When you look in the mirror what do you see? Do you see yourself as valuable, as special, as unique, as precious? In this second message on the me in the mirror, I want to focus on seeing yourself as God sees you… valuable, special and precious!
According to the Mayo clinic in 2010, if we take a human being and boil them down to their base elements, and sell them, they are worth around $4.50 on today’s market. But even evolutionists believe people are worth far more than that.
Everybody thinks they are worth more than $4.50, right? Why would ladies spend $50+ on shoes to put on 50c worth of feet? Guys, why would we spend $30 on a t-shirt to cover $1.20 worth of chest? We surely have greater value than our raw chemical makeup, but all over the world, in all walks of life, in all age groups, in all classes and no matter what you earn or achieve, people struggle with self esteem and feelings of worthlessness! Even famous and rich movie stars look in the mirror and hate what they see, and stars like Robin Williams, Philip Seymore Hoffman and Heath Ledger take their own lives, despite their fame and fortune!
YOU ARE PRECIOUS!
Listen, you are not an accident, regardless of whether your parents think you were! In God’s eyes, there are no accidents and there are no surprises because He has perfect knowledge and power.
King David contemplating this one day said this to God...
Psalms 139:13-16 (ESV Strong's)
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
The Hebrew word for formed is qana, which does not just mean creating from nothing but it implies ownership, as an inventor would claim ownership of his invention. God created you, and claims you as His own!
God says He knew us and claimed us even as we were formed in the womb. Man says you are simply a collection of cells until you are born, then you become human. If wombs had windows, we wouldn’t have abortion!
We live in a world that does it’s best to devalue human beings. We live in a society that values the rights of minorities more than the rights of the vast majority. Most people say they see human beings as valuable, but they don’t act like it. People use and abuse each other every day, putting their own interests first. Men see women as conquests, women see men as someone to meet their needs. Salespeople see you as a sale. Even churches can see you as a seat filled, or money in the plate.
God says you are valuable and precious, every one of you. That’s why throughout history, Christians have started the first hospitals, school and orphanages. Every life is precious to God, and should be to us. Your value is in who you are, not what someone else can get from you!
WE DO NOT SEE OURSELVES AS GOD SEES US
A professor in a college ethics class presented a problem to his students. He said, "A man has syphilis and his wife tuberculosis. They have had four children: one has died, the other three have what is considered to be a terminal illness. The mother is pregnant. What do you recommend?" After spirited discussion, the majority of the class voted that the mother should abort the child.
"Fine," said the professor, "You've just killed Beethoven!" When we judge the worth of a life, we play God without His power and complete knowledge… God says every life is precious and valuable, and every person can fulfil a destiny, should they choose to.
Jeremiah 1:4-5 (ESV Strong's)
Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
Before birth God has a plan for you, a destiny for you, a purpose for your life. You are not an accident, you are not an inconvenience, are not just another consumer in the market. From a tiny cell, you develop into … 60 trillion cells, 100 thousand miles of nerve fibre, 60 thousand miles of vessels carrying blood around the body, 250 bones, to say nothing of joints, ligaments and muscles.
You are fearfully and wonderfully made, but even more than this, God has a destiny for you! You were not just made by Him, you were woven together, you are His workmanship, His masterpiece, with a purpose and a destiny to fulfil.
Ephesians 2:10 (ESV Strong's)
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Yet, when we look in the mirror, most of us do not see ourselves as valuable and precious. We see our faults, our wrinkles, our blemishes, our pain. Why is it that most people, even Christians, fail to see their value and never reach their full potential?
INTRINSIC VALUE AND POTENTIAL
This $10 note is worth how much? $10, right? It is a piece of plastic, of little real value, but because the government backs this bit of plastic to be worth $10, it is. I cannot say I want $50 for this note, neither can I say it’s only worth 10c. The value in this note is not what it is made of, and it’s not what it or anyone else thinks about it, it is worth what its creator believes it is worth.
