(11/28) You may have heard the story about a young boy that took his bat and ball into his backyard and proclaimed, "I am the greatest hitter in the world." With that he threw the ball into the air and swung the bat hard but missed the ball. Having picked up the ball, he again proclaimed as if to an audience, "I am the greatest hitter in the world." He
threw the ball into the air and again swung hard only to miss it again. He then repeated this one more time, "I am the greatest hitter in the world," and then he again missed the ball. This time he picked up his ball and looked at his bat and said with a loud voice, "I am the greatest pitcher in the world."
During the 1960-70ís there was a boxing sensation named Cassius Clay that later changed his name to Muhammad Ali. Before every fight or interview Ali would spout off, "I am the greatest!" One day, one of Aliís competitors asked him if he was any good at golf. Ali said, "I am the greatest, I just havenít played yet."
Muhammad Ali may have had one of the greatest egos of all time, but few people are like him. The truth is that many people struggle with a poor concept of themselves. Even many people who seem to be clowns, or always laughing, or have a conceited personality do so as a front to mask their feelings of a poor sense of self worth.
Sociologist, Educators, and Psychologists all tell us that it is important to have a good or healthy self-esteem or sense of self worth. I believe that many people have a hole in their soul that longs to know that their life is valuable, that they are important, that someone thinks they are special. WE are going to deal with the questions:
How loveable am I? How Important am I? Of what value am I? Am I good for anything? Does any one think that I am special?
As people, we are constantly gathering information from people that we encounter, and we process that information and come to a conclusion about ourselves. Whether we think ourselves valuable or not is going to affect how we live out our lives, what we do and how we feel.
I. Our Poor Self -Esteem or Sense of Self ĖWorth (Note that the opposite of these produce a healthy self-esteem.) There are at least 7 reasons for a poor sense of self worth.
A. Poor Parenting Ė not a lot of hugs and kisses or words of affirmation. Instead, there were words like, "youíre just bad, or youíre no good, or you will never amount to anything, why canít you be like Ö., or no body cares what you have to say." To hear these things and not hear, "I love you, you are special, you have potential, I appreciate you,"
will result in a poor self image. "You think Iím bad, Iíll live up to your expectations."
B. Bad Peer Pressure- especially in middle and high school. Kids can be tough about cloths, weight, pimples, physical development, athletic abilities, etc. Young people have a tough time fitting in where they want to be accepted.
C. Achievement based evaluation- That is my grades arenít as good as my siblings or friends, my ability isnít as good or my lack of achievement will forever be my measure of recognition. Like throwing an interception at the goal line. Dropping what could have been the super-bowl came winning touchdown as a Dallas Cowboy did one year, or missing a
super-bowl winning field goal.
D. Poor Anthropology Ė That is; if I am just a product of evolution, the results of a cosmic belch, then there is no purpose for my existence. I came from nothing and to nothing I will return. I am just an evolved carbon based life form. When I am dead, then I am dead, end of story.
E. Failure.- I tried hard at certain things and failed. My business, my marriage, my hobby, etc.
F. Sin- That is what we talked about last week. I really messed up. I will probably always mess up. I canít change. I have hurt people and I am worthless.
G. Incomplete Theology- I put this last because it leads into the sermon. Incomplete theology is when we only look at half of the Bible says about us. Iíll explain. Many people hold to, "worm theology." For example, the original version of the Hymn, At the Cross, says in the first verse, "Would He devote that sacred head for such a worm as I." It comes
from Psalm 22:6 where David says, "I am a worm and not a man." Even the wonderful hymn, Amazing Grace, says "That saved a wretch like me." Paul said, "Oh wretched man that I am, and I am the chief of sinners, and I know that in my flesh there is no good thing, and there is none righteous, no not one." Now while all of this is true, it is true because of sin and our sin nature
and when we compare ourselves to God who is Holy, Righteous and Good, we see how we fall short. WE just donít measure up. ButÖ.
