I have a question for y’all? Who has a cell phone? If you don’t, that’s okay. You probably have less stress in your life without it. So, for those who do, who picked out the phone, the plan, the provider? Did you get it online, at Walmart, at the specific provider’s store?
Unless you have an unlimited data plan, which most people have, it can get quite confusing. Most plans are limited on the data if anything, and usually, you have to share it with the others on the plan. The majority of plans are a 1 GB per line plan.
So, what can you do with a GB of data? According to Wikipedia (because Wikipedia knows everything) “1 hour of SDTB video at 2.2 MB/s is approximately 1 GB”. Does that make sense? I didn’t get it. I had to use Wikipedia to look up and tell me exactly what Wikipedia was trying to tell me. It’s about 1 hour of YouTube until you’ve used all of your data for the month.
I’m glad that Steve Jobs, and others, have decided to hire a bunch of super-duper smart people to figure this stuff out for me because none of that makes sense.
Who has heard of a company called Wirefly? They claim to have “state of the art phone and plan comparison tools”. Their business is helping you compare which cell phones and plans will be the best fit for you and your family. They give you advice on which plan is worth getting and which one isn’t.
Deciding what’s worth it is fine when it comes to cell phones. You don’t want to be ripped off, right? But do you ever feel that way when it comes to the people? At school, practice, on the weekend, or even here at church, does it sometimes seem like your entire social life is a Wirefly experience? People are looking at you, sizing you up, and trying to figure out if you’re worth their time, attention and energy?
What about with your family? Does it feel like your parents and siblings have so much going on that they don’t have time to notice you? You know they love you, but that doesn’t mean they’re tuned in to what is happing in your life. Maybe you feel like they don’t even listen to you or that your opinion doesn’t matter to them. Whether that’s true or not, it’s easy to add all of this up and sometimes assume that our families don’t think we are worth it.
Now, let’s think about God.
There was a time when I felt like God had given up on me because of all the stuff I’d done. I hit my lowest spot in my sophomore year of High School and I was just about done with life in general. As God began to work on me, I felt unworthy of everything God had done for me. I knew that He loved me and sent his Son to die for me. But I thought I wasn’t worth that kind of sacrifice.
Can you relate to that? Maybe you’ve screwed up with something at home or school and you feel like you aren’t worth God’s time. Maybe you ask the question “Am I worth God’s time and attention?”
(QUICK SIDE NOTE! Since we’re getting real and honest, most of us would probably admit that we’ve turned this around and put other people in our Wirefly-style comparison tool. We’ve assessed someone else and tried to figure out if they were fun enough, cool enough, or offered us enough to be worth our effort in the relationship. We’ve probably treated our siblings and parents like they weren’t worth our time. Maybe, we’ve also looked at God and decided that following Him isn’t worth the sacrifice and energy either.)
Take a moment to think about that real quick before we dive into the rest of the study.
The Wirefly system—the urge to compare and get the best deal—is natural for us. But it becomes a problem when we try to guess what other people think about us and then let that determine what we think about ourselves.
If you assume people at your school, home or work, don’t like you, it’s easy to not like yourself. If you’re convinced that your dad couldn’t care less about what you do or think, it’s easy to conclude that you don’t matter or have value. If you assume God has given up on you, it’s easy to believe you’re not good enough.
Maybe you’re holding on to an old regret or a habitual sin. And you feel like you’ve disqualified yourself from being loved. Maybe you experienced something painful—something that was done to you—and you’ve concluded that your value is very low. Maybe you believe something negative about yourself, your looks, or your personality.
Or maybe you just feel weird and different from everyone else. And you live in a world that says avoid the weirdos. I hear people talk all the time about how other people are weird and when you ask them “why”… they rarely have a clear reason. It typically boils down to that person looking, acting, talking, dressing, or believing differently than them.
Here’s the good news. What we talk about today has the potential to not only change what you think about yourself. But it could also change the way you think about God, and what you think God thinks about you.
Have you ever gone to a movie at the theaters and missed the first part of the movie because you were a little late? It’s difficult to catch up and figure out what’s going on. It’s hard to understand if we miss the beginning.