And so are you. You can only discover you true worth in life when you place yourself under the loving care of the one who created you. You are worth what your creator says, not what anybody else’s says you are worth!
Like a spring wound up, He sees potential energy stored in you that can be used for greatness. As a watch is created and wound up can run for days, so God sees incredible value in every one of us, and potential for greatness.
Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV Strong's)
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
These words were given by the prophet Jeremiah to a defeated and humiliated nation exiled in a hostile land. In the midst of pain and suffering, loss of material things, loss of loved ones and loss of hope, God loved His people and said He had a plan to prosper them and give them hope! The potential energy is still there, the hope is still alive.
Many come to Ignite because they have been hurt elsewhere, maybe away from God, away from church, out of fellowship, out of ideas and fresh out of hope. Many who come here have felt their dreams die, and feel useless and worthless. One of the gifts God has given me as a pastor is that when I meet you I see greatness. I seem to be able to see through the pain, through the circumstances and the exterior into the heart, and I see greatness in all of you! God’s plan, God’s destiny in your life is not dead, it is dormant, and my job is to stir it into life! You are valuable and you have purpose!
So when you look in the mirror, do you see greatness? Do you see destiny fulfilled, or destiny lost? Do you see the image of a failure, or the image of Christ?
The dictionary defines destiny as fate, “the development of events outside a person's control, regarded as predetermined by a supernatural power.” God does not see destiny as fate… He sees destiny as a series of choices. Wrong choices cause you to lose your destiny. You fulfil your destiny by making not so much good choices, but God choices!
Romans 8:28-29 (ESV Strong's)
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son,
Your destiny is to look like God’s Son. Your destiny is greatness in His Kingdom. And all things work for good in this, all things, even the rotten, stinking failures and abuses we suffer. How can this be?
When we look into the mirror, we often don’t see our worth, and we cannot see the potential God sees in us. When we look at circumstances, we don’t see God’s overall plan. We see a small portion, but He sees the whole. We see the present, He sees a glorious future in us.
Ships need to float, yet they are made of steel. If you throw a piece of steel in water it will sink. A shipyard is full of all kinds of steel, and if you throw any single piece in the water it will sink, because steel sinks! However, once it is assembled and joined the right way, a massive, incredibly heavy steel ship actually floats. When you see it as a whole, you see its destiny.
God sees your life as a life of destiny. You are not a mistake, you are not here by accident, you have a destiny in this place. It’s not to work hard, make money have a nice family, have a fun life then die, it is a life of serving Him and blessing others. God’s plan is to see you flourish into the image of His Son, and to serve where He has called you. But destiny can be fulfilled, or lost, depending on the choices you make!
Throughout the Bible men and women have fulfilled their God given, God directed destiny. But many also tragically lost their destiny. Solomon started well, then his many wives turned his head away from God. Samson, Hezekiah, Uzziah, even Judas started following God, but lost their destiny.
Let me look at one of the saddest examples of destiny lost…
KING SAUL… BAD CHOICES = DESTINY LOST!
Saul was the first king of Israel, but came a time when he faced a fork in the road of his destiny. God had initially led Samuel right to him, and told him to anoint this young man. Saul was impressive to say the least! Tall, good looking with long wavy hair, he was like the Brad Pitt of his day, and everyone loved him. He should have been the greatest King of Israel!
1 Samuel 10:24 (ESV Strong's)
And Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see him whom the Lord has chosen? There is none like him among all the people.” And all the people shouted, “Long live the king!”
This man prophesied, this man fought battles, this man was anointed King and looked the part. So what went wrong for Saul? He faced a fork in the road…
Remember I said destiny is a series of choices? Well, Saul consistently chose disobedience...
1 Samuel 13:11-12 (ESV Strong's)
Samuel said, “What have you done?” And Saul said, “When I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines had mustered at Michmash, I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the favor of the Lord.’ So I forced myself, and offered the burnt offering.”
