So if I possess a car, let’s say, and I find it to be useful or important to me then I can say it has value. If I have children and I believe they are important to me I would definitely say that they are a valuable part of my life. And when things are valuable to us we do not like it when they are harmed or bothered. We protect things that are valuable to us. We prioritize things that are valuable to us. We invest time in things that are valuable to us. And God does too.
We are God’s children, created in His image, and we are valuable to Him. How do I know this? Scripture tells me this in many different ways but here are just a few examples that I really like.
Isaiah 43:1 “I have summoned you by name, you are mine”.
This verse reminds us that we indeed belong to God. This is a great thing, a wonderful thing! We are not unloved or unwanted or orphaned…He calls us by name and claims us as His own.”
Matt 10:31 “Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”
While that may seem like a strange verse and you may be thinking, “well gosh, I sure hope I’d be more valuable than a bird!”, it is the context that makes it so moving. Jesus was explaining how God doesn’t even let one bad thing happen to a sparrow, and since that is true, and since we are far more valuable than many sparrows, how much more it is true that He will watch over and protect us!
But perhaps the best example of how we can know that our life has value is found in the simple yet powerful and awe inspiring John 3:16. “For God so loved the world, that He gave his one and only son. That whoever might believe in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Sometimes we hear this verse so much that we forget the deep truth and love that it contains. And sometimes we hear or see this verse, but don’t really even understand what it means. So let’s just review it a bit here.
The whole thing starts out with love. God so loved the world. He didn’t just love the world, He sooooooo loved the world. And when we say He loved the world, it doesn’t just mean He loved the spherical planet He set in orbit…it means He loved (and still does!) all the people here on earth. He loves you. He loves me. He loves all of us so deeply. Because of this great love, He was willing to give us his only son Jesus. Now, when it says he “gave” his one and only son, it basically means he allowed him to take on the penalty of death for the sins we committed. Jesus was sinless. He never sinned. He was and is and always will be the only sinless person to walk on this earth.
Picture this scenario if you can. Warning: it will not be pleasant. Picture yourself trapped and alone. You are thrown into prison and are awaiting your sentencing. You go before the judge and he finds you guilty and sentences you to death right then and there. The thing is, as afraid as you are, you know you deserve it. You know that you have committed all the crimes that they’ve accused you of and you know that their verdict of guilty is accurate. Still, you don’t want to die. You wish there was some way out, you beg and plead with the judge but the verdict is irrevocable. Your penalty for the crimes is death. It is the only answer. It is the only just solution. You are walked into the room where they will carry out the punishment. It will be a revolver to your head and with one pull of the trigger your life will be over. The executioner enters the room, lines up the gun and is ready to pull the trigger when all of the sudden a great commotion is heard and someone rushes into the room yelling STOP!!! It is Jesus! He motions to the executioner to drop the gun and before you really even know what happens, you are let go. Not just freed from death but freed from the entire prison. In shock and amazement you go ahead and believe them…you begin to leave the room…and then as you are walking away you hear the gunshot resonate, louder than anything you’ve ever heard, through the entire place. You drop to your knees, even wondering if perhaps it is you that just got shot. But it isn’t. You are okay. You are still free. You turn around and see that it is Jesus. Jesus took your bullet. Jesus took your death sentence. And he is now dead and you are alive. You cry out in anguish, your pain being heard all throughout the prison. People come running to see what is going on. And they all witness it, they all see it. They see you alive and Jesus dead and they wonder why in the world this would ever happen.
THAT is how much God loves you. That is how much God loves the world. That is how valuable you are to Him. That He would be willing, out of sheer love, to give His only son, so that you, so that I, so that anyone who believes in Him will never have to face death. If you didn’t have value, If you didn’t have GREAT VALUE, there is no way he would make this exchange. And yet, He did. In all His sovereignty and in all His wisdom and omniscience, He decided this was a good thing. That’s what it means when we say “we’ve been saved”. That’s what it means when people call on Jesus as their Savior. Without His sacrificial love and willingness to take our place and pay the penalty for our sins we would be forever separated from God’s love…we would be dead in the worst kind of way.
Hopefully you are starting to realize how valuable you are to God. But you may still be feeling a bit unsettled about the way you gained your freedom in Christ, through Christ. Well, let me tell you, there is GOOD NEWS! The story analogy that I told above is not quite done yet. There is still a big part of the story left to tell… A very important part.
As it turns out, death was not able to hold Jesus. Even though Jesus was indeed truly dead- by his death he paid the penalty for all of our sin and all sin everywhere, over all time, past and present and future- the power of death could not hold him. He overcame death and is alive. He appeared to many people that can testify to this fact and now he is in heaven once again with his heavenly Father, our Father, God. It is through his ability to conquer death that we too can enjoy eternal life. When we put our trust and our belief in Christ and what He did for us on the cross we are able to enter a life that will continue beyond our physical death here on earth.
There is so much more to say on all of this and numerous other books have been written which will elaborate on Jesus’ saving and redemptive work on the cross. For now, I want you to understand that the reason I told you this whole story was to illustrate the great value of who you are. A value that is not dependent on anything that you do, it is simply inherent in who you are. It is reflective of God’s great love for you, your importance to him and the fact that He calls you His own.