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"You have been bought and paid for by Christ, so you belong to him — be free now from all these earthly prides and fears” (1 Corinthians 7:23 TLB).
God says that you’re not only accepted, you’re also valuable.
How much do you think you’re worth? I’m not talking about your net worth. I’m talking about your self-worth. Don’t ever confuse your valuables with your value as a person. You can be rich or poor, but it has nothing to do with your value as a person.
What determines something’s value? These are the two main things:
1. It depends on what someone is willing to pay for it. How much is your house worth? Probably not as much as you’d like it to be worth, and maybe not as much as it was a year ago. Your house is worth what somebody is willing to pay for it — no more.
How much is a baseball card worth? To some people, it’s worth nothing. To a collector, it could be worth a lot of money. Some people are willing to pay thousands of dollars for a baseball card!
How much is a piece of art worth? Whatever someone is willing to pay for it.
2. It depends on who owned it in the past. Sometimes something is valuable because of who used to own it. For example, would a car owned by Elvis Presley be more valuable than a car you owned? Probably. Or would a guitar be more valuable because it was owned by John Lennon? I read about a pair of stinky, smelly, used basketball shoes that sold for $190,373 at an auction because they were once worn by some guy named Michael Jordan.
Based on these two factors, what’s your value? Ask yourself, “Who owns me?” and “What was paid for me?” The Bible says, “You have been bought and paid for by Christ, so you belong to him — be free now from all these earthly prides and fears” (1 Corinthians 7:23 TLB).
You have been bought and paid for by Christ. You belong to Jesus. How much does that make you worth?
Now ask yourself, “To whom do I belong?” The Bible says you belong to God. God exchanged his own Son for you. The cross proves your value. Jesus didn’t die for junk. You are incredibly valuable. Nobody has ever paid a greater price than God paid for you. You are accepted, and you are valuable!
looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity], who for the joy [of accomplishing the goal] set before Him endured the cross, disregarding the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God [revealing His deity, His authority, and the completion of His work].
— Hebrews 12:2
There are usually two sides to everything. The cross has two: a crucifixion side and a resurrection side. Jesus had to endure one side to get to the other. But if He hadn’t endured, then we’d all still be left without a Savior and no forgiveness of our sins.
Hebrews 12:2 says that Jesus, for the joy of obtaining the prize on the other side of the cross—the resurrection—endured the pain. Like Jesus, we have to endure difficult things. My definition of endure is “to outlast the devil; to be steadfast long enough to let the trial do whatever it’s going to do in our lives and get from one side of the cross to the other.”
Whether we’re hit by an unexpected circumstance, suffering for doing something wrong or for resisting temptation and sin by doing what’s right, we have to go through things. But waiting for you on the other side of the hard times is the joy of obtaining the prize—the good result.
Today, be encouraged by the way Jesus handled trials. He knew the joy that was before Him and persevered until the end. He’s given you the power to do the same.
And be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
1 Peter 5:5
Most believers don't know anything about true humility. If you tell them they're the righteousness of God, they'll fight to keep from believing it. You can give them scripture references to prove it, and they'll still argue.
"Oh no," they'll say, "I'm not righteous. I'm just an old sinner saved by grace." They're making a sincere attempt to be humble. But they're sincerely wrong. They're so afraid of being exalted by pride that they've let Satan trick them into falling right into it.
Let me show you what I mean. According to 1 Peter 5:5-6, to be truly humble is to submit to God. That means when God says something, you believe it no matter how foreign to your "religious" thinking it may be. When He says you've been made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, you say that too. In fact, you wouldn't dare say anything else because to do so would be to dare to disagree with God. And, when you get right down to it, that's the ultimate form of pride, isn't it?
Don't let Satan keep you groveling in the dust of false humility. Agree with God. Find out what His Word says about you, then be bold enough to say it yourself. Banish pride by submitting to His truth. Clothe yourself in true humility. It's sure to look good on you.
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. Ecclesiastes 3:1
Today is the first day of spring in the northern half of the world. If you live in Australia, it’s the first day of autumn—the vernal equinox in the northern hemisphere and the autumnal equinox in the southern hemisphere. Today, the sun shines directly on the equator, and the hours of daylight and nighttime are nearly equal around the world.
