The Best Advice I’ve Ever Received
You are loved unconditionally, you have nothing to prove, and God desires to meet with you as we spend time in his presence today.
We all have an innate human need to be loved. But where we get that love makes the difference between living to give or living to get. Let’s remind ourselves today of the incredible love God has lavished on us. You are loved unconditionally, you have nothing to prove, and God desires to meet with you as we spend time in his presence today.
I grew up with a low self-image.
My father had a heart attack when I was two years old which severely restricted his activities as a result. He couldn’t play catch with me or teach me to shoot a basketball or throw a football.
Because of that, I got picked last for all the teams during recess in elementary school. Over time, I developed a deep sense of inadequacy. It wasn’t until seventh grade that I began playing tennis and discovered I actually had athletic gifts. But by then it was too late. My sense of myself was set.
I became a Christian at the age of fifteen, partially out of amazement that the God of the universe would love me as I am. Over the years, I’ve tried to base my self-esteem not on what others think of me but on who God says I am.
But it’s been a challenge. I’m tempted every Sunday when I preach to honor God so he will honor me. I am tempted every morning to meet with God in Bible study and prayer so he will bless my day, to serve him so he will serve me. I am tempted every day to make my relationship with God a means to my ends rather than living as a means to his.
In fact, I am tempted right now to impress you with my humility in telling you about my struggles with humility.
Does any of this resonate with you?
Years ago, a wise counselor explained to me the mindset of our day: “I am not who I think I am. I am not who you think I am. I am who I think you think I am.”
But there’s a better way.
We can choose to live not to impress others but to humbly glorify our Lord. We can choose to say what John the Baptist said of Jesus in John 3:30: “He must increase, but I must decrease.” We can imitate the One who said of himself “I am gentle and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:29). We can follow the example of our Lord who “came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
The truth is that we can’t live like this unless we truly believe we have nothing to prove to anyone and that we have eternal value and significance because we are eternally and unconditionally loved by our Father.
When I was in high school, my youth minister gave me the single greatest piece of advice I’ve ever received: Always remember the source of your personal worth.
To serve God with humility that seeks his glory before ours, remember the price he paid to purchase your salvation. Remember the cost of the cross. Remember that he did all of that for you and that he would do it all again, just for you.
So today, choose to serve him, not so he will love you but because he already does. Not so he will bless you, but because he already has. Love him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength because that is how he loves you.
Always remember the source of your personal worth.
today’s devotional is written by Jim Denison
1. Meditate on the death and resurrection of Jesus. Think about how he was willing to endure immense pain and suffering for your sake, and remember what his death accomplished for you. Now imagine yourself present when he rose triumphantly from the grave. All of this he did out of joy and love for you.
“God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
2. Ask the Lord to help you experience his love for you in a tangible, personal way. Take time to feel his presence. Receive the reality of his unconditional love.
“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing” (Zephaniah 3:17).
3. Think about how you can live and serve with humility as you honor the Lord in gratitude for his grace today.
“What does the Lᴏʀᴅ require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8).
One of the best ways we can honor our Lord is by helping others honor him. As we discussed yesterday, we cannot truly love him unless we love our neighbor as well. When you choose not to live for the acclaim of others, you are free to love them whether or not they love you back. You are free to serve them whether they serve you or not.
If, like John, we are choosing to “decrease” so Jesus can “increase,” we will influence others to do the same. The lighthouse that shines farthest shines brightest at home.
Extended reading: 1 John 3
One of the best ways we can honor our Lord is by helping others honor him.