For he chose us in him (Christ) before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.”  Ephesians 1:4

In our culture we value achievement. We give awards and trophies, medals and prizes to deserving individuals. Diplomas line our walls. There is nothing wrong with celebrating our accomplishments. But when we base our sense of self-worth on them, we build on a shaky foundation. What happens to our self-worth when we can no longer achieve due to ill health or old age or some setback? We feel side-lined, worthless. We may even feel like we’re a burden on society.

God’s value system is very different from the world’s. He values us for who we are, not for what we achieve. He chose us before we were born, before we had done anything to prove our worth.

True self-worth comes from seeing myself as God sees me: a person for whom Christ died. A person in whom Christ lives. Read Ephesians chapter 1 and underline every time you see the phrase “in Christ.” Did you know that phrase is used more than 172 times in the New Testament? Why?

True self-worth comes from seeing myself in Christ—washed by His blood, clothed in His righteousness, filled with His Spirit. This privilege is for all who will come and accept his gracious offer.

Position in Christ is more important than performance. Being is more important than  doing.

A man whom I recently met at a meeting put the right slant on it for me. After a brief introduction, I said to him, not concealing the admiration I felt, “So, you are an engineer!”

No, I’m a person who does engineering,” he said. Wow! He’s got it in the right  order, I thought. First, I’m a person for whom Jesus died and second, I happen to do engineering.

What do you base your self-worth on? Remember, God sent his only Son to die for you—that’s how much He values you. He longs to be close to you. Whatever has happened in your life, God does not condemn you. The Bible says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). God values you that much.

Dear God, help me to see myself as you see me and to live by your value system.

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Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” 1 Corinthians. 13:4-7

Love has become a universal term that can be many things to many people. Some love golf, some love family and some love Jesus. There are all kinds of love, with worldly definitions and spiritual definitions.

A good way to define love biblically is to understand what the Bible says love is not. Love does not boast. It is not proud. It does not dishonor others, nor is it self-seeking. Love does not present itself in anger or keep a record of wrongs.

In writing to the Romans, Paul says love is not being filled with unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil, envy, strife, deceit, malice, gossip, slander and arrogance. (Romans 1:28-32) True love does not invent evil, nor does it foster disobedience.

Are you desiring to be a more Christ-like and loving person? If you are, the best way to get there is to first identify the behaviors, thoughts and attitudes in your life that are not loving. Then surrender these things to Jesus, trusting in His forgiveness and power to make loving choices. Then true, godly love will invade and saturate your being and you will never be the same.

Have you taken inventory lately of the thoughts, attitudes and behaviors in your life that are opposites to love? What steps could you take to rid yourself of them?

Father God, I know that I have fallen short of mirroring Your love. Help me, by Your Spirit, to experience cleansing from unloving thoughts, words and deeds that do not reflect Your love. Please teach me to love like You do.

Thought:  Identify a habit or attitude that is not loving. Tell a trusted friend about it and ask for prayer as you move forward in becoming a more loving person.

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