A balanced 'Prosperity Theology': A personal perspective
Rev. Dr. Thomson K. Mathew, Oral Roberts University, USA
The writer explains that true prosperity is loving people more than things, valuing relationships more than ownership of things, being a good steward of one's time, talent, treasure and relationships and fulfilling one's call in life and being a part of God's kingdom work on planet earth.
It is widely reported that extreme versions of what is called prosperity theology is spreading rapidly in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Testimonies of those who prospered and stories of those whose lives fell apart as a result of following these teachings are available in all three continents. Although it was made in the USA, currently this particular brand of theology that focuses on faith, health and wealth is enjoying robust growth outside the United States.
Classical Pentecostals, especially in India, have attacked prosperity theology because of its poor biblical foundations, but they have not put forth a solidly biblical alternative. An alternate theology must recognize that Jesus came not only to "bind up the broken hearted," but also to give "good news to the poor" (Luke 4:18). Good news to the poor cannot possibly be that they will be poor for ever. It has to be the opposite. We cannot over-spiritualize the words of Jesus and claim that poor in spirit are always poor materially too (Matt. 5:3) and that Paul's testimony about "making many rich" (2 Cor. 6:10) is strictly about nonmaterial things.
The problem with extreme versions of prosperity gospel is that it assumes that material blessings are the most important ones God offers, and that they are always signs of God's blessings and of the rich person's good standing with God. The answer to bad theology, however, is not worse theology. Bad theology needs to be replaced with good theology. The answer to extreme versions of prosperity theology is not extreme versions of poverty theology influenced by Hindu asceticism or Gandhian philosophy. What is needed is a balanced biblical theology of wealth.
It is very hard to prove from the bible that being a rich follower of Christ is always wrong. From all we know, Joseph of Arimathea was a rich man. His property was useful to Jesus at the time of his burial. I am glad Joseph was well off. My savior was buried in a brand new tomb that no one else had used before because of Joseph's wealth.
Poverty in itself is not a virtue. I have seen some ungodly poor Christians. I also have met some godly rich people. Obviously, the size of the bank account is not the main issue. One's walk with God is. It is what one does with his or her money that matters. It is how the money is made and used. Who is in charge? The money or the Lord?
I recently spoke with a multi-millionaire Christian. To the best of my knowledge, he did not amass his wealth through unrighteous means. He became rich as the Lord blessed his business. I stood amazed as he told me about the good deeds his family is doing with their money to expand the kingdom of God. Money is not the problem. The love of money is the real problem.
It is a proven fact that the Gospel of Jesus economically lifts communities. The good news produces what is called a social lift. It is only natural. The life style change of the born again believer has a corresponding positive economic impact. For instance, the former alcoholic does not spend on alcohol any longer. The former smoker does not spend on cigarettes any more. When a significant part of a community is transformed by the gospel, its economic lot improves. Additionally, good ideas, insights and wisdom received from God also impact the community's economic status. A balanced theology of wealth must take this into account.
I am well aware that some ministers have enriched themselves using bad theology and devious means. Certainly, God does not want his ministers to exploit their people. The prophet clearly spoke against the shepherds who kill their sheep (Ezek. 34:1-3). This does not mean that God wants to keep all his children always poor. We should not abandon a balanced biblical teaching on wealth because of some abusers.
This is the way I see the biblical perspective on this issue. God is a good God. He does meet the needs of His people. In fact, He loves to bless His children in all areas of their lives. He loves to give them not only what they need, but also some of those things their hearts desire (Psalms 37: 4). God's blessings are not merited. All of them are gifts of a loving Father given to His children based only on His mercy and grace, not manipulation of any kind. Material blessings are not foolproof signs of God's favor. Why some wonderful Christians remain poor while many others less spiritually mature prosper materially remains a mystery. Christians must share their wealth with the poor. God's ultimate purpose is not to bless us materially. It is to make us conform to the image of His Son Jesus.
What is true success then? What is true prosperity? I believe it is loving people more than things. It is valuing relationships more than ownership of things. It is being a good steward of one's time, talent, treasure and relationships. It is sharing one's blessings with others, being content in all circumstances and holding on to things loosely. Basically, it is fulfilling one's call in life and being a part of God's kingdom work on planet earth.
