The best thing I’ve heard all week is a message given in church this past Sunday. Titled “Elaborate Fig Leaves,” it was something I really needed to hear. In essence, the pastor reminded me of the importance of humankind’s true identity as the crowning glory of God’s creation. The message stressed again and again that this identity precedes purpose and not the other way around.
Made in his image, humankind in Genesis experienced unhindered relationship with God and each other. In the fall, all relationship was corrupted; all experience of God’s glory was thwarted. But, through the saving work of Christ, we are reconciled. Relationship with God is restored, and his glory shines through it.
I can get caught up in purpose (in the things I am doing, must do, intend to do, etc.). And I often operate with the belief that my purpose defines me, determines my value. So, if I am not able to accomplish all that I set out to do, I feel shame and self-contempt. But this is such wrong thinking. Identity, worth and value are found in our very created being-ness. And who we are — well, we are all God’s miracles. What we do does not determine our value. Our value is something that was established long ago by the Creator.
Living in relationship with God and with others flows from a heart that is open — open to truth, open to pain, open to love. I am thankful that God has marked the way of openness, has demonstrated what this looks like. I am thankful that Christ himself knew who he was and that he chose the path he did because of it.
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This post is dedicated to all those who experience shame because they can’t contribute as they’d like — all who are sick, disabled, unemployed, or with hopes unfulfilled. God’s blessings, dear ones.