Joel Osteen — Recognizing Your Value
I want to talk to you today about recognizing your value. Too often, we base our value on how someone is treating us, how successful we are, or how perfect of a life we've lived. The problem is all of those if you're getting your value out of how people treat you, then if they hurt you, they disappoint you, you're going to feel devalued.
If you're basing your value off of your achievements, how much you make, what you drive, the title behind your name, then if something happens and you don't have that position, your business goes down, then your value don't feel good about themselves 'cause they've made mistakes in life, they're not where they thought they would be. Now, they're living insecure, feeling inferior. They're basing their value on their performance.
Here's the key. Your value should be based solely on the fact that you are a child of the most high God. The Creator of the universe how someone treats you doesn't change your value. What they say or do doesn't lessen who you are. Mistakes you've made doesn't decrease your value. That's what you did, that's not who you are.
You can buy a bigger house, drive a better car, but that doesn't make you any more valuable. That increases your net worth, not your self-worth. You were already valuable when you had the small apartment and no title behind your name. That position may give you more influence, but not more value. You can be a stay-at-home mom raising your children. You may not have the influence of the CEO, but you have the same value.
Value is not based on what you do, what you make, who those things can change. Your value comes from your Creator. God breathed his life into you. You have the DNA of almighty God. You have royalty in your blood. But the enemy works overtime trying to devalue us. He'd love for you to go through life letting what people say make you feel inferior, comparing your life to somebody else's, thinking you'll feel good about yourself when you catch up to them, when you live in that neighborhood, or when you perform perfectly.
When you break the addiction, then you'll feel valuable. But nothing you do will make you any more valuable, nothing you achieve, nothing you overcome. God calls you a masterpiece. You are one of a kind. You didn't come off an assembly line. You weren't mass produced. God made you unique. There will never be another you. Put your shoulders back, start carrying yourself with confidence. You have been fearfully and wonderfully made.
In luke chapter 4, Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert, where he was tempted three times. He'd been out there for 40 days and hadn't eaten anything. The enemy said to him, "If you're the Son of God, turn these stones into bread". He was trying to make his value be based on his performance. "If you turn these stones into bread, you can prove you're the Son of God, then you could feel good about yourself. You performed a miracle". He said, "Man doesn't live by bread alone". He was saying, in effect, "I don't have to do anything to prove who I am. I don't have to perform to feel good about myself. I know who I am".
The enemy couldn't deceive him into getting his value out of being performance-based, so he he took Jesus to a high place, showed him all the kingdoms of the world. He said, "You could have it all if you'll just bow down and worship me". Jesus said, "No thanks, I don't need possessions to prove my worth and value. I don't have to have what you think is important to feel good about who I am".
Possession-based didn't work, performance-based didn't work, so the enemy tried he took Jesus to the highest place in the temple, was very crowded below, all kinds of people. He said, "If you're the Son of God, jump off this building. You said your angels would protect you". He was trying to get Jesus to show off. Everybody would see and be amazed. He'd gain instant popularity. Jesus said it again. "I don't need possessions, I don't need popularity, I don't need performance to feel valuable. I know who I am. I'm the Son of a living God".
The enemy tried to deceive Jesus into proving who he was, and a lot of people live in a proving mode. They can't feel good about themselves unless they prove to people they're important. There's a constant struggle. They're always having to outdo, outperform, outdrive, outdress.
It's very freeing when you realize you don't have to you don't have to impress people. Take the pressure off. It takes a lot of energy to compete, to prove, to impress, and if you live in a proving mode, it's like you're on a treadmill. As soon as you prove to one person you're okay, you'll see somebody else you need to impress. Get off that treadmill. You're working hard, but not going anywhere. You don't have to prove anything.
In these days, there's so much emphasis on name brands. We're wearing so-and-so designer shoes, and so-and-so's sunglasses, and carrying a so-and-so purse, and driving a so-and-so car, and talking on a so-and-so cell phone. If you're really cool, you got on so-and-so underwear. You can feel good about yourself. Sometimes we have so many other names on us, we don't know our own name. We're counting on all the name brands, all the outside labels to make us feel important.
Can I tell you, your name is more important than all those names combined? No disrespect to them, but the difference between you and a name brand is God breathed his life into you. You're a son, you're a daughter of the most high God, and there's nothing wrong with owning it, driving it, wearing it, but don't let it be the reason you feel good about who you are. Because what's hot today, what's the latest, greatest, in a few years it'll be outdated, and if you live possession-based, you have to run from name to name, position to position, friend to friend. That's going to wear you out. Why don't you relax?
You can't get any more valuable. You can buy more clothes, get more friends, that doesn't whether you're wearing Gucci or Goodwill, whether it's Calvin Klein or Fruit of the Loom, your value never changes. Your clapping 'cause you wear Fruit of the Loom like me.
I went to the sporting goods store the other day to buy some new T-shirts to work out in, and there were probably ten racks of shirts. Practically every one had the manufacturer's name on the front in big, bold letters. I thought to myself, "You want me to buy your shirt and then go around as a billboard for you? No offense, but I don't want to wear your name, I like my own name". Do you need somebody else's name to make you feel good are you trying to prove your worth, your value by who you know, what you wear, what you drive? Or can you say, like Jesus, "I don't have to have popularity, possessions, or performance to feel good about myself. I am secure in who I am. I know who God made me".
