This month, we're going to be looking at various insights to help us become a more effective Bible worker. To start this month, I want to share a great little memo reminding us what it's all about. Get ready to discover the true value of a soul...
The Value of a SoulBy Dan Vis
May 01, 2023
It is important to know the value of a soul. Having a healthy understanding of our own worth contributes to a sense of personal well-being. And understanding the worth of others improves how we relate to and treat those around us. But often, we fail to grasp the basis of our value as humans.
It's sometimes said we derive our value from the death of Jesus on the cross. I'd like to suggest the cross doesn't create our value, it reveals it. That is, we don't have value because Jesus died for us--Jesus died for us because we have value! But what is that value He saw?
Assuming our value is based on physical abilities, academic excellence, or physical attractiveness just leads to pride. We may assess each other's worth based on externals like these, but God does not. Those with unusual strength, intellect, or beauty are not more valuable to God than those without. And God does not view those with severe handicaps in one or another of these areas as worth less. Our true value lies elsewhere.
The fact is, God could have easily created new beings, to replace Adam and Eve after the fall, with even greater skills, talents, and abilities. Angels already far surpass us! But He didn't. And while sin has been steadily diminishing our potential for 6000 years, our value to God has not diminished one iota. God still sees something inherently valuable in us that compels Him to work for our redemption and restoration.
The Psalmist describes the value of our external abilities in these words:
For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.
But even dust has value. And in fact, it is the key to understanding the innate value of a human soul--because dirt can be used to do something extremely important. Notice this passage by the Apostle Paul:
II Corinthians 4:6-7
6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
Did you catch that? We are "earthen vessels". The value of clay is not in any of its intrinsic capabilities, but in the fact it can be molded and shaped into a container that can hold something of inestimable value. And the passage makes it clear what that treasure is: the glory of God.
“God sees value in us, because we can contain the glory of God within us, and reflect it to others.”
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God sees innate value in us, because we have the capacity to contain some measure of the glory of God within us, and reflect that glory to others. His glory, of course, represents His character. And God's longing is for a people who will reveal that character, at last, to the entire waiting universe.
Paul clearly understood God's "intent" is for "the manifold wisdom of God" to be made known "by the church" unto all "the principalities and powers in heavenly places" (Ephesians 3:10To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,). His power working in us "is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think" resulting in the church bringing glory to God "throughout all ages, [worlds] without end" (Ephesians 3:20-2120 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.).
And curiously, this turns our normal notions of value on their head. For the greater our defect, handicap, or limitation, the greater our ability to glorify God! When Paul asked for his thorn to be taken away, God revealed to him that it actually increased his ability to reveal the Father's glory--that His strength was made more perfect in our weakness. Immediately, Paul burst out into praise:
II Corinthians 12:9-109 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
Rather than 6000 years of sin diminishing our value, our weakened condition actually increases it! The poorer the frame, the more beautifully the portrait shines out. The weaker the vessel, the more perfectly God's grace can be seen.
“Rather than 6000 years of sin diminishing our value, our weakened condition increases it!”
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So you do have tremendous value to God--value in your capacity to contain within your heart the character of God, and reveal it to the world. And the people around you have that same incomprehensible potential as well, making them worth our best efforts. In fact, the weaker the vessel, the greater its ability to fulfill its purpose. The more valuable it becomes.
Jesus clearly saw our potential. He was willing to pay the ultimate price to redeem it! And one day soon He will gather together believers from around the world faithfully revealing the Father's glory to the universe, and settling the issues in the great controversy between good and evil forever. "He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied" (Isaiah 53:11He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.). It was worth it.
CommentsDo you wrestle with properly understanding your value? Perhaps not appreciating it fully at times? Or perhaps over exaggerating it on occasion? How important is it to grasp the proper basis of our value?
|Posted by Rebecca Gottfried on 05/02/23|
|Helen Did you have Ephesians 1:4According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: in mind in connection with the phrase “God put us in Christ before He created the world”? It’s a powerful thought just by itself… Then when you add all the other layers you mentioned that is edifying to think about.|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 05/01/23 - Coach|
|Wow, pretty powerful picture you painted there Helen. I think I need to take a minute and just unpack what you said. So cool...|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 02/18/23 - Coach|
|Amen! The fact He went out to find you shows you already had value! It's such an obvious point Sam. Good post...|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 02/14/23 - Coach|
|I like that formula Barbara: God's love for man should leave us "bursting with joy". And amen about wanting to share that love/joy combo with others...|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 01/04/23 - Coach|
|You are very welcome Robert! This is definitely a different way of thinking about value, isn't it?|
|Posted by Robert Gonzales on 01/03/23|
|I do sometimes wrestle with understanding my value in Gods eyes. I am very thankful for this lesson. It has helped me see myself and others in a better light. Thank you so much !!!|
|Posted by Margaret S. Po’oi on 12/29/22|
|This is so beautiful and so encouraging. Thank you for writing it.
