The Value of a SoulBy Dan Vis
May 25, 2020
For our last memo this week, I've brought back one of my favorites articles on the true value of a soul. A great capstone to our focus on ministry this month. But this is actually only just the beginning. Over the next couple weeks, we'll be opening two exciting resources to help equip you for ministry. Stay tuned...
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 Dan Vis on 05/27/20|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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?|
|Posted by Kjersti on 08/24/19|
|My moyher liked the article, I red it to her. thank God for understanding, and for letting us know our value!|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 08/23/19|
|Nice thoughts Qing, about how empathy can come with maturity, and understanding our value as humans can help us see one another differently. Good post!|
|Posted by Lillian E. Cepeda on 07/17/19|
|After twenty years of taking abuse and loss of personal value, I was finally, set free. I learned how valuable I am before God's presence. I learned how valuable I am to Jesus, that he gave His life for me. What a blessing it is to received the Holy Spirit through Christ's death!
Therefore, If the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.(NKJV) John 8:36If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
|Posted by Dan Vis on 09/25/18|
|Wow, thanks for sharing a bit of your story Doranita. Your testimony about the power of knowing our value, and the ministry you are building sounds powerful. I wish you all the best!|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 09/06/18|
|That is a powerful thought Barbara! Thanks for sharing how that has changed your life. Understanding our value and the value of others can be truly life-changing. Appreciate your comment!|
|Posted by Barbara Davis on 09/06/18|
|Several months ago God used the reality of "Christ died FOR ALL" to get this point through to me. It has, and continues, to change so much of my thinking and praying. It gives me the confidence to meet every person with a vision of them in the kingdom--especially those who appear to want to be enemies.
Over the years I have had many doubts, and continued attending and being active in church because I knew that is where my children needed to be. Now I am understanding that it is not about being active, but knowing Him and allowing Him to lead me to the work He has for me. Makes the Christian walk a joy: Matthew 11:28-3028 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light..
|Posted by Dan Vis on 09/04/18|
|Beautiful comments everyone. Looks like this memo sparked some wonderful meditation.
Narelle, love you thoughts about creativity. One reason I like the new ministry model we're teaching in Unleashed is the infinite creativity it allows.
Love how you connected those two verses Paul. Powerful! I can see a great sermon in there...
So true Valerie, about the great number of people who struggle with their identity and worth. But praise God, the Bible affirms our value so powerfully!
|Posted by Paul Carson on 09/03/18|
|Luke 7:46-4846 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. 48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. comes to mind as I ponder this blessed memo.Then I connect that with Genesis 3:15And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.. Mary anoints the One whose heel was to be bruised as it bruises (crushes) the head of the serpent (Satan). Mary's love for God (the reflection of her value in Christ) is acknowledged, accepted and appreciated by Jesus, and her many sins forgiven. The Cross was yet to come but Love had already come, in this instance, to Mary.|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 09/03/18|
|Cool Pam! I think Qing nailed the picture for me in her comment on 5/30/17. Scroll down and look for the line in blue. The whole comment is awesome...|
|Posted by Pamela Kendall on 09/03/18|
|Wainwright and Dan I love your thoughts about light shining out of the vessel - makes me think of a paper lantern or better yet an old fashioned lamp chimney... As God cleanses the soot (sin) from our lamp chimney his light shines through brighter and brighter to guide others on the way to Jesus because sin stops blocking or distorting the light from God's word we are trying to preach Psalms 119:105Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. ; Proverbs 4:18But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.|
|Posted by Wainwright Phillip on 09/03/18|
|Unlike water in a container seems the glory of God (Jesus) was made to shine through the container with holes without the glory being diminished! treasure leaking everywhere you go.!|
|Posted by Pamela Kendall on 09/03/18|
|Love this memo! So beautiful... and to think what makes us seem "un-valuable" to ourselves and others (our faults and weakness and lack of qualifications) make God's glory shine out all the more clearly when we give them to him and let him cleanse and use us - for it makes it all the more clear that our success is due only to God Acts 4:13Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.|
|Posted by J. Fred Calkins on 09/03/18|
|Awesome! Humbling! Challenging! First I have an improved understanding of my value; but more, I recognize the value of others so much better. Thank you for helping with this insight. Fred|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 06/14/17|
|Love the imagery Merilyn! Pitched my tent in the land of hope... Nice.|
|Posted by Merilyn Aveling-Rowe on 06/08/17|
|Qing I I love your picture of the cracked old clay vase made beautiful because of the light of God shining through.
There's hope for me yet!
Acts 2:28Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. Not only made beautiful but
"glad from the inside out, ecstatic;
I’ve pitched my tent in the land of hope...
You’ve got my feet on the life-path,
with your face shining sun-joy all around. (paraphrase from The Message Bible)
Joy, light, hope, life. What blessings God gives!
|Posted by Valerie Wise Burrell on 06/02/17|
|I am so blessed by all of the insights shared here. Pastor Dan, this was a particularly important post today. As a clinical therapist, I have the privilege to work with precious souls who have been given a lie about their worth due to early life circumstances. And as a Christian who is a therapist, I get to share the Good News that God loves them (us) more than we can even think or imagine in His Son, Jesus Christ.
Zewdi's post reminds me of this text Philippians 3:21Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.. Thanks to everyone for their insights.
|Posted by Dan Vis on 05/30/17|
|Qing, you are pretty amazing! You make connections quicker than I do... :)
Agreed Ajay, those parables all take on new light when viewed from that perspective!
|Posted by Dan Vis on 05/30/17|
|Great comments everyone! I love the word picture you drew Qing, of a clay vase with holes and cracks letting out the light within. The bigger the holes and cracks, the more glorious the light! Beautiful...
And I hadn't really connected this with the endtime Gospel. Revelation 14:6-76 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, 7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. is pretty clear it really is about giving glory to God!
Glad this could be a blessing Deanna! I like to think of it not as some value "placed on us", but a value created in us innately at creation--and seen in us by a God whose vision is clearer than ours. That is, God doesn't see something in us that is not there, we don't see something in us that is there. :)
And love your prayer Ann! I think most of the comments above relate how understanding affects our own self-concept. But it should have just as great an impact or more, on how we look at others! That's actually why I shared this topic. Next month's challenge is all about sharing with others...
|Posted by Deanna Dekle on 05/30/17|
|Awesome thoughts! I've been praying for just this that my son would see the great love God has for him Jeremiah 31:3The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.. Love awakens love. When we understand the value God has placed on us, we begin to return that love-which becomes the process of changing us. We reach out and take in godly things and let go of the sinful. Then Matthew 11:28-3028 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. becomes a really. The heavy yoke of sin is replaced by the glorious freedom within Christ and in place of guilt and shame we find joy and peace. What a beautiful blessing of fellowship!!|
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