As children, we view ourselves through our parents’ eyes, through their approval and disapproval. As teenagers, the opinion of our peers becomes a significant influence. And then as adults, we wrestle with comparisons as well as obtaining whatever view of success that creates. Because we live in an imperfect world, we are influenced by imperfect views of ourselves, both through the imperfect eyes of others as well as our own imperfect vision.
Fortunately, another factor can influence how we view ourselves. God fills the gaps of imperfection, gaps we all have in our self-esteem as we live this side of Heaven. As His children, we can see ourselves through the eyes of perfection. He is the perfect parent who dotes and lavishes love on His children (1 John 3:1), and a focus on that can give us a whole new way of viewing ourselves.
In the story of the widow in Luke 21:1-4, we read of a woman who put all the money she had into the temple treasury. Jesus recognized her great sacrifice. While others gave more money, Jesus said her sacrifice was greater even though the giving report seem to indicate otherwise. The widow gave out of her poverty, while the others gave out of their surplus.
So often, what we view as insignificant or lesser in value (such as the amount the widow gave), Jesus views as significant and having great value (giving in faith from her heart). That’s the difference between the view of imperfection (ours) and the view of perfection (Jesus’). Jesus sees intentions. We see actions and hear words. We can only see the tangible, while Jesus sees the state of the heart.
Comparisons create a dangerous drama in this idea of significance. They steal our focus by creating an insatiable desire for the unobtainable more. Along with comparisons come unrealistic and/or too numerous of expectations, which create an even more distorted view and magnify our already imperfect view of ourselves. We compare ourselves and what we have or don’t have to what others have or don’t have, and we develop expectations about what we need to have, do or be in order to be successful. We often decide we are successful because we have done more than someone else. In other words, we base our value based on WHO we are rather than WHOSE we are.
Instead, through the eyes of perfection, we realize that Jesus only asks for what we have to give. Through our imperfect view, we compare ourselves to others and think we need to do and be more. Through the eyes of perfection, our Heavenly Father sees us as acceptable just as we are right now.
When you realize that your value and worth come from a Heavenly Father looking at you through the perfection of Jesus, all comparisons and expectations fall away as glorifying Him becomes your primary focus. The fact that “you are an heir of God and a co-heir with Christ” (Romans 8), that “you have a crown that will last forever (1 Corinthians 9:25) and that “you are a treasured possession” (Exodus 19:5) can be an infinitely more powerful motivator than any expectation or comparison.
In this culture where comparisons and expectations create an overloaded and unrealistic view of who you need to be to feel valued, deliberately choose to focus on He who gives you your value simply because He loves you. You need to do nothing but accept what He freely offers, and then you will be His child forever.
DISCUSSION: In 1 Samuel 15:29, we see that God is “the Glory of Israel” who “does not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man, that He should change His mind.” How does this scripture add to the significance of why we should get our value from Him and not from our own or other people’s perception?