God wants His children to prosper in all areas of their lives. His will is our well being and success. However, in the eternal scheme of things, real success is faithfulness to God's call and purpose. I believe that is what Mother Teresa was trying to communicate when she said that God called her not to be successful, but to be faithful.
Reason to rejoice: A Devotional on Luke 1:46-55
Rev. J.P. Robins, Boston, USA
Rev. J.P. Robins is ministering at Tremont Temple, an international church in downtown Boston. Previously, he has held various management positions at technology companies. Robins has a master's degree in Urban Ministry from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary and a MBA from De Montfort University. He lives in Boston, USA with his wife, Elizabeth, and their 3 children.
THIS SEASON, CELEBRATE REASON. That may sound like a piece of good advice to the many consumers who perhaps spend thoughtlessly during Christmas time. But this is not a message to them. This statement was seen on a large billboard in New Jersey, sponsored by American Atheists, calling Christmas "a myth". The full message reads: "You know it's a myth. This season, celebrate reason." Although some Christians do not celebrate Christmas on December 25th because the original date of Christ's birth is unknown, the argument here is not about the birth date, but about whether the story of Jesus's virgin birth is even believable. And if it is not, then there should really be no reason to celebrate.
The virgin birth of Jesus is hard to comprehend with our reasoning because such an event cannot be duplicated by human means. It is a mystery not only for our generation, but was one even for the people of Jesus' time. Luke, a careful historian, seems sensitive to this difficulty and hence as he begins the gospel account, he writes: "Just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed [or investigated] all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account --- that you may have certainty of the things you have been taught" (Luke 1:2-4). Luke claims that the account has been passed on by "eye-witnesses". Peter, one of the close disciples of Jesus, confirms: "We did not follow cleverly devised myths --- but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty" (2 Peter 1:16). Furthermore, to enable his readers to have certainty about the gospel, Luke investigated the accounts closely and organized them in logical orderliness. The historical congruence in Luke's gospel is evident in the references to secular history such as the reign of Caesar Augustus (2:1) and the social context of Palestine of that time reflected in the narration.
Luke establishes credibility about Jesus' birth narrative in the opening chapter itself, by placing two parallel miracle accounts - one about the conception of John the Baptist and the second about the announcement of Jesus' virgin birth. John's conception was a miracle because his parents, Zechariah and Elizabeth, were advanced in years and Elizabeth was barren (1:7). Zechariah found it hard to believe the angel's promise about John's birth and sought a sign (v. 18, 20), resulting in him becoming mute until it was fulfilled. In the second account, about the conception of Jesus by the Holy Spirit, Mary wondered how it could happen since she was a virgin (v. 34), but she ultimately surrendered to God's sovereignty ("Let it be to me according to your word", v. 38). The angel built Mary's faith by referring to Elizabeth's experience, who though called barren, had conceived (v. 36), which led Mary to Elizabeth's house. Upon seeing Mary, Elizabeth exclaimed: "Blessed is she who believed" (v. 45, The verbal construction of this verse in Greek indicates that anyone who believes, like Mary did, is blessed. Through these two parallel miracle accounts, Luke illustrates that "Nothing is impossible with God" (v. 37), however, he also shows us the real human disposition, in the original recipients' response and their inability to fully grasp the things of God. It teaches us that, like Mary, we may be filled with wonder and awe as we contemplate the supernatural birth of Jesus, but we should not disbelieve, as Zechariah did. The Christmas story is a real story about the Divine entering our world, into the lives of real people.
Recognizing her blessedness in being chosen to bear Jesus, Mary bursts into a joyful song of thanksgiving (v. 46-55). She sings: "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior", and then tells us why she is rejoicing. Firstly, she rejoices in what God had done for her (v. 48-49). see v. 49 "he ... has done great things for me"). Mary was an ordinary peasant woman, engaged to a carpenter and in need of a Savior (cf. v. 47). "God, my Savior"), like every other Jew who yearned for the coming of the Messiah. There was nothing extraordinary about her that deserved God's attention, and yet the Mighty One was merciful and the Holy One (v. 49), who is exalted and set apart, looked with honor and loving care on the lowly estate of Mary (v. 48, We too, though foolish, and weak, and low and despised have been regarded by God (1 Corinthians 1:26-28). Not only is the Christmas story a real story, it is a personal story - a story of what God has done for me in Jesus Christ. While the virgin birth of Jesus is indeed a miracle, we see miracles everyday in the personal stories of people who have been touched and transformed by Christ.
