Image of God, Part 2

In a society where every celebrity, news network, neighbor, and cereal box tries to fill our brain space with the kind of person we ought to be and the kind of things we ought to think, the concept of personal worth becomes complex and fragile.  I think I am not the only one who has been found measuring myself against someone or something that I later realized was completely arbitrary (and probably born out of sneaky marketing strategy).  A couple of months ago, I had the middle and high school girls in our Bible study examine the covers of popular women’s magazines and try to determine from the pictures and headlines what Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and Vogue thought gave a woman “worth.”  The struggle, however, is universal.  Kids and adults alike are vulnerable to the voices that try to convince us that our value hinges on our conformity with trends and societal standards that cycle and change, leaving us hurting and questioning our identity.  This battle is not easily contested, but here are three truths I keep close at hand to use in the fight:
1.  You are made in the Image of God.
Genesis 1:26 tells us that God formed humankind in His own image – we were made as reflections of the Creator Himself!  Although there are varying interpretations of exactly what this means, this is for certain: whatever aspects there are that make us like Him are reasons to love and value ourselves, and God imbues us with great worth by entrusting each of us with a piece of Himself.  
2.  God loves YOU…
The craziest thing about God’s love for you and for me is that I can’t find a reason for it.  As a wayward child, one who has rebelled against the Kingdom in sin, there’s more going against my cause than for it, but listen to Paul’s confidence in writing to the Romans: “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).  If God truly has this crazy, relentless love for me, how can I look at myself and say, “I have no value”?  In loving me, He values me and calls me worthy.  
3.  …so much that He literally sent His only child to die so that you could live.
How much are you worth?  A piece of God Himself.  It’s a tried and true verse – “For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).  God calculated your value at something that couldn’t be measured in money or compliments.  He Who rightfully owns everything sacrificed Jesus – the Son – a part of the Godhead – so that you could spend eternity with Him.  How can we call ourselves worthless when we were ransomed at such an extraordinary cost?
It’s a very clever trick of the enemy – if he can convince you that you have no worth, then he has created a stumbling-block to you accepting the grace and love of God.  The struggle against those arbitrary and negative voices chipping away at your value is very real, but I encourage you to seek the Author of reality and root your sense of self-worth in the truth of His Word. 

Eliza McNelly