5 Things You Need to Know to Stop Striving and Know Your Worth

A sad woman sitting on the floor, stop striving know your worth

I confess I can be selfish and competitive, too often giving myself preferential treatment. I struggle with impatience, rudeness, pride, and I’m easily satisfied with temporary comfort and pleasure. I care too much what people think of me. Yet, I know I’m loved with an everlasting love, and I’m priceless to my Heavenly Father.

In the past I felt required to be at church whenever the doors were open—twice on Sunday, midweek, visitation night, and every night during revivals. I worked hard to obey the rules and avoid what saw as the “big” sins. If I didn’t keep these standards, I felt less worthy and worried God would be mad at me. I didn’t fully understand grace.

We all long for significance and worth. We’re often motivated by our need for affirmation. We desire to be seen and loved exactly as we are. Since we don’t always believe we’re accepted, we seek it with performance.

Here are five areas of understanding you need to separate your worth from your performance:

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    1. You Need to Understand God’s Character

    I’ve learned my worth comes from who God is not from who I am or what I do.

    God is perfect and holy.

    We sometimes attribute human characteristics to God such as conditional love, being easily angered, holding grudges, showing favoritism, or refusing to forgive. But while we resemble Him in many ways, He’s not like us. As Scripture states, “’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

    We’re hindered by pride, jealousy, selfishness, greed, and limited knowledge. Not God. He views all from a pure and holy perspective and knows the full truth about everyone. He sees the end from the beginning, and there’s no limit to His wisdom. Therefore, we can trust Him completely.

    God created us in His image.

    God stamped us with His likeness and called us good. Genesis records, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness...’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them… And God saw everything he had made, and behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:26-27, 31). Our Creator treasures us.

    God is love.

    Love is the essence of who God is, and all love comes from Him (1 John 4:8). When Paul defined love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8b, He was describing who God is, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrong. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” John the disciple wrote, “We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

    God looks at the heart.

    Our Father isn’t concerned about outward appearances. As humans, we judge by the external. We aren’t capable of seeing another’s hidden thoughts or hurts. The Lord told the Old Testament prophet, Samuel, “For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

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    2. You Need to Understand What Jesus Did on the Cross

    God has loved all He created from the first moment. When He formed Adam and Eve, the first humans, they were without sin. But wanting a reciprocal relationship, God gave them a choice. They chose rebellion, which separated them and all their future offspring from their holy God.

    Not wanting us to remain eternally separated from Him, God planned in advance to send a Savior. His son, Jesus Christ, humbled Himself and came to earth as a baby. As a human, he experienced all the temptations and trials we face, and never sinned. Yet, He was hated and rejected. He willingly endured crucifixion and died to pay the price for all sins. He shed His perfect blood to redeem all who will, through belief, accept His gift of salvation. God doesn’t force us to believe but does lovingly offer life to all.

    When I was 13, though I’d been baptized and was taught about Jesus all my life, I realized I’d never personally acknowledged He died for me. For my sins. So, I accepted His gift, trusted Him for salvation and was sealed as His forever.

    Jesus laid down His life, making us priceless. An object is worth what someone is willing to pay for it. Jesus set our value when He willingly took responsibility for all our sin and became sin in our place. Jesus made us worthy when He gave His life hundreds of years before we were born.

    Our worth can’t be changed. The price Christ paid set our value for eternity.

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    3. You Need a Clear Understanding of Grace

    Grace is an underserved gift from God and something we can’t earn. As the Apostle Paul who wrote much of the New Testament explained to Timothy, “He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time” (2 Timothy 1:9). Knowing we would choose sin, Almighty God decided to offer us His unmerited favor through Jesus before time began. How could we do anything now to earn or deserve it? We can only believe or turn away.

    A Picture of Grace

    After seven years of marriage, my husband and I stopped going to church. I didn’t read the Bible anymore and was only rarely praying. About three years after we left the church, I was attempting to get pregnant. For various reasons, I faced infertility and at the age of 39, realized I might never be a mom. I prayed and asked God to show me what I needed to do or to take my desires away. One day soon after, God opened a door for an unexpected adoption opportunity. We hadn’t considered adoption but in less than 24 hours, I went from accepting childlessness to holding our son.

    We did nothing to merit such a gift. In fact, the years prior to this were the least spiritually productive time of my whole life. Our son’s precious face was a picture of what grace looks like. We couldn’t wait to attend Christmas Eve service the next day and give thanks to God.

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    4. You Need to Understand the Purpose of Good Works

    Since we know God loves, accepts, and forgives us, why bother with serving? Why not receive His gift and go our way? Our obedience is our response to God’s love. It’s our way of showing Him our gratitude and thanks. God-led service comes from the urging of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.

    Jesus told us, “If you love me, keep my commands,” (John 14:15). John also wrote, “In fact, this is love for God: to keep His commands. And His commands are not burdensome,” (1 John 5:3). Our acts do not earn His love. Instead we express our love by giving back to Him. It’s born out of a desire to please Him after realizing how much He has blessed our lives.

    The Apostle Paul wrote, “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh,” (Galatians 5:16). He also instructs us: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control… Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit,” (Galatians 5:22-23, 25). As we walk in relationship with the Spirit who lives in us, He will produce fruit in our lives. Our actions and attitudes are a sign of Him working through us.

    His Spirit empowers and motivates us to do good works. Be open to let God use you in and through His strength and for His glory.

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    5. You Need to Know That in God’s Kingdom, Competition and Comparison Are Pointless

    Sometimes our motivation to produce comes from a desire to shine brighter than those around us. We want the attention we see others enjoying. We mistakenly think someone else’s achievements will take away from ours, so we compete. We let pride and self-focus become a stumbling block and begin to perform for the wrong reasons. We’ve fallen into the trap of thinking our worth is diminished because someone else is succeeding.

    At times, when I see others accomplishing more than myself for God, I compare our gifts and decide I fall short. Then I either try harder to measure up or let jealousy fill my heart. I wrongly think God must view them more favorably than me. Why wouldn’t He when they are more accomplished than I am? I forget any virtue in me is the work of God. The Apostle Paul explained it this way, “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:4-7).

    All praise goes to God. We are His instruments on earth.

    It Is Finished

    When God created us in His image, He made us worthy of redemption. Our Father knew we would be helpless, hopeless creatures, incapable of deserving or earning His favor. We chose to live enslaved to sin and apart from His grace and the work of His Spirit in us.

    The Apostle Paul expressed it so beautifully to the believers in Ephesus, “For He chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will—to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us” (Ephesians 1:4-8).

    He gave us all this before He created the world! We have immeasurable worth. Our performance is our thanks to Him.

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    Susan Aken writes devotions and articles for Wholly Loved Ministries, is an Oklahoma native who’s lived in Nebraska since 1987 and has been in public education for over thirty years. She and her husband have one son and a wonderful daughter-in-law. Besides writing she has a passion for special needs and prayer ministries. She enjoys time with family, reading, photography, movies, walking in nature, and a nice cup of tea. She believes life is a journey and we’re all in different places. Jesus is everything to her and it’s all about grace. Visit her at susanaken53.wordpress.com or on Facebook.