Value, Valor, and Vindication

God has been speaking to my heart for a while now about my value in His sight. I grew up in a household where, like many people, one had to earn love. Even then, when you believed you might have earned some, it could be quickly and completely withdrawn for any reason{or even no reason}, at any time. The conservative Lutheran church I grew up in validated this viewpoint {For four years, I had also attended the parochial school connected with this church and had religion classes daily}.
 
I found it difficult to reconcile the words of unconditional love I had read in the Bible with these teachings and attitudes, wanting to know if this was all there was to believe. So who was this God who was my Heavenly Father? For me, He was a terrible judge, and righteously so. Jesus’ salvation was a source of guilt and condemnation for me, because I had done nothing to show adequate appreciation for His love nor earn His approval for my life.
 
However, Jesus had a different plan for my life. He has wanted me to know the loving, providing heart of Father God, and to pass that on to others who had been affected as I had been by well-meaning, yet deceived authorities in their lives. Father God wanted me to know that He drew me to Himself in spite of what the world, my family, and my church had to say about me. He told me that He is my defender, Savior, and the lifter of my head, and I did not have to earn this in any way. In fact, I could NOT earn this; the best person in the world {according to human standards} could not earn this!
 
I knew I was sinful, and that, as it says in Jeremiah, that my heart was desperately wicked, so wicked that there was no way to know how black my soul was. I KNEW I needed a Savior! But even then, God wanted me to know that He had more in mind for me. He led me to Ezekiel 36: 25-30.
 
“I will also sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. I will cleanse you from your impurities and all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will place My Spirit within you and cause you to follow My statutes and carefully observe my ordinances. Then you will live in the land that I gave your fathers. You will be My people, and I will be your God. I will save you from all your uncleanness. I will summon the grain and make it plentiful, and will not bring famine on you. I will also make the fruit of the trees and the produce of the field plentiful, so that you will no longer experience reproach among the nations on account of famine.”
 
Similarly, in Philippians 2:13, He showed me that His grace will empower me to change:
 
“For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
 
And in Ephesians 2:10, He tells me that He has already figured out what He has for me to do:
 
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
 
All these scriptures delineated a God’s message to me, that He wanted me to know my value to Him. He used them to tell me that no one else declared what my value was except for Him. This included anything my family had to say, in addition to any church. His heart and opinion transcended everything and everyone, including myself.
 
He also wanted me to understand that He was the one who would provide the courage and strength necessary to complete whatever tasks He determined for my life. His grace would give me the valor to accomplish His work!
 
As Paul writes in Philippians 3: 13-14, it is not that I have already attained this, but I am forgetting what lies behind me, pressing on, reaching forward to the prize goal of the upward call of God in Jesus Christ.
 
He would be not only my Savior and provider, but He would defend me against the enemy, who is constantly looking to destroy the works of God, or at the very least, put God’s people on a dusty shelf where they would watch a useless life go by, unused by God. God has other plans for you and me. God is our vindicator!!! As the passage in Ezekiel says, He will cause us to live fruitful lives…all we need to do is accept His grace, forsake our inclination to try to earn everything, and relax into His Spirit who gives wisdom, strength, joy, and peace. God will accomplish it…He said it is time for His people to rise up and be called out, to STAND!!!
 
~Denise
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