It is important that we understand our value in light of the Word of God. We are "not to think of himself more highly that he ought to think; but to think soberly..."Romans 12:3For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. As SDAs, we understand truth and the gospel on a different level than the rest of Christendom. Sometimes that can get to our heads. However, God wants that truth to shine, to emanate, be proclaimed, so others can know Him better.
In short, understanding our value also means understanding our role and our work. God bless.
|Posted by Dan Vis on 11/30/22 - Coach|
|Thank you for your kind words Deanne! It's an amazing thought isn't it, that are real value in some ways is in our weakness! :)|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 11/29/22 - Coach|
|Wow, that is a cool thought Mike. My dad is a coin collector, so that really resonated with me. I love your conclusion--because we are each one of a kind, God was willing to pay such a high price. Love it!|
|Posted by Robert Gonzales on 11/21/22|
|This lesson is powerful!! I do wrestle in understanding my value. I believe it is very important to understand my value seeing myself through Gods eyes.|
|Posted by Louise P on 11/17/22|
|God sees innate value in us - the capacity to contain His character in our hearts, and reveal this to the world. AND, the people around us have that same potential! We are all precious in His sight!|
|Posted by Tev Gray on 11/17/22|
|Dan , this is why I love the Lord so much!
Only this week I wrote this question in my quarterly, to explore and I believe you have just answered it for me. My questions were: Are we humans, the only world that has dealt with a satan? Is this why, we who have triumphed over him, are so precious to God? Is this why God loves us so much & is doing all to save us?
We are of immeasurable value to God, as in spite of our brokenness, us being dust, having to endure the temptations satan present, we can reflect the glory of God, when we choose to Admit, Believe & Claim. 11 Corinthian 12:10 ....for when I am weak, then I am strong. It is no longer my strength but Christ's strength that is seen. Galatians 2:20I am crucified with Christ: neverthless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. .... nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.
I can totally understand why there is joy over each sinner that repents - the glory of God shines brighter each time! Luke 15:10Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.
|Posted by Dan Vis on 05/30/22 - Coach|
|The value of a container certainly increases when it's filled with something precious! Let's keep climbing higher Dianne!|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 09/06/21 - Coach|
|That's a good way to think about it Kathryn. That any good we do is His power in us. Which is just another way of saying our real value is our potential to reveal Him to the world.|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 05/27/20 - Coach|
|Glad this was inspiring for you Terri. The fact is, your past experiences make the miracle you are today all that much more, well, miraculous. That' what adds power to your testimony, and brings glory to God. Reminds me of that verse in the reading: II Corinthians 12:9-109 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.. Incredible!
I wonder Laurie, if that's not part of the liberty Paul encouraged us to stand fast in (Galatians 5:1Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.). I suppose it's primarily talking about a bondage to sin, but I think most addictions are powered by shame, guilt, bitterness and other negative emotions. Understand our value in Christ is indeed liberating internally, which leads to freedom externally. Just a thought that ran through my mind when I read your coment.
Glad we could share something you can use Valerie. I love to think of FAST as an army of workers around the world doing all kinds of different ministries in different ways. Each encouraging and supporting and praying for one another. Your post makes me think we are slowly getting there... :)
|Posted by Laurie Wissink on 05/25/20 - Coach|
|I agree with Terri. It's wonderful; I might even use the word, liberating, to be reminded of our value. Praise God! This is one of my favorite memos.|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 02/21/20 - Coach|
|You are very welcome Verona. Praise God this was helpful to you. And great prayer!|
|Posted by Verona Edwards on 02/20/20|
|Thanks for such a clear concept of who I am in the eyes of my Savior. I pray self will die so He can shine both in and out of my life|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 08/26/19 - Coach|
|No problem Karen! :) That auto correct can come up with some interesting things, sometimes.|
|Posted by Karen Williams on 08/26/19|
|Thanks. Dan Autocorrect really messed up my words that time. Thanks for figuring it out.|
|Posted by Karen Williams on 08/24/19|
|Question: if we are to reflect Gods glory to the universe, does this mean that even though the inhabitants have never sinner and can visit God any tiothey want that they die some reason do not actually know Him?|
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