Saul stepped out of his destiny by usurping the role of priest, something he knew was wrong. He feared that he was losing the people, and this fear caused him to do something offensive to God. If you fear the reactions and opinions of people, then you can lose your destiny! Some here think they have lost their destiny because they listened to what people said about them.
Sometime later the Lord commanded Saul through Samuel to devote a town to destruction. Everything in this wicked and perverse town was to be destroyed, people, animals and things.
1 Samuel 15:12 (ESV Strong's)
And Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning. And it was told Samuel, “Saul came to Carmel, and behold, he set up a monument for himself and turned and passed on and went down to Gilgal.”
One hint about where Saul’s heart was going was this… On the way to this assignment, Saul stopped off to erect a statue to himself. Pride, in ourselves and our achievements, can cause us to lose our destiny. When we are prideful, we start making disobedient, arrogant decisions, decisions on our own, serving our own ends, not God’s choices for us. Some here fear they have lost their destiny because they made dumb choices, and suffered the consequences.
He then failed the assignment… disobeying by choosing to spare the evil king and the best of the spoils…
1 Samuel 15:9 (ESV Strong's)
But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep and of the oxen and of the fattened calves and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them. All that was despised and worthless they devoted to destruction.
A quick recap… Saul had a clear command from the Lord, but tempted by the goods, he chose deliberately to disobey the Lord, and spare the best things for himself. Suddenly Samuel arrives, so Saul recognises he is in trouble, but makes an attempt at deflecting his guilt…
1 Samuel 15:13-15 (ESV Strong's)
And Samuel came to Saul, and Saul said to him, “Blessed be you to the Lord. I have performed the commandment of the Lord.” And Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears and the lowing of the oxen that I hear?” Saul said, “They have brought them from the Amalekites, for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen to sacrifice to the Lord your God, and the rest we have devoted to destruction.”
Nice save Saul! When caught red handed, he concocts a lame excuse, to deflect guilt and save face… yes, I did what the Lord asked, but I kept the best animals, not for me, but for you Lord, to sacrifice to you! Sadly for Saul, both God and Samuel clearly see Saul’s heart for what it is… disobedient.
1 Samuel 15:19-21 (ESV Strong's)
Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord? Why did you pounce on the spoil and do what was evil in the sight of the Lord?” And Saul said to Samuel, “I have obeyed the voice of the Lord. I have gone on the mission on which the Lord sent me. I have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and I have devoted the Amalekites to destruction. But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the best of the things devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.”
Saul pretends to be saving the good for sacrifice, then blames the people. But Samuel says…
1 Samuel 15:22-23 (ESV Strong's)
“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.
For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being king.”
Saul, the great man of destiny, the first King of Israel, lost his destiny, lost his throne, lost his lineage and eventually lost his life because he was not obedient!
STEPS TO REGAINING YOUR DESTINY?
As I have said, God created you with a purpose and a destiny, and He has desires and plans for you from before you were even born. Let me remind you…
Psalms 139:16 (ESV Strong's)
Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
So if you have doubted that you are precious and valuable to Him, or if you’ve lost your destiny, let me show you the steps you can take to rediscover your value and destiny in God…
1. RECOGNISE THAT YOU ARE PRECIOUS
The Lord shows us in Scripture that we are special and precious to Him.
Matthew 10:29-31 (MSG)
"What's the price of a pet canary? Some loose change, right? And God cares what happens to it even more than you do. He pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head! So don't be intimidated by all this bully talk. You're worth more than a million canaries.
God says it again and again, you are precious. He loves you so much that He sent His only Son to redeem you, to buy you back from sin, to save you from an eternity in hell. However you slice it, you are a valuable person in the eyes of God.