Similarly, it’s difficult for us to understand how much we matter unless we go back to the beginning when God set all of this in motion. In Genesis (the beginning), God created the earth and the sky and the trees and the animals. And it was all good. That was last week. Then he breathed life into man, Adam. Then God created Eve.
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone… | Genesis 2:18a (ESV)
Okay ladies, here is the first lesson for today. It’s not good for men to be alone. You should never leave us alone. All sorts of shenanigans will be had. It’s Biblical!
So, God created mankind in His image, right? Who remembers Genesis 1:27? What did the writer say at the end of every day? So, look at verse 31. The writer concludes the creation of humankind with a powerful exclamation point.
And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. | Genesis 1:31 (ESV)
Did you catch a difference there? God saw all that He had made, and it was VERY GOOD!
Why was it very good? Because God saw Himself in what He had made.
It’s the same with you. Remember when we talked about God creating you in His image. You are carriers of His genes. We are creations of God. It’s like saying this: We have the DNA of God inside of us. God wired us in His image to be a reflection of Him.
You may be thinking, that sounds lovely—being created in the image of God. But what does that mean, exactly? And what do I do? Good question!
Let’s read about it in Matthew 22.
One day, a group of people asked Jesus what was the most important thing they could do or think. Jesus answered by quoting the verses we looked at last week. But Jesus does something crazy here.
And he said to him, “37 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. | Matthew 22:37-39 (ESV)
Go ahead and highlight the phrase: “as yourself” if you like to highlight in your Bibles.
In this verse, Jesus is saying that loving yourself and others are just as important as loving God. This was huge for them then and is huge for us now. Loving God seems like something God would ask us to do. But you probably don’t expect Him to say it’s such a big deal to love yourself.
Most people are great at comparing themselves to others. Most people are great at defending themselves. Most people are great at rejecting themselves. And a lot of us have convinced ourselves that the worse we feel about ourselves, the more spiritual we are. But Jesus said that the opposite is important.
He wants us to be great at loving ourselves.
But doesn’t that seem like an arrogant thing to do? Wouldn’t we be back in the Wirefly system comparing ourselves and deciding that we’re better than others?
Loving ourselves has nothing to do with elevating ourselves over other people. Loving ourselves means that we believe we matter. Why? Because we’re awesome at basketball and better looking than someone in our geometry class? NO.
Loving ourselves means we matter because God created us! He said we matter.
It’s hard to love ourselves if we don’t feel like God loves us. It’s hard to even like ourselves.
One of Jesus’ closest followers and friends, while He was on earth, was a man named John. In a letter John wrote towards the end of his life, he says this:
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. | 1st John 4:1 (ESV)
Think about this for a second. God could have called us lots of things—stamped us with a million different titles. But He chooses to call us His children. It means you matter. Regardless of what you’ve said, done, or thought, God calls you His. Regardless of how other people have treated you, God says you’re worth it. Regardless of what your parents have said or not said about you. God calls you His child. You’re worth it.
Regardless of how you feel about yourself, you are important, valuable, accepted, and loved because you have been declared a child of the God of the universe.
The thing I want most for you is to realize that there is a God who loves you so much. He likes you, too. His love for you never changes, no matter what you do. No matter how weird you feel sometimes, you belong to Him.
God always loves you as you are right this second.
I hope that knowing this will encourage you to live with the confidence that you’ve never had before. I hope that you’ll begin to see yourself as worth it simply because God said you are. Nothing adds to that value, and nothing takes away from it.
So, what now?
Now, you can love you. It means that you can like you. But to do that, you have to constantly remind yourself of what God says about you. Remind yourself of what He thinks about you. Remind yourself of how He feels about you.
What’s the best way to do that? The Bible. I once heard someone describe the Bible as God’s love letter to us. Just like it’s important to refill a car with gas, it’s important to fill your mind with the truth of God’s love for you.
But it’s not enough to just read it. You must decide to accept it. To believe it, you must personalize it and embrace it. Reading can help you, but reading alone doesn’t change you. When you begin to make decisions based on what it says, that’s when real change happens for you.
This week, I want you to try to count and keep track of the number of times you remember that God loves you. Read these verses every day and see if you begin to feel like you have more worth in your life.
Remember: God always loves you as you already are.