There is an old Dean Martin song called You’re Nobody till Somebody Loves You. I like Dean Martin, but the words of that song have always bothered me. They fit a contemporary narrative today that says, ‘your value is determined by whether or not someone wants you’. There are few things in life more destructive to the soul than giving a human being that kind of power over your value. No one determines another person’s value. But what about the creator of the universe? It’s become a cliché today to say God loves you, but think back to the first week of this series. Love in the Bible isn’t just emotional, it has to do with placing value on something. What would it mean then if the creator of every human being loves you? Would that change the way you view yourself?
In Matthew 10:29-39, Jesus is talking to His disciples about fear and worry, as they go out to live the counter-cultural way of Christ. He is sending them, without Him, into all of hostile Israel, telling them that they will be like sheep in the midst of wolves, and at the same time He tells them not to worry. If there was ever a time to worry, it seems like that was the time. So why not worry? Because, as citizens of the Kingdom of God, we operate on a different playing field. We’ve had our eyes opened to the reality Christ knew, and in the Kingdom of God right now we have infinite value because Christ gives us infinite value (vv. 28, 31). Our Father, the God of all creation, values us, and if He cares even for the sparrows, which are insignificant from the world’s perspective, how much more will He care for those who follow Him?
God loves the whole world (John 3:16), but the whole world doesn’t always love Him back, like we talked about yesterday, “love is a two way street”. From the world’s perspective, yes human beings are a dime-a-dozen. We’re just complicated animals and you’re right to feel anxious about life. But from the perspective of the Kingdom of God, in life with Christ, we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:14) When He created mankind, He said “It was very good” (Gen 1:31). If then this is how God sees His children (1 John 3:1), how then should we see ourselves? Should we go around waiting for other humans to love us, so we can be “somebody”, or should we accept the fact with joy that the Lord of the universe loves us? We should love and embrace the identity that God the Father bestows upon us, that of loved and valued children.
This is the only context where loving yourself is good, healthy, and realistic. We don’t love ourselves because we are independently valuable. There’s a reason the creation of man begins with formless dirt given life by the breath of God (Gen. 2:7). God is the one who gives value to us, and apart from Him we are dust. With Him, we have perfect peace and life as He cares and loves us, as 1 Peter 5:7 says, “casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” We love ourselves, because He loves us first—valuing us into being with the same breath from which He breathed the stars. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense to de-value ourselves. We ought to love and care for ourselves because God loves and cares for us!
This idea of self-value or self-love is not meant to turn you inward, but rather to turn you outward, to have the confidence of your identity in Christ to go out into the world, loving fiercely and selflessly. Take some time to quiet your heart and pray. Root out the places in your heart where you have let the enemy deceive you into thinking you’re worthless. Pray that God would restore your thinking in those places, and then let yourself be renewed. Think of someone you know who may also struggle with self-value, and tell them the truth about receiving their value from God.