2. REMEMBER HE HAS A DESTINY FOR YOU
John 15:16 (ESV Strong's)
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
God promises He has a plan and destiny for you. And it’s a good one, one that bears fruit that lasts forever! You are so precious to Him, He’s not out to get you, hurt you, bring you down or destroy you. You are precious and He has plans for you that are perfect!
3. REPENT OF YOUR SIN
To begin to move towards your destiny, you have to start by repenting of your sin. Repentance doesn’t just mean being sorry for what your thought, said and done, it means turning 180 degrees around and changing your behaviour.
Acts 3:19-20 (ESV Strong's)
Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord
Repenting is obedience, turning away from your sin and disobedience and turning towards God.
4. REDISCOVER YOUR FIRST LOVE
Revelation 2:4-5 (ESV Strong's)
But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first.
Some of us here who’ve been Christians for a long time need to rediscover our first love. Remember that feeling you have when you first fall in love with someone… that’s what we often lack. We go on in Christ, we grow, we mature, we get older, we learn and understand but many times we lose the love, the excitement, the joy we once had. If that is you today, the solution is simple… losing your first love is sin, and you must repent!
Rediscovering your first love means remembering what it was like, and reestablishing that first love.
5. REENGAGE WITH GOD
The Lord promises us in James,
James 4:8 (ESV Strong's)
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.
However, many times we as Christian go through the religious motions, just like Saul did. We do some religious duty and think that God is pleased. He doesn’t want your sacrifice, He wants your obedience, and your heart!
Isaiah 29:13 (ESV Strong's)
And the Lord said:
“Because this people draw near with their mouth and honour me with their lips,
while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men,
We can draw near with just our mouths. We can go to church, call ourselves a Christian, listen to SALT or obey a bunch of rules taught by men, but the heart of God is that we draw near in our spirits, which involves all of us reengaging with God.
Having quiet times, reading the Word, praying constantly, coming to church, these are all ways that help us reengage our spirits with the Lord. Why go through the motions of being a Christian when you can be full on for Jesus and change the world? David wrote…
Psalms 63:1 (ESV Strong's)
O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
Do you long for God like that? You should, because that is how you discover your destiny!
6. RECOMMIT TO OBEDIENCE
Moving into your destiny starts with seeing yourself as worthwhile, as precious to the Lord, and someone of value. However it is not enough to simply acknowledge that you are worthwhile.
I said before that destiny is a series of decisions, and these decisions involve you being obedient. When you sense God leading you, that you do not resist but rather obey and trust Him. That is how you move into the greatest destiny you could imagine.
Exodus 19:5 (ESV Strong's)
Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine;
Ignite church is a safe place for you to start being obedient to the Lord. That’s why we have 201, so you can see opportunities to invest that precious life of yours in something powerful Thayer yields fruit for eternity.
7. RESPOND TO HIM TODAY
Today the Lord has His arms outstretched to you, calling you to be devoted to Him, and to trust Him with your life and future. Today He is asking you to see beyond the reflection in the mirror and trust Him to lead you into your destiny.
Today He is promising you that whatever you think about yourself, however you see yourself, You are valuable and precious to Him. You are so precious He sacrifices His only Son for you, and He has beautiful, wonderful plans for you.
Remember that $10 note? We agreed that it is worth $10 only because our government says it is, and they created that note.
What if I chew it and spit it out? $10? What if I stamp on it and walk all over it? $10. What if I cover it in dirt and grime? Still $10.
Today some of you have been chewed up and spat out by life, rejected and walked all over by others, or sullied your life with sin and disobedience. I don’t care what you’ve been through, I don’t care if you’ve been divorced or into drugs or caught in adultery. I don’t care if they say you have a low IQ, a low self esteem or a low net worth.
Jesus sees your value, Jesus sees you as worthwhile, precious and He has a destiny for you. You must decide to walk with Him, or without Him. You are valuable when you come to Jesus, so I’m going to ask you to do that right now… Start seeing yourself as He sees you, and start living like He wants you to…