Man makes the clothing, or clothing makes the man. This is often heared or cited in our conversations throughout the day. Not only in our conversations, but it has grown deep roots in our conciences, behavior, thoughts, and even in our identities. Because .. everyone likes new clothing, beautiful accessoires and gadgets. This mindset has poluted our thinking over the years, and has or will cause major damage to us if we do not do something.
Allow me to explain. With the outward appearance now being THE ‘measuring standard’, the temptation to ‘measure up’ in our relation with others becomes extremely high. We often like to know where we stand in society, and the first thing that comes to mind is how we look. We spend thousands (if not millions) on cosmetics, clothing, lifestyle, and possessions in order to have the latest, the best, or just something so that we don’t appear to be lacking things. Thus we measure others and ourselves based on possessions, wearings, and visible performance.
So let me ask you something challenging: What is your worth? There are multiple aspects to this question. I will do my best to make them clear.
1. Is your worth based on the things you have? Or on the things you wear? Or on the things you are allowed to do (work/education/hobbies)?
2. Is your worth based on your actions, your performances, your achievements?
3. Is your worth based on how you look, how healthy you are, how you behave?
When asked in this way, probably most people will not choose question 1. Maybe they take pride in their possessions, and their wealth. It may also be that they associate themselves with question 2, that they are proud of their performances, their achievements. Surely our modern society measures us up on our looks, possessions, and performances. And, infact, that is also the cause of this mindset. From childhood we are fed all these standards. We are compared, judged, bullied, measured or refused entrance. In some extreme cases people are also beaten, raped, tortured and killed for the abovementioned.
But let us stick to the question: what is your worth? What if we would evaluate our worth on our looks, our health or our behavior? Then we are not comparing opportunity and performances right? Well, would it actually matter? In essence, we are comparing people based on their circumstances.
We think: because you have bad looks, you must be of lower value/grade/caste.
Because you are behaving nicely, you are more valuable than the other person who behaves very rude.
Let us disect these thoughts. As I mentioned before, we are comparing people based on their circumstances. Here is an example: you work in a cafe and there are two customers heading your way.
The first customer behaves very rude, throws you the money, snatches the drinks, and goes away cursing.
The second customer comes in very nicely, greets you, gently gives you the amount required, and thanks you for the drink.
Without a doubt most people would be more glad with the second customer than the first. And I do not exclude myself in any of this. I’m just as guilty and vulnerable.
However, what if the first customer had just the worst day of his life? Wife cheated on him, he lost his job due to an improper sentence he accidentally said, lost his house and became homeless overnight. Whereas the second person just heared he will get a bonus for his performance in the banking sector.
Is this ‘judgement’ then fair? Wat if it would be the other way around, would you then dislike the second person because he lost everything? Are we then ‘justified’ in our judgement? Is it fair to judge like this? What if you were the one who lost it all?
You will not escape such thoughts, they are so ingrained in our conciences that it is difficult to lose them. But are these thoughts ‘wrong’? Are they sinful in nature? Lets have a look at scripture:
And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of
the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory
was not arrayed like one of these.
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (Matthew 6:28-29, 31 KJV)
The rich and poor meet together: the Lord is the maker of them all. (Proverbs 22:2 KJV)
Here Jesus is comparing Solomon, one of the wealthiest kings of the world in all his splendour, to lillies of the field. And He sais that the lillies have much more glory to them than solomon. That should tell us something about question 1 and 2!
So what is your worth? If it is not what you wear, what you have or have not?
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? (Mark 8:36 KJV)
It would seem that our soul is worth more than the whole world. Your soul is your most valuable possession. That is the only possession you were entrusted with in the first place.
For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. (1 Timothy 6:7 KJV)
So when we strip all earthly possessions, achievements, looks, experiences, and acquired skills, what is there left of us? What is there beyond that? Are we worth anything? Allow me to show you:
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved:)
And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Not of works, lest any man should boast.
(Ephesians 2:4-9 KJV)
So when you were still sinning, opposing God in all your doings, He sent Christ to die for you! He loved you with such a great compassion, so much even, that He sent His only Son to die for you. This may not be clear enough. Imagine having a son whom you love beyond comparison, and sending Him as a sacrifice for a murderer, rapist, torturer, stealer, fornicator, lier… Would you do that? I will be honest with you, I wouldn’t… But God loved us so much…
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16 KJV)
That is your worth! You are worth dying for! And not just sacrificing an animal for your sins, no! You are worth the Blood of Jesus. For your sake He endured all the shame, all the criticism, all the scorn and contempt, He even endured being accused falsely and sentenced to death. Try standing with your arms as if you were hanging on the cross. I did this for 10 minutes.. and it was horrible. Imagine being nailed to the cross, bleeding, hung by nails in your bones… It is truly an aweful, dreading thing.
BUT GOD DID THIS FOR YOU! He took your place on that cross, and as you accept His offering, confess that you have sinned and need His forgiveness, in order for Him to come and live inside of you, and being renewed by the Holy Spirit: then your sins will be pardoned and you are able to approach God. Because now your sins are not in your way anymore. The blood of Jesus has cleansed your sins and you can stand before God, whom loves you beyond comparison.