Monday, May 27, 2013

Day 29 - His Imprint on You and Love For You Reveals Your Value and Worth

Amplified Bible (AMP)
Or what woman, having ten [silver] drachmas [each one equal to a day’s wages], if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and look carefully and diligently until she finds it?
And when she has found it, she summons her [women] friends and neighbors, saying, Rejoice with me, for I have found the silver coin which I had lost.
10 Even so, I tell you, there is joy among and in the presence of the angels of God over one [[a]especially] wicked person who repents ([b]changes his mind for the better..]                          Luke 15:8-10

What did the woman lose and what did that prompt her to do?  She lost a coin worth a day's wage and looked carefullly and diligently till she found it.  Why did the woman look so hard for the lost coin?  It was valuable to her.  What proved that the coin was valuable and not counterfeit or fake (and thus not valuable)? The woman valued her coin because it was an authentic Roman coin, proved to be of value by the imprint of Caesar's image on it.  We are like God's coins that He Himself has created, and our value is proved by the imprint of His image on us! Just because the woman lost the coin, did it lose its value?  No!  Did it lose the image imprinted on it?  Nq!  So it is the same with us!  Though we were lost from God, we didn't lose our value, we didn't lose His image imprinted on and in us.

What does it mean that something is lost, what does that say about the object?  It says it belongs somewhere, belongs to somebody; being lost implies that the object has a home. We were lost - this shows that we have a home, belong to Somebody - God !  Our lostness doesn't change the fact that we are God's own created offspring, that He made us, that we have His image on us (and thus have value and worth0, that we are His own and valuable to Him, that we belong in His arms, in His presence, in His house in heaven!  No matter how lost we are, no matter what dark place we end up in our lostness, we are always His creations with intrinsic value and worth, because we continue to have His image within us.

What did the woman do upon finding her coin?  She asked her friends to rejoice with her over finding the coin.  What did this say about the coin's worth in her eyes?  It was worth so much she told others when she found it, she was so happy!  What do the angels do when one of us lost ones repents (changes our minds about God) and is thus found?  They are joyful, celebrate, and 'throw a party' in heaven!  The angels of God are throwing a party because you have been found by God through Jesus and have changed your mind and realized this truth!  That's how valuable you are to God! Valuable enough that He throws a party upon your homecoming!

Andre Rabe, author of the wonderful book on Christ's love for us, Imagine, makes a point that we have imagined God as a judge that just couldn't get over our sin, but Christ has revealed Him as a Father who just couldn't get over His children!  We are valued and precious to God, even in our lostness/fallen mindset, because He made us and never 'got over us' even though we withdrew from relationship with Him.  We were lost from home, yet God never got over us and never stopped seeing us as His created children who belonged with Him!

The whole idea of someone being 'lost' means that they have a place where they belong, have someone they belong  with!  A 'lost' item automatically infers that item has an owner, has someone that wants it and values it!  Our lostness only reinforces the fact that God wants us, that we belong with Him, and that is why our hearts won't rest until we find ourselves at rest in His arms!  So just being 'lost' emphasizes we belong at home in His arms, that He is still our owner and not Satan!  Jesus came to seek and to save (rescue, deliver, bring back home) the lost - we were so valuable to Him that He came looking for us and found us and brought us back to God!  That is the very reason He died, to get the lost children back from the clutches of the kidnapper, the damaging enemy, and his enslaving lies!  Christ suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God!! 