II. Our Real Worth Ė I want to spend these next few moments reminding you of several things that I think you already know. However, you might need to remind yourself every now and again. Are you ready?
A. You are a Special Creation of God. You are not an accident, or mistake, or anything else. God handcrafted you in your motherís womb. Thatís exactly what Psalm 139:13-16; Jer.1:5 and others.
1. There is no one else like you. Your finger prints and eyes and lip prints are uniquely yours.
2. You were created just a little lower than God to reflect His image and glory (Psalm 8 and Gen 1:27) In fact, do you know that it upsets God whenever you talk about someone in an unkind way, because that person is a creation of God and reflects Godís image (James 3:9)
3. You were created to care for His world-not to worship it, but to rule over it for God (Gen. 1:27-28, Psalm 8). You are a special creation of God created for His Glory. I think it was Bill or Gloria Gaither that wrote a childrenís song that says, "Thatís why Iím something special, Iím the only one of my kindÖ."
B. You are the Object of Godís Divine Re-Creation (2 Cor. 5:17) There isnít time to elaborate but please consider the following:
1. God Loved you before He ever created you. (John 3:16: Ephesians 1:4)
2. He Paid the highest price possible to redeem us. He demonstrated His love to you while you were still an enemy, a sinner, a stranger to Him and His holiness. (Romans 5:8; 1 Peter 1:18) And when you came to Him in repentance and faith. He danced and sang and high-fived the angels of heaven (Luke 15)
3. God Chose you, to Adopt you as His own Child. (Ephesians 1:4-5 cp. 1 John 3:1-2). God wanted us, you and me, to be on His team, and in His family. How awesome is that?
4. He chose to live in you (1 Cor. 6:19-20, John 14:23: Isa. 66:1-3). Wow, my body houses the Almighty God.
5. When you place your faith in Christ as your Savior and Lord, repentant of sin, He makes you a new person. (2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 2:10; 4:24). This means that God is turning that old worm, that caterpillar into a Butterfly. We have become partakers of His divine nature (2 Peter 1:3ff). He calls you a saint, His child, an heir of heaven and joint heir
with Christ (Rom. 8:14-17).
6. He has gifted you for a special purpose (Rom. 12:3-6; 1 Peter 4:10) Cp. Peter (Luke 5; or Paul Acts 9; 26). He is called you to be His ambassador.
7. He is committed to helping you reach your full potential (Rom. 8:28-29). You have heard me say many times. God loves you just they way you are but He loves you too much to leave you that way. He knows your potential and He is committed to helping you achieve it. He knows what you can be and do with Christ in you (Phil. 4:13).
No matter who you are or what your past has been, you are a valuable person to your creator and to His church. You are as the childrenís song says, "precious in His sight. (review) So, let me tell you very briefly how to put this all together and let God fill the Hole in your Soul that is looking for positive self worth.
III. Putting It All Together
A. Receive Godís Grace. If you still feel like a worm, remember what we said last week. Confess any known sin and turn away from it and God will forgive and cleanse you completely. (1John 1:9)
B. Putting the past behind you may be a hard thing for you to do, but you must remember that God is in you and you donít have to be the person you were yesterday. You must rest in His Truth. God says, I am a new creation because He is with me and in me. Remember how the Father received His son when he repented and came home after hating His father,
squandering his inheritance and feeding the pigs.
C. Embrace each new day as an opportunity to grow and represent Jesus. There are people who need your help and encouragement. AS a child of God you are His representative- His chosen ambassador.
Who do you know that needs to know that they are valuable to God? Use the things Iíve shared with you and tell them they are precious in the sight of God.
Do you know God as your Father? Have you ever repented of your sin and received Jesus as your Savior and Lord? Do you know that He is just waiting and longing to come in and change your life forever, if you will just receive Him by Faith today?
If any of these messages have encouraged you, or if you have any questions please let me know. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you. And I promise, I will never ask you for money, nor place you on any mailing list.
Read other thoughtful writings by Pastor Gary Buchman