Luke 18:9-14 9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Today I get the privilege to cheer on one of my best friends as she steps on stage to share God’s love with others. It has been such an honour to walk beside her in this part of our journey and watch God transform her and grow her gifts. She was created to speak and tell stories. One of the most valuable lessons God has taught me, is to celebrate the worth in people. Their worth has nothing to do with me and their uniqueness and value are a necessary part of making the world the way it is. God created them for a specific purpose and I am not supposed to be like them because I have a specific purpose too.
It is so imperative to receive our value from God. Yesterday my friend sent me Meghan Trainor’s video – Me Too, intended to make me laugh which it did and groove a little. It is catchy, we joked it would be our jam. One of the lines says “If I was you, I’d want to be me too.” What makes that funnier is neither of us would say that and really mean it. Ironically though, comparison is an area that I needed healing in and even up to a few months ago, this trap still kept me captive.
In my own insecurity I could be like a chameleon, changing colours to fit the various personalities around me. It was actually quite exhausting not knowing who I was enough to be confident in how God had created me. So many times I was paralyzed by not thinking I had any value, comparing to qualities I thought were ‘better than mine’. But as I heard Dr. Jim Richards say today,’ If God is not our source our value fluctuates based on the behaviour of other people we have identified with. If our source is God, our value never changes because He doesn’t, nor does His evaluation of us change.’
Celebrating others and gratitude are two of the greatest gifts and counteractions we can put into motion to stomp out comparison or jealousy. I have found the most freedom here. You can’t curse and bless at the same time. It is practicing these tools that gives us strength to press in when those things may rise up. It will happen because we are human but we can bring these areas to God and allow Him to heal the brokenness. I love what Amanda Crabb said, “You can paint your walls but if there is no restoration, the mold and the cracks will seep through.”
Humility will keep us looking at Jesus. There is a reason God gave us this command,”You shall not covet your neighbour’s house. You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.” Exodus 20:17
Lighten up, life is hard enough, celebrate someone, cheer them on, accentuate the great qualities in them, speak life right into the places they may be doubting. And when your flesh rises up and wants something it wasn’t meant to have, turn it into blessing. Do not let the devil win any longer. You are enough because God made you that way. I think this line was in the movie God’s Not Dead 2, “The only difference between you and someone you envy is you settle for less.”
As Dr. Richards so aptly said, “The more we accept Jesus’ interpretations of who God truly is and He becomes our Source, then we will begin to effortlessly transform into His likeness.”
Stay away from the donkeys!
Lord, help us to keep our eyes on you. Father help us to see the beautiful and unique ways you have made others to contribute to your world. Give us words to celebrate and speak life to them. Lord thank you for amazing grace and your mercies which are new everyday. Help us to lay down our flesh that may rise up in jealousy or discontentment. Thank you Lord that you have made us unique and created a specific way to make a difference in this world. In Jesus’ name. Amen.