Not only does our lostness denote our belonging with God and value to Him, but also the image of God within us denotes that belonging, value and worth as well! We fell through Adam's sin but still have the family traits, still have God's image and likeness within, like the lost coin still bearing the imprint of the Maker/owner/designer.  The imprint we have, His image, is Christ in us and the breath of His very Spirit in us.  Every human is in God's image, a design original, showing how special we are and to Whom we ultimately belong.  God has always remembered and seen His image in us, though for us it has been marred from view by sin and the destructiveness of Satan's lies and works.  But God has always known that we were His offspring as humans.  We are His offspring.  We were truly made by God, as His created offspring, with God's DNA inside us!  He has always seen His likeness in us, however veiled from visibility.  We're in God's image, and the first thing Adam saw was God's eyes looking at him with adoration and approval.   Do you really think the fall of Adam could totally erase what God Himself created and put into you, His own image?  No!  God's created work is stronger than Satan's corrupting work!  God has always seen His image in you and has always loved and accepted and approved of you as a person  He made, His own created child, with His imprint of goodness and love deep down in your core.  There is nothing wrong with your humanity, and the only things 'wrong' with you were things foreign to your true way God made you/designed you, foreign and unnatural to His image in you, which has continued to be in you no matter what!  God has always been well pleased with us as humans, pleased with His image in us!  And He has always known He would move heaven and earth to get us back into enjoying relationship with Him, back into resting in His arms and letting Him love on us!

We have withdrawn from Him in fear, believing the lie of Satan that God doesn't want us, we have become alienated from Him 'in our minds,' yet God has always been close to us.  In fact we can't get away from the One who fills the whole universe and sustains our very life and breath by His Spirit!   In Him we live and move and have our being.  By Him all things consist.  He upholds all by His power.  He is not far from each of us!  Instead He is close, present, right in front of us at all times!  He is here, now, loving us, accepting us!
Also, after the cross and resurrection, there is a new creation with the image of God seen again, not hidden, veiled, marred, etc.

God unconditionally loves us!  For God so loved 'the world' - everybody, those who know Him and those who don't yet know Him!  To love means to value highly and esteem as precious.  God's love for us, even when lost, shows our value and worth to Him.  So what does this mean for us as people who sometimes dislike or even loathe ourselves, hear the world tell us we are worthless or only as good as our performance?
Well, it means you can now hear the truth:  God loves, accepts, values, approves and adores you!  And it frees you!  Frees you even to love - and even LIKE - yourself!

You are free to love, value and approve of the one God loves, values, and approves - YOU!  You can show yourself the same love, compassion, tenderness, understanding, acceptance and kindness you would show someone else in their burdens, pain, struggles, and confusions, - in their humanity!

Jesus talked about ministering to Him when He was sick, hungry, needy, and imprisoned, saying that if we do it unto one of 'the least of these' we do it unto Him.  We are to love the least of these, because that is just what Jesus does.  Well, have you ever thought about that and how it applies to you?  What if the least of these, the one most needing your love and support, the one you are asked to you?  You are one of the ones Jesus came for, you who may see yourself as one of the least are actually worthy of Jesus' love, worthy of others' love, worthy of your own love!  You deserve to be loved!  Jesus said if people love you, it's like they are loving HIM, for He is not ashamed to call you His brother or sister!  So if you think you are the least of these, remember Jesus came for the least, the last, and the lost!  But He doesn't see you least, last and lost, no - He sees you found, first, and foremost!  Each one of us is His favorite, for He looks on each one of us with favor, that is, GRACE.

What is your value?  The value of something lost is shown by what the owner will do to get that something back!  Jesus moved all of creation to get you back, traded His position in heaven to get you back, permanently took on human flesh to get you back, went to the cross and despised its shame TO GET YOU BACK! 

Jesus came to reconcile us to God.  Reconciliation means an exchange of things of equal value.  The worth of an object is seen in what is given in exchange for it, for exchange must be of two equal things.  What was exchanged to get you back to God's side?  JESUS!  Jesus exchanged His own life to get you back!  That is how much you are are worth the priceless blood of Jesus, you are valued at the value of the Son of God Himself!  You are valuable beyond measure! Since the Son is of infinite worth, and He gave Himself to get you back, then you also are of infinite worth!  You are a treasure to Him.  He would rather die than live without you, and He is so happy to have you back in His arms where He can love on you for all eternity!  Think very highly of yourself, for you are a priceless treasure to God...

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May the amazing grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, and the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. 2 Co. 13:14