I owe my parents a great deal.

I grew up in rural poverty. But I didn’t have a clue that we were poor. I didn’t know I was poor until the mid 1980s. I was out on my own, working, and President Ronald Reagan happened to mention federal poverty guidelines. I looked them up and found out that I had never been considered by the government to be middle-class, as I had always assumed I was.

But the new knowledge that I might be considered less than, at risk, not middle class, didn’t change my view of myself. I inherited a healthy dose of self importance that I have always had to learn to temper with humility.

I confess this, because when I gave my life to Jesus, I had to remove a lot of self-pride and desire to be in control. The Holy Spirit of God will not stay in a house cluttered with too much me. I still work on keeping my spiritual house clean. It doesn’t take much for the dirt to blow in, living in this world.

When I allow God to be a part of the housecleaning, to show me what needs polishing or tossed away, my worth is so much more clear.

The prophet Isaiah says in chapter 64, verse 6 that we are all unclean, our righteousness (or good works and good intentions) are as a filthy rag.

It wouldn’t matter how much money I made, what good works I performed, how many great things I might achieve. It wouldn’t mean a thing to God without my salvation being purchased at a great price by Jesus Christ.

While I am worth just about nothing in my own works, I also know from 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 that my body is the house of the Holy Spirit given to me by God. I am not my own. “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

I don’t belong to myself. I belong to Jesus.

Gospel recording artist Anthony Brown sings a song, “Worth,” which I sing along with a lot when I’m driving. I’m sure Brown doesn’t need my back-up singing, but I can’t help myself when it comes these lyrics:

”You thought I was worth saving, so you came and changed my life! You thought I was worth keeping, so you cleaned me up inside. You thought I was to die for! So you sacrificed your life. So I could be free, so I could be whole, so I could tell everyone I know!”

Truth is, my worth as a redeemed child of God is priceless.

But my worth is no more than any other person ever created on this planet — villains or heroes. God loves us all and desires for us all to accept our salvation freely offered. Every unbeliever is a potential saint. God wants us all!

Deuteronomy 10:17 — For the Lord your God is the God of gods and Lord of lords, and the great God, mighty and awesome, shows no partiality and accepts no bribes.

Genesis 1:27 — So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

Colossians 3:11 — In this new creation life, you nationality makes no difference, or your ethnicity, education or economic status — they matter nothing. For it is Christ that means everything as he lives in every one of us.

Because He lives in me, His Holy spirit nudges me toward humility and peace and love. Points out the work that needs to be done. Opens my heart and my ears for the words I need to hear.

They’re words not just for me, but for every believer.

Matthew 5:1-12 — ”Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

John 13:34 — ”A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

Mark 12:30-31 — ”’And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Philippians 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves...

Email Andrea Howe at ahowe@mtcarmelregister.com

— Email Andrea Howe at ahowe@mtcarmelregister.com

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