Secondly, Mary rejoices because the Christmas story is not only a personal story of God's saving act, but it is a story for all who trust him for all times (v. 50-53), see v. 50 "his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation"). She sings that, in Christ's coming, God has been merciful and mighty on behalf of the helpless, the humble and the hungry. On the other hand, he pronounces judgment on the proud, the mighty and the rich. It is worth noting that the description about rich and poor holds both social and spiritual significance. Although Mary's song reflects the sentiments of the Jews who anticipated freedom from the pagan Roman dominion and who hoped for a social reversal, Luke often uses the term "rich" to describe those who were self-righteous and independent of God, or insensitive to fellow-beings and oppressive (e.g. in Luke 18, we see the self-righteous Pharisee and the rich young man who thought he had kept all the laws). Thus, the message of salvation is good news to all who fear God, but it brings judgment on those who fail to acknowledge God and suppress the truth about Him (cf. Romans 1:18-22; 2 Corinthians 2:15-16).
Lastly, Mary sings that by sending the Messiah, God acted "in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever" (v. 54-55). We are reminded that the Christmas story is part of God's big story. The Bible, though written by 40 authors and over 1500 years, is "one story" about God's redemption plan for mankind and its fulfillment in Jesus Christ. The Christmas story did not begin in the manger, but it began in the Garden of Eden when God pronounced to the serpent that the seed of the woman will bruise his head (Genesis 3:15) and later to Abraham that in his seed all the families of the earth would be blessed (Genesis 22:18). Subsequently, there were many prophecies, including about Jesus' virgin birth (Isaiah 7:14) in Bethlehem (Micah 5:1-2).
Mary rejoices knowing that the Messianic promise has been fulfilled in the birth of Jesus Christ. And so can we. CHRIST IS THE REASON for our joy!
Meditation: "Disasters": Is it God's language?
Saju John Mathew
Reading passage: Joel 1:1-20
Something very miserable happened in the life of Israel, that had never happened in their days or in the days of their forefathers! 'What the locust swarm has left the great locusts have eaten; what the great locusts have left the young locusts have eaten; what the young locusts have left other locusts have eaten" (Joel 1 :2-5}
Who is behind this? Devil, the adversary? To their, rather everybody's, surprise, God declared that he himself was behind the calamity. ''The locusts were my army," said God! "I was trying to talk to you ... but you were not listening." Many times disasters are from the Lord, even though we fail to recognize it as God's language
An isolated house on a hilltop was on fire. Seeing this from afar, people rushed to the place. The main door was opened. They pulled and threw all the valuables out of the house and, to their surprise, found a room locked from the inside with all the family members watching a movie on the Television. Coming out of the room and seeing all their valuables thrown out, they shouted: 'Who gave you the authority to throwaway our valuables ... ?" One man showed them the fire and said, "It was not our desire Sir, but your house is on fire".
"Wake up, you drunkards, and weep!" said God (Joel 1:5). Why are you not even weeping? Are you drunk? Awake!
Yes! People are drunk with money, position, philosophy, pride ... They fail to read God's language! Disasters are natural for them! God says ... It is I who brought the disaster. It is I who threw out all your valuables. We cry ... Why God? Why do you break me? Why do you take away mine? The answer is simple ... You are heading towards eternal fire!
God sends locusts, His "great army" to teach you a lesson. He allows disasters in your life to save you from greater disasters. It's better that you learn the lessons early. So start looking at the happenings in your life as God's language. Respond to it spiritually.
Prayer: Help me, Lord, to understand your language. Purify me through your works in me. Amen
For further reading: Isaiah 59:9-11, Deuteronomy 28:1-29
From the pulpit: Keeping the light
Rev. Dr. Baby Varghese
"Arise, shine; for thy light is come and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee"
A disciple asked his teacher, "Why are you always meditating? What is the need to always meditate?" The master smiled for a moment. He again concentrated on his meditation. After some time, he asked the disciple to light a candle. When this was done by the student, the master asked him to go to the door of the school and come back. The student tried to get to the door fast. Suddenly, there came wind. When the flame was about to go out, he tried to protect it by curving his hands around it. His hands were feeling the heat but there was nothing he could do about that. The speed in his legs decreased. He had to struggle to keep the flame alive because the wind was blazing from all directions. Carefully, he came to the door of the school. He accomplished what the master asked him to do. However, it took a longer time. When he came back, the master asked him: "Why were you late?"
