“You are beautiful no matter what they say. Words can’t bring you down.”
Industries thrive by feeding on our insecurities. They exploit our deficiencies so that we will be forced to grab what they have to offer. Over and over we are being reassured that their product is the ‘one last thing’ we need in order to be complete. Adding to that is the fact that today’s connectivity and access to information make it easier for them to cast before us those images with beautiful faces; their ideals and representation of what you ‘should’ look like and what you will look like if you would only buy what these companies are selling. Their campaigns succeed by digging up deep-seated insecurities and diffidence from our hearts.
And so, the reprisal of a large portion of Christianity from this norm of having sucked-out self-esteem has been to magnify our self-worth in Christ. It has become a prevailing notion that we should assign titles of royalty to ourselves in order for us to be shielded from the noise around us that keep on telling we are ugly and worthless. After all, doesn’t it follow that if God is the King, then we, His children, are His princes and princesses? We have found a way to comfort ourselves by repeatedly chanting that we are beautiful, valued, freed. This is why lots of messages, devotionals, books, camps, and conferences center around this theme of us being Kingdom Kids. We are “fearfully and wonderfully made” as Psalm 139:14, right?
Considering how being weighed down by low self-esteem can be destructive, this is understandable. But is this the right response?
The problem that we have to deal with if we promote this royal-blood language, is this is a very strange concept in the Scriptures as to how Christians should respond to the Gospel. We may find in some places where we are being called “citizens of heaven” and some things of the sort, but it is a misconception to ascribe to ourselves titles of majesty and highness in the same way that the world perceives royalty (Matthew 20:25,26). The work that we have been called to do is messy; to love those who are unloving, to give to the needy, to weep with those who weep, to visit orphans and widows, and many other work that no earthly aristocrat will ever lay his hands upon. We are called to get muddied. This shouldn’t be too hard for us to conceive when the Bible calls us again and again as servants. And nothing would be more contradictory to our imagination that we are princes and princesses than that.
If putting premium on our self-worth isn’t the answer, then what comfort is there for us when the world makes us feel small, ugly, insignificant, and unloved? We look away from ourselves. We look to the One whose footstool is the earth. We look to the One whose beauty leaves even spotless angels breathless. We look to the One before whose throne all creation must bow down. We look to the One whose steadfast love is better than life. This is what will silence the voices that whisper of our brokenness.
God redeemed us, made us new and keeps us. But if we mistake all these gifts to be the end-goal, then we will be driven to think that our identity and significance are the highlights of God’s work in our lives. They aren’t. God didn’t save us so we could get preoccupied with our title as sons and daughters. He reedemed us in Christ so we would know Him, fear Him, enjoy Him. Centering our lives in anything less than God would be to miss the point. Our identity in Christ is not the pearl of great price, but Christ Himself.