What Makes You Special?

How do you view yourself? Are you happy with who you are? Do you have high self-esteem? Or, do you have low self-esteem and wish you were someone different?

We currently live in a society where for so many people they have a low view of themselves. For so many they evaluate themselves and wish they were smarter, or taller, or prettier, or skinnier. For so many they think very little of themselves.

There are several reasons for this:

  • For some it is because they didn’t grow up in an environment where they had a mother and father to speak positively to them and make them feel special.
  • For some it is because they were constantly bullied and made fun of in school (maybe they were bullied because they were short, or overweight, or poor).
  • For some it is because they have spent time in abusive relationships (maybe they dated, or were married to, someone who talked down to them all the time and was verbally abusive).
  • For some it is because they have been brainwashed by culture. They look at the models and celebrities on T.V and in the magazines and feel they have to strive to look like them. Since our culture has deemed these people as the ultimate standard of beauty, for many they make it their life’s goal to imitate them.

The question is: what does God see when He looks at you? What makes you special and unique in the eyes of God? Is it any of these superficial things that our society deems as significant and important? Or, is it something else?

Here are three things that make you special before the living God:

  • God created you. This is one of the first things revealed in the Bible (Genesis 1:26-27). You are not some grand cosmic accident. You did not get here just by chance. No, God created you! He designed and breathed life into you (Genesis 2:7). He made you special and unique. You are the product of His creative handy work. Whenever you start having a low view of yourself, please remember this!
  • God created you in His image. This is in fact the main thing that separates man and makes him superior to anything else God has made (Genesis 1:26-27). God didn’t just make you, but He made you in a very specific and unique way. He made you in His image! Being made in the image of God includes a couple of very important things. First, it includes the fact that you have the ability to make choices. You have the ability to choose who you want to date and marry. You have the ability to choose your profession and where you want to live. You even have the ability to choose whether or not you want to serve God (Joshua 24:15). You are not a programmed robot. Neither do you live off instinct like animals. Like God, you have the ability to make conscious and rational decisions. Second, being made in the image of God means that, like God, you are eternal. You are eternal not in the sense that you have no beginning (like God), but in the sense that at some point you will dwell in eternity (Ecclesiastes 12:7; Luke 16:19-31; Revelation 6:9-11). Unlike with animals, this life is not the end for you! You have an eternal soul and after the day of resurrection you will abide in either heaven or hell forever (Matthew 25:31-46). This is why it matters how you live right now.
  • Jesus died for you. Whenever you start to doubt if God really loves and views you as special, think about the cross. Jesus went to the cross because of His deep love for you (John 3:16). Even when you were at your worst (when you were lost in your sins) Jesus left heaven, lived a perfect life as a man, suffered, and was crucified on the cross (Romans 5:8; Ephesians 2:1-5). Always remember that when Jesus looks at you, He looks beyond the things our society judges you by. He looks at your soul and He died so your soul can have an opportunity to rest in heaven when your life on this earth is over (Revelation 14:13).

It is easy to think more highly of ourselves than we ought. It is also easy to do the opposite. But remembering what makes you special in the eyes of God will give you balance. It will help you appreciate what really matters about yourself and maintain a positive outlook on your life.

– Shawn Jeffries

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Are You Running On The Wrong Fuel?

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Have you seen the commercial where a young lady is at a gas station trying to put diesel fuel into her new car? People all around the service station notice and try to stop her. Events begin to happen in slow motion. As she lifts the nozzle and opens her fuel-cap, the townspeople are running and yelling and waving their arms to gain her attention. But no one can stop her!

The commercial returns to real time as the neighbors arrive at the pump, only to find that her sporty little car actually has a diesel engine under the hood. The people look relieved and the young lady looks confused – she knew she had selected the right fuel all along.

The commercial is hilarious because everyone knows what happens when you put diesel fuel into a gasoline engine – you wreck the engine! You cannot do it. It does not work.

Likewise, people are designed by God to run on certain “fuel,” but how many of us are trying to run on the wrong fuel? Notice the invitation extended by God’s prophet Isaiah.

“Ho! Everyone who thirsts,

Come to the waters;

And you who have no money,

Come, buy and eat.