"Because of the wind, I couldn't walk so fast," replied the disciple.
"What did you see while you were walking?"
"Nothing because my concentration was fully upon the candle," the student said to him.
The master smiled and said, "This is why I meditate. I should not put out the light in me. The wind that makes the light go out comes from all directions. I am so keen to avoid failure".
In this world, a child of God should be lit like a star but the light is going off. Some people never knew that their light had gone. Some criticize the wind for it. Some criticize the light ---- some the master himself. God's Word tells us to be a light and shine. Some people are not able to share this light. They could not because they do not know how to keep the light shining. Keeping the light shining is a difficult task. We have to face and defend against the wind. Sometimes we may find this to be difficult.
How bad it is! The best way to keep the light is prayer. Prayer has got the power, and continuous prayer makes our light shine like the sun.
Meditating on God's word also makes us grow. "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path" (Psalms 119:105)
Yes, God's word really can give us the light to our life and way. It shines in darkness. The trust in God enlightens us more. The Lord is our light and our salvation. Those who follow the real source of light, the God Almighty, have no chance to fear darkness.
Youth Forum: Psalms 19: Designer behind the design
Koshy "Siju" John, New York, USA
When the great physicist Albert Einstein was asked if he believed in God, he responded: "We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human beings toward God. We see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws". Although Einstein marveled at the design he saw in nature, he did not believe in a personal Creator.
David wrote this particular Psalm. He shared Einstein's sense of awe about nature but took the next step and believed in the Designer behind the design. Verse 1 tells us "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork".
The wonder that we feel as we behold our universe should serve as a road sign pointing to the One who created it. The scriptures tell us exactly that in John 1:3:
"All things were made through Christ, and without Him nothing was made that was made". If you're struggling in your beliefs, look up at the stars any night. In the sky is crafted an amazing road sign pointing to the Designer behind the design. Amen!
"God wrote His autograph up in the sky, in the stars we can never see a signature so bright". Praise God.
Remember, the accuser of the brethren, Satan, is out there telling us otherwise. He will attack your mind with meaningless thoughts. All he has to do is put a little bit of doubt in your mind, and sometimes we'll run with that. This is exactly what he did in the Garden of Eden. "Did God really tell you not to eat from that tree? No, not this tree. You'll be like gods if you eat from this tree. That was enough for Adam and Eve, that simple doubt. So, we need to guard our thoughts on a daily basis. Read Phil. 4:8:
Perfect practice makes perfect or we hear practice makes perfect. But I believe perfect practice makes perfect. The famous philosopher Aristotle said, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit."
"Fix (focus) your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice (putting into action over and over again) all you learned and received from me - everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.
When should we think on these things? All the time!! We must train ourselves to do this. Not just when we are in church or study time or prayer time or with other believers. BUT ALL THE TIME!!! When at work or with friends or nonbelievers - all the time, everywhere, always. Then our behavior will change, or WE WILL BEAR FRUIT, and our fruit will remain. THINKING IS SPIRITUAL - a transformed life (the fruit of the Spirit) is the result of a transformed mind. We are talking about the Word as a filter. Our secret thoughts shape our life. The human brain exercises 50,000 thoughts a day. 90% of our thoughts are from yesterday. This is the reason for our resistance to change. The Spirit fights against the flesh. Read Gal 5:16-18: Our old thoughts are fighting against the new.
Where did Jesus say these things come from? Matthew 15:18 says that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. So, thinking is our responsibility.
Read Rom. 12:2: Transformation is a result of a renewed mind. When our minds are renewed, Circumstances take care of themselves. We write our own life story with every thought. Thinking negatively and expecting positive things is like planting arsenic and expecting peaches.
Lets start thinking positively, bearing the fruits of the Spirit, transforming our lives and the lives that we touch. Amen!!
When we live like this, the words of our mouth and the meditation of our hearts will be pleasing and acceptable in His sight, our Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen!!
