January 9, 2013

The Worthless Made Worth-full

Sometimes I get to the end of the day, and even if I enjoyed most of it - having spent my time well with the kids and laughed around the dinner table when dad got home - once the children are asleep, I can go to my physical or mental to-do list and suddenly feel like a failure.  The change in my mood is swift and fierce.  Suddenly it was a terrible day because I didn't get enough done, according to some standard set somewhere in my heart.

Well, hello idol!  How quickly I let you be in charge of me, my mood, and my sense of worth!!

Have you been there too, friend?  If so, I've got a word for us today, so read on.

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Are you familiar with this verse in Jonah's prayer from the belly of the great redemption fish?

Those who cling to worthless idols, forfeit the grace that could be theirs.
Jonah 2:8

Or this one, about Israel just before they were exiled from the promised land?

They rejected his decrees and the covenant he had made with their fathers
and the warnings he had given them.
They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless.
2 Kings 17:15a

The Bible has very much to say about worshiping idols and the disaster to which it leads: missing out on God's grace and, further, becoming as worthless as the idols that are worshiped.  

When our affection is placed on something worthless,
we go the way of worthlessness.
We wither; we wilt; we die:

For the wages of sin is death,
Romans 6:23a

Oh, it is a sad state of utter depravity!  None of us can escape it on our own, because (be honest!) you're an idol worshiper just like me.  You bow every day at the altar of self.  Without an intervention, there's no alternative.

Scripture tells us God intervened!  Romans 6:23 continues:

but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The natural consequence for our idol worship (worshiping anything or anyone other than the One True God) is death - utter worthlessness.  We get what we deserve.  BUT God comes on the scene with a gift: LIFE!

Search the pages of Scripture and you'll find out even more about this gift of eternal life.  Not only are we rescued from death, but we're given a place in a family - God's family.  We're drawn from depravity into righteousness.  It is the gift of all gifts (definitely not what we deserve!), in which we find the continuous and endless joy, hope, life, peace, and joy that our idols have not and will not ever be able to supply.

Israel turned from God to idols (passing on any opportunities God gave them to repent), and thus forfeited God's grace, becoming as worthless as the mute idols to which they sacrificed and in which they trusted so foolishly.  But Scripture tells us that if we take by faith the gift that God offers - eternal life in Jesus - our value is restored.

When our affection is placed on the One who is worthy,
we go the way of worth-full-ness.
We bloom; we flourish; we live!

The worthless is transformed into something valuable, precious, and cherished.

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should become children of God!
And that is what we are!
I John 3:1a

Again this worth is not because of who we are, but because of Who we worship.  He lavished His love on us, so we could become His children and be restored to worth-full-ness.

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It's difficult isn't it, Christian, (knowing how often we stumble and fall and worship at the altars of deaf and dumb idols), to believe we are valuable to and loved by God the Father?  Like Martin Luther said, most days
I feel the old clinging dirt of wanting to deal so with God that I may contribute something, so that he will have to give me his grace in exchange for my holiness. Still I cannot get it into my head that I should surrender myself completely to sheer grace; yet [I know that] this is what I should and must do.
So to you and to myself today, I want to issue this reminder, encouragement, and exhortation:

If God has called you to be His own, His love for you and your worth to Him is unchanging because of the gift of eternal life given through Jesus Christ our Lord.  You are worth-full, because of what He chose on purpose to do in your life, rescuing you from your sin, giving you new life, declaring you righteous.

IT IS AWESOME, or as John Newton said, AMAZING GRACE!

Turn your face from those idols as soon as the Spirit moves in your heart to reveal your sin.  Repent and believe that God really forgives your sin in Christ.  Every.  Time.  And go forth boldly in your worth-full-ness to the King of kings and Lord of lords, to love and serve Him and your neighbor.  You have been called according to His purpose and are loved and secure beyond what you might ever be able to imagine.

Much love to you in Him today.

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