by Lisa Bluford
My mother always expected me to be "better than" others. I never fully grasped what that meant, but I can give you some examples. A "better than" person will have impeccable table manners, should be thinner, and will definitely be immaculately groomed. On the surface, it would seem that "better than" is synonymous with having class, but no one who truly has class would claim or strive to be "better than" everyone else. Nevertheless, growing up I knew that my value as a person depended on me being "better than" other people.
Since there is no aspect of my life or personality in which I actually am better than everyone else, I struggled with this well into adulthood, being constantly frustrated and having severe self-esteem issues. As have some of you. For example, if your sense of value comes from your waistline, what do you think of yourself when you gain a mere 10 pounds?
Early in my Christian walk, I ran across a passage that began a total transformation in my way of thinking. It was: "know ye not that ye shall judge angels" (1 Cor. 6:3). I don't fully understand what the job entails, but it sounds extremely important and it sounds like I need to do some heavy-duty preparing for it.
Thus began my Bible study in earnest. This Scripture also gave me the value that I had been lacking, and it didn't have anything to do with my looks, possessions, or skills. I am valuable because God has a job for me to do-He is entrusting me with a most important task.
Ephesians 2:10 solidified this new way of thinking. Paul writes: "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." That confirmed to me that God did in fact have work for me to do. I ask you, what is more important than a position in the Kingdom of God, a position custom-made for you? I am still not "better than" anybody, yet I am more important than I have ever been.
One group I would really like to communicate this to is teenage girls. One of the issues in my church, and in many churches across the nation, is the clothing these young girls wear. There's just too little of it. It breaks my heart to see them parading themselves this way, because I know that what lies under that clothing is a young girl who sees her sexuality as her greatest asset.
These girls have no other source of value. Someday, they are going to wise up and realize that every female in the world has that same asset and that it does not make them special.
I want so desperately to make them understand that they are more important than they could possibly imagine, not because they can turn the male head-any female dressed that way will-but because God has a plan for their lives. He already has good works prepared for them to do. I want to beg them not to get their value from how they compare to other people, but rather on their relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
That is the only true value we have.
Lisa Bluford is graphic designer and circulation manager for Pulpit Helps.