Christianity a 'Faded Memory' for most young Britons
A new research study shows that young adults in Britain consider Christianity as irrelevant. Researchers surveyed 300 young people - born after 1982. Christian Today reports that young people were more likely to put their faith in friends, family or personal experience rather than God. Sylvia Collins-Mayo, one of the researchers behind the study, said, "For the majority, religion and spirituality was irrelevant for day-to-day living; our young people were not looking for answers to ultimate questions".
Is the material prosperity in the developed world, the main factor contributing to this development? Jesus said: "it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God" (Matt. 19:24).
Religious Americans report less depression!
Religious Americans are less likely than nonreligious people to experience depression or worry according to a Gallup poll. The research firm suggested, "The best explanation for the observed relationship between religion and emotional health may be that being religious in fact produces a salutary effect on one's mental health".
The Gallup researchers are right. "The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom". It will keep you in the right frame of mind!
Full-scale Noah's Ark attraction!
A $150 million endeavor will begin in Kentucky, USA, to build a full-scale Noah's Ark tourist attraction in northern Kentucky. The project is expected to employ up to 900 full and part-time staff. The developers hope they can attract as many as 1.6 million visitors in the first year after its completion. It may be recalled tha a popular "Creation Museum" has been operating in Kentucky which has welcomed its one millionth visitor about three years' after its opening.
Christian faith is on the decline in western countries. It is heartening to see that there are still a lot of people interested in Biblical writings and the places and events described in the Bible.
George W. Bush talks about his faith
Former President of USA, George W. Bush, told Pastor Rick Warren that he read the Bible every morning of his presidency and added: "I think religion is discipline". He said it was not easy to reconcile the ego necessary to run for president with the humility needed to be religious. He also addressed the congregation in Warren's Saddleback church in California.
Christian faith of Bush is well known. His observation about religion and discipline is so true and relevant. Those who claim to have no belief in God or claim to have no religion are basically those who do not wish to be subject to any kind of discipline! As explained in Psalm 14, the fool who says in his heart that there is no God wishes to remain corrupt and continue with his evil deeds. The LORD looks own from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand and seek God.
Cholera spreads in Haiti
More than 1,100 people have died of cholera in Haiti since it first broke out in October, according to Christian Today. Another 18,000 people have become sick because of the intestinal disease that causes severe diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Franklin Graham, president and head of the relief and development organization 'Samaritan's Purse' said: "I am alarmed at the rapid spread of cholera in Haiti and the lack of capacity and supplies to properly prevent and treat this life-threatening disease". 'Samaritan's Purse' has 295 staff working in Haiti.
The love of God has prompted many Christian organizations like 'Samaritan's Purse' to do relief work in Haiti, which was devastated by earth quake recently.
China bans prayer meetings during Asian Games
It is reported that Chinese authorities have banned house churches from holding services during the 16th Asian Games. Wang Dao, pastor of the Guangzhou Liangren church said: "House churches don't really pose a security threat. I think it is just an excuse, so they can undertake a total crackdown and cleanup of house churches". As China is officially atheist, party officials oversee any faith-based activity of Catholics, Buddhists, Muslims and Protestants.
It is not clear why prayers cannot be held during the games!!
More Canadians believe in heaven than in hell!
According to a new survey conducted by Carleton University Survey Centre, more than half of Canadians believe in an afterlife of heaven, but they are not so keen on the idea of hell. Less than a third believe in some kind of punishment after death. The survey also found that just seven per cent of respondents expressed unequivocal disbelief in the idea of an all-powerful God. About 30 percent of survey respondents agreed with the statement: "I know God really exists and I have no doubts".
Our heavenly Father does want anyone to perish. All that one has to do is to believe in the gospel of salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ.
Marriage losing importance in USA
According to the Pew report released recently, almost one in three U.S. children live with a parent or parents who are unwed or no longer married. That is a fivefold increase since 1960. 39 percent of Americans say that marriage is becoming obsolete. Andrew Cherlin, a professor of sociology at Johns Hopkins University says: "Now there are several ways to have a successful family life and more people accept them". Four out of five people surveyed say that an unmarried, opposite-sex couple with children or a single parent fit the description of a family".
Marriage is a divinely ordained institution. Man has no authority to change the definition of marriage or family. Rebellious nature in man will only bring harsh judgement from the Almighty God, sooner or later.
