. And beyond that, we often value ourselves by what we think we can offer. We think if we wear the right clothes, have the right kind of body, present ourselves a certain way, have the right kind of home, have successful kids, etc, that we will have value. The problem with these ideas is that in an ever-changing world, with ever-changing definitions of “success,” we can never be enough or live up to what the world sees as valuable. There will always be something more that we feel like we need to accomplish, so we feel as if we have succeeded. If our identity is found in the standards set by our culture, we will never be enough.
There is good news, though! Our culture doesn’t have the true definition of success. We don’t have to believe how culture defines us. We can embrace and operate in a different mindset, the only true mindset. We can choose to see ourselves as God sees us. In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Paul is writing a letter to a church in Corinth. He writes this to them: “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
Our true purpose and value are only found in what God was willing to pay for our ransom and in what He calls us to do. What was He willing to pay for our ransom? He was willing to pay HIS LIFE! That’s not something culture is willing to pay for us. We have to be willing to fight against what culture tells us is our worth, and remember the One who created us and defines our worth.
So how do we continue to embrace the truth that it is God and His sacrifice for us that defines our value, rather than what our world tells us? How do we combat what culture puts in our face day after day? There are some practical steps that I think are helpful:
- Pay attention to how much time we spend immersing ourselves in culture.
- Set boundaries for ourselves for how much time we are going to engage in activities that influence us: social media, commercials, tv, movies, etc.
- Take time to evaluate ourselves and see if we are allowing the influence of the world around us to shape us, rather than what God says about us.
- Engage in relationships that help us recognize areas we need to change and push us toward Jesus.
As followers of Christ, we are called to be a light to this world. We can only do this if we are involved in our world, but we have to make sure we don’t let the world define who we are. This week, let’s remember that we have been bought with a price, and that is what defines us. You are loved!