Tim Ainley, CEO of Forward Edge, recently shared an inspiring message at a graduation commencement ceremony that is a timely and impactful message for us all. But, especially for recent graduates, young adults, and teens, these words could be the guiding principles you need as you step into a world with a million different possibilities:
As I was praying about what to share, I felt like the LORD guided me to simply share four pieces of advice I wish someone had shared with me when I was young.
The first thing and probably the most important is:
Remember Whose you are
We live in a time and a culture that’s constantly bombarding us with this message: your value lies in your self-made identity. That’s why everyone is scrambling to create one…to be unique, to stand out, or to rise above others. That’s why our culture is obsessed with gender identity, sexual orientation, fame, status, and success.
But the Bible tells us something different. It’s not about who you are; it’s about Whose you are. It tells us in Psalm 139 that you were fearfully and wonderfully made by a God who thinks about you more than the grains of sand on the beach.
It tells us in John 1 and Romans 8 that you are God’s children…adopted, chosen, sons and daughters. You are special because you are His.
And in Ephesians 2:10, it tells us that we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus. Other versions use different words like “workmanship,” or my favorite, the New Living Translation, uses the word “masterpiece.”
You are God’s masterpiece.
Now, the original Greek word here is “poiema”, and it means poem. You are God’s divine poem. All of you are beautiful works of art created by a God who values you immensely.
Let me ask you a question: In business economics, how is it that we determine the value of something, let’s say, a product? Supply and demand, right? If something is valued too high, demand goes down. No one buys it. If it’s valued too low, everyone buys it, and supply runs out.
In short, you determine how much value something has by how much someone is willing to pay for it, right?
So how much value do you have?
Well, according to God, a lot. So much, in fact, that He paid for you with His own Son.
Hebrews 12 tells us that it was for the “joy set before him” that Jesus endured the cross. Do you know what that joy was?
I believe that joy was you. I believe Jesus’ first joy was to accomplish the will of His Father. But, both His Father’s will, and His, was to make a way to redeem you, to restore you, and to bring you home. That’s how much you mean to the Father, and to the Son.
You are God’s child, His immensely valuable divine poem, and you bring Him great joy.
And think about this: Jesus fixed his eyes on that joy and endured the cross for you long before you were born. Long before you did anything…before you accomplished anything…failed at anything…succeeded at anything.
I want you to remember that because as you enter the next season of your life, and the consequences of your decisions increase (because they will), you will need to remember that your value lies no where else but here: in Whose you are. You will succeed at times, and you will fail at times. Sometimes you’ll reap the praises of others, and at other times, you’ll let them down.
And as a result, you will be tempted. You will be tempted to compare yourself. You will be tempted to fall into shame or to rationalize your sin. And you will be tempted to gloat over your successes.
But don’t! Don’t. Because your worth is not found in any of those things. Your worth is not found in who you are or what you do, but in Whose you are and what He’s done.
Remember Whose you are.
Read Part 2: You Were Made to Serve