World's tallest statue of Jesus Christ
Swiebodzin, a small town in Poland now has a unique attraction - the world's tallest statue of Jesus Christ. The statue is 167 feet tall and is taller than the famed Christ the Redeemer monument in Rio de Janeiro, which is 125 feet tall. The Polish statue depicts Jesus standing with arms outstretch and has a tall crown. The town has a population of 22,000 people and hopes the landmark will bring in money to their community.
People discover different methods to make money. Can any statue, however tall, represent the Creator of the Universe?
Personalities encountered by Jesus - 23: The "Good Thief"
Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom" (Luke 23:42)
Two hardened criminals are paying the ultimate price of their careers of lawlessness - nailed to the cross. Between them on a third cross hangs the Gentle Shepherd of men's lives, "numbered among the transgressors" because He came into the world to bear witness to the Truth.
Even during the throes of his own final agony, one of the thieves reflects the mockery and scorn of the crowd. Twisting his head toward Jesus, he echoes the derision of the soldiers: "If thou be the Christ, save thyself and us". But his companion, who had listened in astonishment as the Man on the cross between them had said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing", now felt a new response and love for the Nazarene flood his whole being. He found within himself an awakening which cleared his thoughts to a change of perspective.
And that change of perspective called into expression a discerning and elevated consciousness. Enlightenment thus developed the thoughts of this dying malefactor.
Forgetting his own agony, he turned upon his fellow thief: "Don't you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong". Perhaps in that terrible moment of suffering, mixed with pity for the innocent Man who suffered so great an injustice and the profound recognition of that Man's identity, the Good Thief sensed the coming Resurrection, for he cried: "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom".
And Jesus, who recognized man's trust and man's faith, answered: "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise".
Children's corner: Butterfly struggles to come out
When Johny saw a cocoon on one leaf, he was over joyed. Every day he would watch the cocoon to see if anything happened to it. One day he noticed changes in the cocoon. He was so excited because he noticed that a beautiful butterfly is trying to emerge. He hoped it would soon spread its wings and fly out. He watched the cocoon closely for a long time. Johny was disappointed to see the butterfly struggling to come out of the cocoon. He felt sorry for the butterfly. He stripped off the remaining part of the cocoon and happily watched the butterfly emerging out easily. But all his expectations went down the drain. The butterfly did not turnout as he imagined. It had a swollen body and shriveled wings, it wouldn't extend its wings and fly. Eventually the butterfly died.
Dear friends, we have a lesson to learn from this story of the butterfly. Many a times in our life we face situations which make us trapped inside a cocoon. We need not be troubled in such times and try to find our own ways to come out of the situation we faced. We need to find God's will for our lives and submit ourselves into God's hands so that He will lift us up at the right time.
1 Peter 5:6 says: "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time".
Ever wondered how much you are worth? Are you any different from Manmohan Singh or Bill Gates or an orphan child in a small village anywhere in the world.
Are human beings any worth? If one is worthless, then the whole mankind is worthless. If one is valuable, then the whole mankind is valuable.
Gen. 1:26 says that the triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit made us in their image and in their likeness. Note the word "our" in Gen. 1:26. What does that mean? Each one of us has a spirit, soul and body (I Thess. 5:23). God who made the human being in His image by His own hands, breathed life into his nostrils (Gen. 2:7).
There are many people, even believers who feel that they are worthless and their lives do not have any role to play in this world. This is termed as low self esteem. Just like a Currency Note's worth cannot be diminished because it is dirty, our looks or the colour of our skin cannot diminish our value as God created human being. If somebody should be ashamed, it should be God who created us in this way. But He is NOT. Not at all. In fact, He counts each one of us as so valuable that Jesus Christ came into this world to die a gruesome death on the cross to snatch us from the clutches of satan.
I used to be haunted by this feeling. One day while in prayer, God reminded me very forcefully that saying and thinking such things is sin before God and I had to ask forgiveness for those sins. Do you realize how God sees this?
When we begin to entertain questions from satan, however intellectual they might seem, your failure starts. It happened to Eve in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3. Jesus did not repeat that mistake but instead chose to focus on God's word. What would you choose?
Let us realize our worth as human beings uniquely created by God for His glory and purpose.