Overlooked. Ignored. Forgotten. Alone.
We’ve all been there and perhaps are right now. Whether it’s an event we weren’t invited to, a relationship gone south, or walking out of church feeling ignored, the feelings of rejection and insignificance hurt. Sometimes those feelings come from simply being single and celibate in a world that glorifies being in a relationship with a significant other.
But what if the reason for these incidents and for our singleness isn’t rejection, but because we are chosen – chosen by God for something bigger than the warm feelings we get from being included, spoken to, or valued in a relationship? What if God thwarts our attempts to experience false significance in order that we find real significance?
Many voices, Christian and non-Christian alike, tell us our significance comes from being loved and accepted by others and from our performance – including our abilities, roles in life, and obedience of rules. In other words, others’ opinions + our performance = our value. That’s an impossible formula of variables that we can’t control and that in reality have nothing to do with our true value!
Loved. Forgiven. Fully Pleasing. Accepted. Complete.
There’s only One who can place a genuine value on us, and that is the One who created us. That value is reflected in the fact that He gave His life for us (“No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13). In addition we have His Word that reveals our true worth.
Quite a few years ago a group of friends and I met together to discuss the book, The Search for Significance by Robert S. McGee, which had a huge impact on all of us. Originally published in 1985, it is still being published over 30 years later, indicating the impact it continues to have on countless individuals.
At the heart of the book are four lies that prevent us from realizing our true significance, and the four truths that reveal our true worth. Not everyone believes all four of these lies, but almost all of us struggle with at least one. I know I do.
The Four Lies and God’s Truth to Replace Them
The Performance Trap
Lie # 1: I must meet certain standards in order to feel good about myself.
Believing this lie results in fear of failure, perfectionism, being driven to succeed, manipulating others to achieve success, withdrawal, anger, resentment, pride, depression, and low motivation.
God’s Truth: I am completely forgiven and fully pleasing to God and no longer need to fear failure.
This truth is based on justification in Christ. Because of Jesus, it is just as though I had never sinned!
“Therefore, since we have been justified [declared righteous] by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1)
The Approval Addiction
Lie # 2: I must be approved (accepted) by others to feel good about myself.
Believing this lie results in fear of rejection, people-pleasing, being overly sensitive to criticism, withdrawing from others to avoid disapproval, being easily manipulated, codependency, and trying to control others.
God’s Truth: I am totally accepted by God and no longer need to fear rejection.
This truth is based on reconciliation — being brought into a right relationship with God through Jesus.
“Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.” (Colossians 1:21-22)
The Blame Game
Lie #3: Those who fail are unworthy of love and deserve to be punished.
Believing this lie results in fear of punishment, blaming and punishing others for personal failure, withdrawal from God and others, and being driven to avoid failure at all costs.
God’s Truth: I am deeply loved by God and no longer have to fear punishment or need to punish myself or others.
This truth is based on propitiation, which means that God’s requirement for holiness and justice is satisfied completely by Christ dying in our place.
“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (1 John 4:9-11)
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)
Lie #4: I can’t help it, it’s just the way I am. I cannot change. I am hopeless.
Believing this lie results in feelings of shame, hopelessness, inferiority, and helplessness; passivity; loss of creativity; isolation; withdrawal from others; and being resigned to failure.
God’s Truth: I am absolutely complete and righteous in Christ. I am a new creature and have a new identity—who I am in Jesus!
This truth is based on regeneration — the fact that we are reborn through Jesus.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:22)
The Truth Will Set You Free!
If these lies and the need to replace them with God’s truth strike a chord in your heart, I encourage you to get the book and read it, and perhaps even get together with a group of friends to study it together.
I don’t think there’s anyone who wouldn’t benefit from learning these truths or being reminded of them. I’m amazed how often I think I’ve finally mastered being secure in my significance in Jesus, only to be blindsided by another of Satan’s tactics to get me to believe his lies about me rather than God’s truth about myself!
One of my favorite Scriptures is John 8:32: “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” The problem with the lies about our worth is that they cause us to struggle in our own attempts to attain a standard we never can. But choosing to believe God’s truth in their place can instantly set us free to know our significance in Jesus, and to focus instead on living purposefully for Him!
How about you? Do you struggle with any of these lies? Have you been set free by God’s truth, or are you still struggling to meet what the lies demand of you?