New seasons are important for many people. Some count down the day because of what they hope the new season will bring. Perhaps you’ve been marking off a calendar for spring in Wisconsin to signal the end of another winter. Or maybe you live in Melbourne, and you can’t wait for autumn to bring relief from the Australian sun.
We also go through seasons of life that don’t have to do with the weather. The author of Ecclesiastes told us there is a season for every activity under the sun—a time appointed by God during which we live our lives (3:1–11).
Moses spoke of a new season in his life after he led the people of Israel through the wilderness (Deuteronomy 31:2), and he had to give up his leadership role to Joshua. And Paul faced a lonely season while he was under house arrest in Rome—asking for visitors but realizing that God was “at my side” (2 Timothy 4:17).
Regardless of the season of life, let’s give thanks to God for His greatness, His help, and His companionship.
Thank You, Father, for the promise of Your care during this season of my life. You have allowed this circumstance for a good reason. Help me to use this time appointed by You in a way that deepens my trust in You.
Many believe King Solomon wrote the book of Ecclesiastes because the author refers to himself as the “son of David, king in Jerusalem” (1:1) and “king over Israel in Jerusalem” (v. 12) who had more wisdom and possessions “than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before [him]” (v. 16; 2:7). The book’s purpose seems clear: “It defends the life of faith in a generous God by pointing to the grimness of the alternative” (Michael Easton, Ecclesiastes). Ecclesiastes underscores the necessity and desirability of following God in a fallen and frustrating world today (12:1)—no matter our season in life. “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments” (v. 13).
What has helped you to understand the wisdom of following God in various seasons of your life?
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 118:1
On our wedding day, Martie and I gladly vowed to be faithful “in good times as well as in bad, in sickness as well as in health, for richer or for poorer.” In a way it may seem strange to include vows about the bleak reality of bad times, sickness, and poverty on a cheerful wedding day. But it underscores the fact that life often has “bad” times.
So what are we to do when we face life’s inevitable difficulties? Paul urges us on behalf of Christ to “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). As difficult as that may sound, there is good reason why God encourages us to embrace a spirit of gratitude. Gratitude is grounded in the truth that our Lord “is good” and “his love endures forever” (Psalm 118:1). He is present with us and strengthens us in the midst of trouble (Hebrews 13:5–6), and He lovingly uses our trials to grow our character into His likeness (Romans 5:3–4).
When life hits us with hard times, choosing to be grateful focuses our attention on the goodness of God and gives us the strength to make it through our struggles. With the psalmist, we can sing, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever” (Psalm 118:29).
Lord, I realize that focusing on my troubles causes me to forget that even in the midst of trials You are good. Teach me the art of a grateful heart.
Thanksgiving is a virtue that grows through practice.
The writer of Psalm 118 knew about the struggles of living in a fallen world. Even when surrounded by enemies, the psalmist’s confidence in the Lord remained strong (vv. 8–9, 13–14, 28). Note the opening and closing verses. Despite the dangers he faced, the psalmist begins and ends by choosing to praise God: “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”
Are you in the midst of a trial? Meditate on the Lord’s goodness and His enduring love.
Leave no [such] room or foothold for the devil [give no opportunity to him].
Ephesians 4:27, The Amplified Bible
If you give the devil place, he will take it. You have to stay alert and keep your shield of faith high because if you don't, he'll turn around and steal back from you the ground you just took.
There have been people who have received their healing and have fallen back into their old thinking patterns of sickness. They let their faith down and gave the devil an opening. When he came along with an old symptom, they weren't ready for him. They fell victim to his counterattack.
You can stand successfully against the devil's strategies! But before you do, you're going to have to make three quality decisions.
First, you must make the Word of God the final authority in your life. Line up your thinking with whatever the Word says.
Next, you must decide to live your life by faith in what God has said. The Bible says, "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Romans 10:17, New King James Version).
Finally, you must decide to live by the love of God because faith works by love. Without love, your faith won't function. Without the Word, you can't have faith. So don't try to make one of these decisions without the other two. You need to make all three of them. This lifestyle of the Word, faith and love keeps you in a place of resistance to the devil!
I suggest you get alone with God and pray:
In the Name of Jesus, I commit myself from this day forward to live by the Word of God, to live by my faith, and to live by the love of God.