When Jesus was riding into town on palm sunday, the people laid down branches as he passed by. They celebrated, shouting, "Hosanna!". From the young to the old, waving, cheering, they were so excited to see him. He received a hero's welcome. But a few days later, those same people instead of shouting, "Hosanna," they were shouting, "Crucify him. We don't want him here". When Jesus went to trial and needed his closest friends to support him, his disciples, the ones he had poured his life into, they weren't anywhere around. He asked them to stay up and pray, but they were too tired fell asleep.
If you base your value on people's support, how much they approve you, encourage you, then if for some reason they stop doing that, you'll feel devalued. As long as they're telling you you're great, you'll feel great. The problem is if they change their mind, they're not telling you that, you're not going to feel great. You can't base your value on people are funny. They'll say, "You're beautiful," one day and, "I don't care for you," the next. "Hosanna," on sunday, "Crucify him," on friday. If you don't know who you are without them, then if they leave, you'll be lost. They'll take you with them. Your identity was caught up and you'll try to find somebody else to tell you who you are.
You don't need people to tell you who you are. People will let you down, people will get jealous, people have their own issues. Let your Heavenly Father tell you who you are. Get your value, your self-worth, your approval from him. He says, "You're a masterpiece". He says, "You're one of a kind, a prized possession". Somebody may have told you the opposite. "You're not talented, you're not attractive. You don't have a good personality". Let that go in one ear and out the other. They don't determine your value. What they say or do doesn't make you any less a masterpiece.
Quit letting how people treat you make you feel inferior. They don't control your destiny. They didn't breathe life into you. They didn't call you, they didn't anoint you, they didn't approve you. Your value came from your Creator, from the God who spoke worlds into existence, and the good news is they can't change your value and you can't change it. God put it in you before you showed up. You don't need their approval, you don't need their encouragement. They don't have to validate you.
It's good when it happens, but if you're depending on it to feel secure, then if they don't do it, you're going to feel inferior. Don't give away your power. Don't put your identity, your value into somebody else's hands. Even good people can't give you everything you need. Somebody that loves you very much, they cannot keep you approved, validated, feeling secure. You have to go to your Heavenly Father, and sometimes, we're putting pressure on people to keep us fixed, keep us validated. Let them off the hook. You already have a savior. He's on the throne. Go to him and not to people.
The problem with trying to get this from people is people have issues. People are dealing with insecurities, fears, hurts, wounds, prejudice, dysfunction. They don't know any better. That's normal to them. Messed up people can mess you up. That's not profound, but it's good, isn't it? If you base your value on what they're giving you, you can end up dysfunctional.
I talked to a lady recently that had a very bad childhood, neglect, abuse, and she'd just gone through her second divorce, and her ex-husband told her that she didn't deserve to be loved, and I could tell that she believed it 'cause she was down on herself, and I told her what I'm telling you. Don't let messed up people ruin the rest of your life. If somebody hurt you, there's a tendency to internalize it and think, "There's something wrong with me. If I was more attractive, he wouldn't have left. If I was smarter, I wouldn't have had a bad childhood".
No, it has nothing to do with you. They're treating you out of their hurts, their wounds. Hurting people end up hurting other people. Don't let what they say define who you are. Don't let what you didn't get make you feel like you're to blame. They said, "You don't deserve to be loved," that's a lie. They said, "You're not attractive," another lie. But if you base your value on these lies, you won't have any kind of self-worth.
Studies even show that children that went through neglect, abuse, a bad childhood, very often they take the blame on themselves. They think there's something wrong with them. This lady did the same thing. She didn't think she deserved to be loved. That's the enemy trying to steal your sense of value, and if somebody did you wrong, instead of internalizing it, have you ever thought about maybe they were messed up? Maybe they felt so bad about themselves, so unlovable that they tried to project it on you?
I know a young man that never felt like he fit in. Growing up, there's very little love in his home, he never felt approved or celebrated. It was like he was a burden, and he found out in his early teens that his parents always wanted a girl. They were disappointed when he was born.
Now he's in his 20s, had his head down, insecure, feeling unworthy, and I told him "Your parents may have wanted a girl, but the Creator of and God doesn't make mistakes. You're not an accident. He hand-picked you. He chose you before you could choose him. Your parents may not have known any better, but don't let their lack of approval you didn't come from your mother, you came through your mother. You came from almighty God". I began to tell him how he was a masterpiece, called, chosen, equipped, one of a kind, with seeds of greatness. Nobody had ever spoken faith over his life. He lifted his head, he put his shoulders back, I could see a smile starting to form.
When you base your value on what people say or do, that's going to push you down. But when you base it on what God says about you, it's going to lift you up. You're going to have a smile on your face, a spring in your step. You're not going to be put off by what you didn't get, by who's not supporting you. Like him, maybe nobody ever told you what God says about you. God says you're amazing. He says he's proud of you. He says you're the apple of his eye, and people may not be celebrating you, but you need to know God celebrates you.
