Red and yellow, black and white, we’re all precious in His sight.
Every child that ever attended church, and quite a few that didn’t, knows those words. I sang those words over and over as a child, but never put a lot of thought into the depth of meaning contained in them. As an adult with small children of my own now, I’ve had plenty of opportunities to sing how Jesus loves the little children once again, and I’ve come to a whole new appreciation for the words of this particular children’s song. Because these simple words drive home a big theological truth we find in God’s word. We are all made in the likeness of God (James 3:9). We are a visible picture of who God is and what He is like. He chose to create us in His image (Gen 1:26). Therefore, each and every one of God’s children has value and worth, not earned by our worthiness, but bestowed by our Maker. He says we are fearfully and wonderfully made, and His works are marvelous (Psalm 139:14) Whether young or old, unborn or already born, disabled or healthy, all have worth and value. Without exception or exclusion, qualification or merit, we are all precious in His sight. We are loved by God. We hold a special place in His creation that no animal, angel, or any other created things hold. We are the objects of His affection. What an incredible truth! He chose to love us, and to mold us in such a way that He describes us as bearers of His image here on earth. Jesus truly loves the children - little and big - of the world.
Yet, in spite of learning about our inherent value in such classic children’s songs, many struggle with feelings of worthlessness as they get older. Why do we struggle to believe we are loved? Why do we search for meaning? What causes us to look to our fellow man for worth rather than God? Why do we measure our value against the value of those around us? Of course, the simplest answer is because we are sinners. When sin entered into the world through Adam, it caused a break in fellowship - literally spiritual death - between God and man, and that separation has spread to all people because all are sinners. We see this pictured in the account of the Garden of Eden in the book of Genesis. God walked in the cool of the day with Adam and Eve in His perfect creation. After they sinned by disobeying the command of God, they were kicked out of the garden and death entered the world. Their fellowship with God was broken, and God had to provide a sacrifice to literally cover the shame of their sin. It’s in the context of that story that we are introduced to God’s plan, devised before the foundation of the world, to send His Son to die for our sins and fully restore a relationship between God and man. His payment for our sin made it possible for there to be fellowship with God once again.
Now, you may be wondering how that relates to feeling worthless. If you look closely at the story of original sin, you’ll find that devaluing our own worth goes back to the very beginning of the world. It starts with the sin of comparison. As Satan talked with Eve, he began by questioning God’s command against eating the forbidden fruit, and followed that up by convincing her that she could be a “better” version of herself. In fact, Satan convinced Eve that she could be like God. And we know the result - Eve ate the fruit because she compared herself to God and decided that what she had been created to be was not enough. That sin of comparison didn’t stop with Eve. Her son Cain compared himself to his brother Abel. He brought an unfit sacrifice, and out of jealousy over the favor of God toward Abel’s sacrifice, he murdered his own brother. The sin of comparison has wreaked havoc in the lives of men and women in every generation since the creation, and it is alive and well today. We compare our physical abilities and appearance to others. We compare our fame and fortune with others. It’s gotten so bad even the Jones’ can’t keep up. We have an insatiable desire to feel better about ourselves, accepted, or even superior to others in some way. Comparison is the fool’s gold of the modern age. No matter how you stack up, you’ll always be left with a feeling of lack, an unquenchable desire, desperate for contentment.
I grew up in church and learned all the things I was without Christ. I was a sinner. I was bad. I missed the mark. I couldn’t compare to Him. But, instead of accepting my identity in Christ that had been given to me as a free gift, I worked. I compared. I saw the Bible as a list of dos and don’ts that I needed to check off in order to measure up. I tried to earn God’s favor by being better than the person next to me. I thought I had to do something. I didn’t realize these things were done by God, and already given to me. All the work I was doing to earn God’s favor I had gotten wrong and was in vain. I didn’t need to compare myself to anyone else. I could rest in who I am in Christ. I have God’s favor. I am His beloved. I am His child! The things God desires me to do and to not do are to flow out of my love for Him. It is for my benefit. It is to bring me to a closer walk with Him. There is no need to compare. Who I am in Christ is already set by God. My worth is in Him and I can rest in it. My fellow man is not someone to compete with for God’s favor. The person next to me is someone for me to love, help, spend time with, and enjoy. They are not my competitor for self worth. They are a precious image bearer just as I am.
The other beautiful thing about not having to work to be better than someone else or to earn God’s favor is the realization I cannot, in my own human effort, live up to God’s standard. I will miss the mark. I will eventually fail. I will mess up. I am human. How is that a beautiful thought? Remember the words of the song. We are precious in His sight. We cannot please God by our own effort, and He knows that. In the sight of God, our best is no better than filthy rags. But, Jesus loves His children, and because of what He accomplished on the cross, when God looks at us now He sees the righteousness of His only Son. So when I mess up, I realize God doesn’t love me because of who I am or what I have done. God loves me because of who He is and what He has done. I don’t have to achieve. I don’t have to perform. I don’t have to compete. I can rest in the love of God. That is awesome! On my best day, God loves me. On my worst day, His love is still true. For this I am so very thankful, and it helps me to stop competing and comparing myself to others and to serve God out of love and gratitude. It also helps me to realize the beauty of my fellow man and to love them like Christ loves them.
How do I reach that love for others and find peace with who I am? Christ. Christ is the answer. He alone saves us. He removes a heart of stone and gives us a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26). He makes us a new creation. We need not compare. We have a rich, blessed, fulfilling identity in Christ that needs no add ons or improvements. Rest in your identity because it has been secured for you in Christ. You are precious in His sight.
So who are we in Christ? What does God say about us?
If we are in Christ we are:
Adopted (Ephesians 1:5)
Bought (1 Corinthians 6L20)
Chosen (John 15:16)
Delighted in (Zephaniah 3:17) ???????? Psalm 18:19
Eternally Secure (John 10:28)
Free (Galatians 5:1)
Friend (John 15:15)
Forgiven (1 Peter 2:24)
God’s child (Ephesians 1:3-8)
His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10)
Kept by the power of God (1 Peter 2:24)
More than a conqueror (Romans 8:37)
Never alone (Deut. 31:8)
New Creation (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Not condemned (Romans 8:1)
Overcoming the world (1 John 5:5)
Pardoned (Isaiah 55:7)
Quickened together with Christ (Ephesians 2:5)
Ransomed (1 Timothy 2:5-6)
Redeemed (Ephesians 1:7)
Righteous (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Set apart (1 Peter 2:9)
Temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19)
Unto His glory (Ephesians 1:14)
Victorious through Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57)
Washed clean (Isaiah 1:18)
Yoked together with believers (2 Corinthians 6:14)
Zealous of good works (Titus 2:14)