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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Worth and Fruitfulness

1 John 2:15-17 “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”

Last Sunday (2/12/2012), Kristian preached a sermon on the Scripture above scripture.  You can listen to it here: 
In listening to his sermon, through our conversations, and just through circumstances in my life right now, this section of Scripture is starting to have a whole new meaning for me.  To be honest, in the past I probably just read right over this Scripture as I waded through the deep waters of 1 John with its innumerable nuggets of rich truth.  Maybe it is because I proudly thought of this Scripture within the context of people who do not think of God at all (they ignore God completely either because they do not believe in Him, or they do not know if they believe in Him and don’t seek to find out, or if they do believe in Him, they still hardly give a second thought to who He is and what implications He has in their life).  Or maybe it is because I proudly read this Scripture and thought of those “weird” Christians who think the Bible means no dancing, no drinking, and no having fun of any kind.  (The “them” and “me” dichotomy I have subconsciously set up here is pretty arrogant on my part, on know!)  Regardless, what I failed to do in the past in reading this Scripture was think of myself.  How does this Scripture apply to my life? 

What I am starting to see is that my “worldliness” is at the root of my discontent in life right now.  My worldly thinking has made me feel unfruitful, as my life does not match up to my worldly notion of “success”.  In turn, my feelings of fruitlessness have made me feel worthless and have led me to despair, which ironically is hindering my fruitfulness in the Biblical sense of the term fruitfulness. 
In this period of my life, I feel like a loser.  I gave up a promising and fulfilling career with the hopes of investing in a family, only to find that I have been unable to have children.  I am at my all-time highest weight and I do not feel attractive at all.  I struggle with being organized and I long to have a well-ordered, pleasant looking, smoothly running home (you know, the kind that does not embarrass you when your neighbors stop by for a chat).  When I try to “work on” things like being organized, losing weight, spending and saving wisely, I fall flat on my face. There are circumstances from my childhood that I have only dealt with in life through unhealthy ways like idolatry, fear, avoidance, manipulation, control, condemnation, and enablement.  I have trusted people and invested in relationships only to be abandoned and betrayed when I outlived my usefulness to them or became too messy for them.  I feel so messed up right now, that I simply do not have the energy or motivation to do much beyond wake up, go to work, come home, watch television, go to bed and start all over again.  And this causes me to feel guilt and condemnation because I want instead to be loving and serving the people in my life and making a difference in this world.  I feel like my life is a waste, I feel worthless, I feel obsolete, and I feel stuck. 

Don’t get me wrong, there are things in the paragraph above that God wants to work through and address in my life through healing and repentance, but as I read that paragraph, I can also see how worldly thinking has permeated my thought life.  My concept of the worth of my life and what makes my life fruitful in God's eyes is very worldly. 
Let us look at worth first.  For my life to be worth something, do I need to have 2.5 kids, be skinny and cute, have the perfect home, have the perfect marriage, have a career that brings me accolades, be financially secure, experience more pleasure than pain, have lots of cool friendships?  According to the Bible, NONE OF THESE THINGS have anything to do with my worth in life.   Maybe that is a no-brainer on paper (it is not a no-brainer for me in the “day to day” of my life though!).   But what about things like overcoming sin and becoming a better person…what do these things have to do with my worth?  While they have something to do with fruitfulness, these things do not have anything to do with worth!  Rather:

1)      My life has worth simply because I was created by the Only, Almighty, Good, Glorious, Creator God in His own image, and He has called His creation good! (see, Genesis 1)  IF THERE IS ANYONE OUT THERE READING THIS, THIS IS TRUE FOR YOU TOO!

2)      My life has worth because God loves me and died for me!  ! “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16) IF THERE IS ANYONE OUT THERE READING THIS, THIS IS TRUE FOR YOU TOO!

These 2 truths settle my questions of worth.  Period. 

Luke 12:6-7 tells me “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.”
As 1 John 2:15-17 suggests,the love of the Father is missing in my worldly assessment of my worth!  When I am rooted in His amazing love, I can see the lies for the truth!!  I am not saying that reading or writing these two truths in this blog have solved all my problems regarding my worth, but they are truths that I need to go back to and use to combat the lies that plague me.  And meditating on and steeping in God's character of love and the affection for me thta He put into action through the gospel, will be a beacon of light to guide me in truth when I face the darkness of lies. 

I am going to stop for now and will continue this post next time, comparing my worldly notion of fruitfulness with the Biblical concept of fruitfulness. 

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you that my life is worth something to you.  Thank you that my breath is not a waste.  Thank you that despite my failures and fears, you love me.  Thank you that your love changes me too!  Thank you that your love gives me hope.  Forgive me for constantly believing and giving into lies in my life.  Thank you that you show me the truth in so many ways--in your Word, in the words of my husband and sisters, in sermons, in songs, and in all sorts of things throughout my day.  Thank you that even when I cannot see you and when I am full on rebelling against you, you are there and you love me and you pursue me and you haven't given up on me.  Root me in your love!!!  Root me in your truth.  May I be so rooted that I would not stray from it or be swayed by what my eye sees in myself and all around me!!  Your truth is so much bigger that what I see with my eyes or experience with my flesh.  I pray that if there is just one other person out there reading this and struggling with this same thing, that you would speak to them, that you would use this difficult and broken blog post to speak to them and remind them of your love for them. In Jesus Name, Amen