I've heard it said, if God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it. If he had a computer, you'd be on the homepage. The scripture says God has on the palm of his hand. He's always thinking about you. You may feel like you never really got the approval from your parents, from your family. Even now, they don't want to celebrate you, they don't affirm you. But the truth is it's not about you, it's about their issues, their insecurities. Don't spend your life trying to get something that they can't give.
I know people working 80 hours a week trying to prove to their parents they're successful, prove to their family they're good enough. You have to let it go or you'll be frustrated. Turn to your Heavenly Father, get your approval from him. He's smiling down on you. He sees you excelling. You don't have to have their approval to be happy. God approves you. He's the one that matters.
In the scripture, David didn't have his father's approval. When the prophet Samuel came in to anoint one of Jesse's sons, Jesse didn't even bring David in from the shepherd's fields. He saw David as being inferior, not talented, too young, too small. Sometimes the people closest to you can't see the greatness in you. Jesse didn't see a king in David, he didn't see a giant killer, a strategic leader. He saw a young boy with not much to offer. He dismissed him, didn't pay much attention.
Your family may discount you, they may leave you out. Don't take it personally, just keep being your best, getting your approval from this happened with Jesus. His brothers didn't believe in him. They saw him as average, what's the big deal? What's all the commotion? It's just Jesus. The people that should've supported him the most tried and the people closest to you may not acknowledge your gifts, they may not see your value, but God does. David was left out, it wasn't fair. But when Samuel looked at the other seven sons, he said, "Jesse, it's none of these. Do you have any more sons"?.
People may leave you out, but God doesn't leave you out. If David had to have his family's approval, he would've never taken the throne. Quit trying to make people be for you that are never going to be for you. Quit feeling inferior because somebody close to you is not celebrating you. If you needed their approval, you would get it. If you're not getting it, that means you don't need it to become who you were created to be.
And I know many of us had great parents that did their best, but we all have people that are not giving us their approval. They don't acknowledge our gifts, they don't see what we have to offer. Don't live frustrated, thinking that there's something wrong with you, trying to prove to them who you are, trying to convince them to affirm you. Let it go. There's nothing wrong with you. If you had to have it, they would give it. Since you don't, shake it off, keep your head held high knowing that your Heavenly Father has approved you, accepted you, and anointed you. Your value doesn't come from people, it comes from a while back, somebody gave a watch to the ministry.
I was out of town at one of our events, and a man came up and handed me this nice box. I opened it, it was a beautiful watch. It wasn't super fancy, but it was attractive and sporty, and of course I thanked him, I'm very grateful, and I brought it back and put it in my desk drawer. A couple of months later, I opened the drawer to get something out, and there was the watch, I had forgotten about it.
I looked at it again, and I thought it cost a couple hundred dollars. I didn't notice the name brand, but for some reason, I googled it, and when I did, I nearly passed out. The exact watch came up, it was over $10,000. It's from a very famous, prestigious watchmaker. It looked like to me a lot of other watches that I'd seen that costs several hundred dollars, but because of the manufacturer, this watch was extremely valuable.
You could put it side by side and you wouldn't see much difference. Looked averaged, ordinary. People had copied it, there were knock-offs. On the surface, it seemed the same. But what gave it its value was who made it, and sometimes, we don't realize who we are.
You may feel average, ordinary, like nothing stands out. But because of your maker, there's something about you that makes you extremely valuable. You're not a copy, you're not a knock-off, the Creator of the universe is your manufacturer. You can't get any more prestigious than that. But if you don't know who you are, like I did with the watch, you'll discount yourself, thinking, "Oh man, I'm ordinary. Nothing much to offer, nothing special about me". You need to google your you have the fingerprints of God all over you.
Psalm 139 says, "God, I praise you because you have made me in an amazing way. What you have done is wonderful," and if you're going to recognize your value, you have to see yourself as amazing, as wonderful, not because of who you are, but because of now, life will try to make you feel like you're anything but amazing.
Disappointments, betrayals, rejection will try to steal your sense of value, but all through the day, despite what thoughts are telling you, despite who left you out, you need to remind yourself, "I am amazing, I am a masterpiece, I have been wonderfully made". Don't discount what God has created. Don't go around feeling ordinary when in fact you're extraordinary.
People may try to make you feel average, like David's father, you don't have much to offer. Are you going to believe what people say about you, or believe what God says about you? God says you're amazing. Have you ever said that to yourself?
It has to start on I read where tom Brady's Jersey that he wore during the super bowl is worth $500,000. I can go online and buy that same Jersey for $49. What's the difference? Who it belongs to. Same Jersey, same size, same color, but one belongs to Tom Brady. That makes it extremely valuable. The scripture says, you belong to God. You may feel average, think you look ordinary, nothing special about you, but because of who you belong to, that makes you extremely valuable.
Now, my challenge, don't let people discount you, don't let your own thoughts push you down. Put your shoulders back, you belong to God. You don't have to prove anything, you don't have to try to impress people, just be who you are. Be amazing. If you'll do this, I believe and declare every chain is being broken. You're going to live free, and become the masterpiece that God created you to be in Jesus' name.