Are Counterfeit Gods Giving Me the Most Self Worth?
Last Sunday we started a series at Cornerstone called Counterfeit Gods, somewhat based on the book by Tim Keller called Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters, in a way of examining our lives to see exactly what we put in front of God, to look at the idols we worship, other than or in addition to, God Himself. Often when we think of idols today we think about bowing down to the golden calf of the old testament, not something we do today, but our idols abound everywhere in 2011. When I started taking a closer look at this it becomes obvious that one man's idol is another man's gift, so to speak. Anything can be an idol. Even if it's something inherently good, if it takes priority over the Lord, it's out of it's proper place.
What Makes Me Feel the Most Self Worth?
This question was on a list of ten questions we were asked to look at over the week, and this one, number six in line, was the one that poked a hole through my heart. To go along with the "self-worth" question, a series of questions was posed, like; "What am I the most proud of in my life?" and "Early on in a relationship, what do I want to make sure that people know about me?"
I have spent many years of my life trying to eliminate things within my own house that preside all over our culture, but this "self-worth" question is different than looking at something like materialism. For me, it seems like it would be easier to see if Apple has a stranglehold on your life than if your wife is more important to me than God, or if my work in ministry or photography is more important than God. The "who we are" questions that make us individuals and not clones is a fine line between obsession, knowledge, and proper place.
It's those things in life, which drive our personality, it's part of who we are as individuals, it's what makes us unique among each other. Other people have skills and talents I can't even imagine having, but I also have unique abilities, gifts from God, that I can use for His glory or my own selfishness. Reading Ephesians 2:8-10 yesterday reminded me that those gifts were not something self-made, but given to me. Apart from God there is nothing I posses, no ability I have, that is or was my own doing.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
On a more personal note, the answer I gave to these questions in my own journal is this entry below.
On a surface level I would have to say my job, my photography, or my blog gives me my most earthly self worth but that isn’t it, it is the praise of man that goes along with those things that shames me in being proud. Lord I ask that you help me succeed in glorifying your kingdom in the gifts you have given me while not boasting in my own abilities. I can take a great image of a dogwood flower but I can’t make the flower bloom. I can use the tools given me but I can’t create the life that appears in my images.
What I am known for and what I want to be known for are two totally different things still. This is exactly what Michael Hyatt goes over in his free eBook, Creating a Life Plan. What do I want to be known for is for being an honest, upright, and faithful man of God who turned to God in every aspect of life, more and more as I mature in life and age until the day the Lord calls me home. I want to be the best husband I can possibly be, and then the earthly things that come along with being a successful photographer or having a significant impact on people with my career in ministry, however long the Lord chooses that to be.
What am I actually known for? I don't even want to ask, but it's the gap between what I am today and the above paragraph where the work resides.