Monday, August 30, 2010

Devotional 300810

Dear brothers an sisters,
Good morning. After a whole week of schooling and service in a church retreat, I am back to my routine in office again. I enjoy my routine where I have better control of my time. Instead of being rushed into one thing to the other, I can balance my time in my daily routine. It is always refreshing to start the day with some quiet time to meditate on God’s words and my relationship with Him. How important it is to be reminded of the fact that our self worth depends on Him but not on our accomplishment in life.

All of us grow up with an inferiority complex. Some of us are able to disguise it better than others, but the feelings of inferiority are there le same. One reason is that during the most formative years of our lives, we were small, less knowledgeable, weaker and less experienced than the important people in our lives (parents, teachers, older children in the neighborhood). There was always someone around who was better than we were in some way or other. We lose some of those feelings as we mature, but never entirely. We are always vulnerable to self-doubt. Am I worth anything at all? Does anyone care if I really exist? If I disappeared tomorrow, how long would it take before everything was normal? Would it take a week, a month, or a year? We try in various ways to become indispensable to people around us so that we can have our significance verified, but our efforts are not convincing.

We cannot experience freedom when we live that way. A feeling of inadequacy is enslaving. No matter how free we are told that we are, if we don’t think we are worth anything, we will not be motivated to express our strengths, will not be confident in developing our gifts, will not feel up to enjoying the blessings of the day.

The gospel counters that enslaving experience by telling the story of our redemption: “We were slaves to the elemental spirits of the universe. But when the time had filly come, God sent forth his Son; born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons” (paraphrased from Galatians 4:4-5) The action-packed sentence is a powerful description of Christ’s great work on behalf of all of us. One word in it tells us what we are worth: redeem.

All Paul’s readers would have been familiar with the first century Greek process for freeing slaves. The word redeem describes this process. Sometimes a slave caught the attention of a wealthy free person and for some reason or other—compassion, affection, justice—the free person decided to free the slave. The free person would then go to the temple or shrine and deposit with the priests the sum of money required for manumission. The priests would then deliver an oracle: The god Apollo has purchased this slave so-and-so from owners such-and-such and is now free. The priests then passed the redemption price on to the recent owner. The ex-slave who all his or her life had been treated as an inferior, useful J only for purposes of running someone else’s errands, doing someone else’s work, was no longer subject to such evaluation. The person was free. No price could be put on that head again. The person was valuable not to do something but to be someone.

That, says Paul, is what has happened to each and every one of us: we have been singled out for redemption. We are free in Christ. We have received a new identity – a child of God. We become a new person with a new worth or value. We are unique and valuable for a divine purpose. For that reason, “we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original” (Galatians 5:26). This is a new day that God has prepared for you. Maximize the opportunity of this day to fulfill God’s plan for your life. Amen.

Love you in Christ,

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