Off-Topic Thursday: Where Does Your Value Come From?
Beginning today, I’m introducing a new feature here on Faith and the Magic Kingdom. Several times I’ve had something I wanted to write, but I always thought, “That doesn’t fit the theme of the blog, and I don’t really want to start a new one for this, so never mind.” I can’t do that anymore…but I still don’t want to start a brand new blog for this, and so we have the introduction of Off-Topic Thursdays.
Whenever I have something I need to comment on, discuss, or reflect on, it will show up in an Off-Topic Thursday post. They will vary in length, depth, and may have nothing to do with Disney (though some will). If it’s on my heart and I think others can benefit from it, it goes here. Also, this may be a sporadic feature, so don’t look for one every Thursday (yet). Now, with all that one-time introduction out of the way, here we go…
|Image © Marlana Shipley
I have been involved with Life & Career Coaching for several months now, first as a coaching client, and now as a coach myself. There is one concept that seems to be integral to most life coaching (even “Christian” life coaching) that I have a problem with, though. Our own inherent value as people is critical to the approach and progress that most coaches I’m aware of take.
Now, this isn’t intended to criticize or insult any of them. I received great value in the coaching I had, but I also filtered it in some ways that appears to be uncommon—or at least I don’t hear it emphasized as much as I think it should be. Here are some of the questions I’ve heard asked & statements I’ve heard made:
- Do you deserve ____________? (a better job, happiness, success, etc.…the intended answer is “yes”)
- You are powerful.
- You are worth more.
The problem I have with this is that it’s not what the Bible teaches, at least not exactly. I believe it’s skewed (often completely unintentionally) just enough to be dangerous. What does the Bible say about these statements?
- We are jars of clay. People in the first century sometimes kept valuable, priceless objects in jars of clay. The value was not in the vessel itself, but what was inside it, placed there by another.
- We are children of God. Not through anything we did, not through earning it, but through Jesus Christ.
- We are a temple of the Holy Spirit. Again, the value is not inherent in the temple, but exists only because of the One who resides there.
- We arepowerful—with His power. (3 passages linked there.) The power that we have does not come from us, and it does not operate independently of His will and purpose.
- We are recipients of far less than we deserve (mercy), and far more than we deserve (grace). As those who have received Christ, we do not get the punishment that we so richly deserve (because none of us can be “good enough”) and we get many blessings that we could never earn or deserve (not the least of which is eternal life).
A vase has value because of the sculptor or the owner. In and of itself it’s just clay, glaze, & maybe some paint.
A painting has value because of the painter.
A home-run baseball has value because of who hit it, and when.
“We are powerful”, but with God’s power working in us, to will and to act according to His good purpose. “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” (2 Cor. 9:8)
Do we have inherent worth? No. Do we have worth that comes from God? Most definitely.
What do we deserve? Well, by ourselves we are sinners, and “the wages of sin is death”. But we do deserve much more, because we have been adopted in God’s family. What we deserve is not due to our own worth, though, but due to our position as His children. To believe that I deserve anything good apart from that is hubris.
Now, you might think that this completely invalidates Life Coaching. I disagree. If I thought that were the case, I would not be a coach myself. But it does mean that Christian Life Coaching (particularly as I approach it) must be firmly rooted and grounded in these truths. It doesn’t even start there, though.
When Dr. R. C. Sproul was asked, “What, in your opinion, is the greatest spiritual need in the world today?” he replied, “The greatest need in people’s lives today is to discover the true identity of God.“
We must start from understanding who God is. Then we can start to grasp our identity in Him. We define success as He defines it. Only from this foundation can we consider how He has shaped us to serve Him in the world. To do that, we an consider our strengths (but remember that God sometimes works more through our weaknesses), our personality, and our passions, and see—perhaps dimly at first—how God has uniquely shaped those in us to do the “good works He has prepared in advance for us to do.”
Some of the side-benefits may be (and often are) satisfaction, happiness, even a great job that we feel fulfilled in and that makes us great money. But none of these are the purpose. Serving God and being the best stewards possible of the resources He has entrusted to us is. It all comes back to Him, always.
Question: Agree? Disagree? Why? Talk about it in the comments below, or on our Facebook page.