Yes, come, buy wine and milk

Without money and without price.

2 Why do you spend money for what is not bread,

And your wages for what does not satisfy?

Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,

And let your soul delight itself in abundance.

3 Incline your ear, and come to Me.

Hear, and your soul shall live;

And I will make an everlasting covenant with you —

The sure mercies of David,” Isaiah 55:1-3

Why do we spend all of our money, time, and energies on things that do not satisfy, that is, on the wrong fuel? Greed, materialism, gluttony, and mammon – all these give the appearance of satisfying our souls and bringing purpose to our lives. But they fail. We were made to run on different fuel – the Word of God (Matthew 4:3-4).

Until we stop trying to fill our hearts and lives with poor substitutes for a right relationship with God, we are wrecked engines trying to run on the wrong fuel. Isaiah’s invitation resonates with all who realize that their own attempts at joy, peace, and abundance have only ended in frustrations and yearnings.

It is time for something different, something more. It is time to feed our lives with the right fuel. It is time we trust and obey God’s Word.

by Andrew Roberts

We Can Endure!

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Have you ever met someone whose perseverance through their own struggles motivated you to do better?

For me, it was Angela, a 33 year old Christian with Down’s syndrome whom I met while preaching in the Birmingham area. Though she only came up to my shoulder she had a personality that was bigger than life. Angela was nearly the first person who shook my hand the morning I arrived at the church building. She marched right up and greeted me with a bright smile, saying, “You must be Andrew Roberts. I am looking forward to your sermons.” Then she quickly returned to her pew. She greeted me every night of that week-long preaching meeting.

There were interactive outlines for my sermons during the week but Angela would not take one. She told the ushers, “No. I don’t want it. I take my own notes.” Then on Friday night, after the last service, she handed me a stack of papers. She said, “Here are your sermons. And I want you to have them.” As I looked down, I realized that she had handwritten nearly everything I’d said in each sermon!

I was overwhelmed at her perseverance because I understood that every aspect of the note-taking process was more difficult for her. She truly endured. From her fine motor skills, to her cognitive ability, to her visual acuity – everything was just a little harder. And I treasure those papers as a testament to her faith and a poignant example of endurance.

The Hebrew writer admonishes: we all need endurance. “For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise” (Hebrews 10:36). Endurance is necessary to “do the will of God” (Hebrews 10:36), “live by faith” (Hebrews 10:38), and “run the race set before us” (Hebrews 12:1). We need endurance because doing, living, and running won’t happen accidentally. Furthermore, we need endurance because we don’t know how long we must continue doing, living, and running. Will we serve God faithfully for the next 60 years? Will Jesus return tomorrow?

What exhausts our endurance? The book of Hebrews shows Christians who began running their race amidst great struggles. Hebrews 10:32-34 recounts how, as new converts, they were mocked, imprisoned, lost property, and shared their goods with persecuted saints. Yet, according to Hebrews 10:23-25, those same Christians currently wavered about their confession and rarely assembled with the saints. They used to go to jail for Jesus and now they won’t even go to church!

Without endurance, Christians “draw back to perdition” (Hebrews 10:38-39). Being burdened and ensnared in sin, they cease to run their race (Hebrews 12:1).

So, what encourages endurance?

The Hebrew writer directed Christians to follow good examples of faith and endurance. First, they were reminded that faith fuels endurance through many Old Testament examples (Hebrews 11). Then they were directed to Jesus (Hebrews 12:2-3)! Jesus is the primary example of perseverance for the prize. Finally, they needed to consider their leaders and spiritual forebears (Hebrews 6:12; 13:7). These all received God’s promises.

The Bible recounts God’s faithfulness in the past and promises for the future. It makes the case for endurance today. Furthermore, we benefit from the good examples of leaders in the church or beloved elderly saints who’ve shaped us and endured in the faith.

Endurance is rewarded in receiving God’s “promise” (Hebrews 10:36) – “the saving of the soul” (Hebrews 10:39). We can endure! What helps is time spent reading Scripture, an intent focus on Jesus, and meeting saints like Angela who, themselves, persevere.

By Andrew Roberts