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Posts Tagged ‘esteem’

And just so the last post doesn’t seem too warm-and-fuzzy-feel-good-but-unbalanced…

While it’s important to get our esteem from God and know, truly know, that God loves us, names us, ascribes status to us…

… it’s also important to know that God has called us from, to, towards and for

Called us to be His children (and made the way through the death of His Son, Jesus, who took our sin upon Himself so that we could have a relationship with God and be part of God’s family).

Called us out of sin.

Called us to repentance.

Called us to be holy.

…called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time… (2 Timothy 1:9)

Called us to go and make disciples.

Called us to love one another.

Called us to be like Christ.

To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. (1 Peter 2:21)

Back in high school I read many, many Max Lucado books.  One of my favorites was Just Like Jesus.  And though this theme ran through the book, it was the few words on the cover that stood out to me then and have continually stuck with me.

God loves you just the way you are, but he refuses to leave you that way. He wants you to be Just Like Jesus.

God loves us, esteems us and gives us our worth.  He calls us out of sin and into His family.  He calls us to be like Jesus and to follow.  And in the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer,

… grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ.  It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life.  It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner.  Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: “ye were bought at a price,” and and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us.

We are greatly esteemed.  But we are esteemed for a purpose.

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I am not shamed

It’s important to know the context of a Bible verse or passage. And it can be very enlightening to know when a Psalm was written (and the situation that surrounds it).

Psalm 34:5 says “Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame”
My first thought when I got to this verse (during my devotions this morning) was picturing Moses’ face shining with the glory of God after spending time speaking face to face with God. Radiant!
But then, recalling the context of the verse, a little word at the end really stuck out.
Shame.
Now there’s a couple of things you have to understand:
  1. I am a people-pleaser and have been struggling for the past few years with caring less what others think of me and more about what God thinks of me.
  2. The psalm is labeled as written “When [David] pretended to be insane before Abimelech, who drove him away, and he left”
  3. In biblical culture beards represented manhood. Thus to shave, pull, pluck or otherwise not take care of your beard brought shame (or was meant to – think of how the gospel writers tell us that the soldiers pulled out Jesus’ beard).
Are you seeing what I did yet?
Let me tell you a bit more about David and Abimelech. Now this was during the time when Saul was after David and he went to Abimelech (aka Achish), King of Gath (home of Goliath – of the Philistines). They recognized him and he realized this and so feared for his life. His response? To act insane and like he was out of his mind among them. How did he prove to them he was insane? He  drew on the gates and let “saliva run down his beard.”
After all, no man in his right mind would shame his face or himself by drooling on his beard!
And then when David writes his Psalm he says, “… their faces are never covered with shame.”
How cool is that? He wasn’t overly concerned with his reputation, his pride, his face – even among (at that time “prestigious” and powerful) enemies. For he knew that those who look to God are truly never shamed.
Anyhow, it spoke to me. My value, esteem, personhood, etc comes from God – even if people think of me poorly or try to shame me!

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