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[PURE: The 90-Week Devotional Series] Week 2 – Who Determines Your Worth?

de·ter·mine

   [dih-tur-min] Show IPA verb, -mined, -min·ing.

verb (used with object)

1. to settle or decide (a dispute, question, etc.) by an authoritative or conclusive decision.

2. to conclude or ascertain, as after reasoning, observation,etc.

3. Geometry . to fix the position of.

4. to cause, affect, or control; fix or decide causally: Demand for a product usually determines supply.

5. to give direction or tendency to; impel.

The good old dictionary shows how powerful a word it is: Determine. The first definition means to settle or decide something by an authoritative decision. When the thing they’re deciding is as personal and defining as your own worth, to whom will you bestow that authority?

What does worth even mean? Let’s check.

worth

1    [wurth] Show IPA

(…)

noun

4. excellence of character or quality as commanding esteem:women of worth.

5. usefulness or importance, as to the world, to a person, or for a purpose: Your worth to the world is inestimable.

6. value, as in money.

7. a quantity of something of a specified value: ten cents’ worth of candy.

8. wealth; riches; property or possessions: net worth.

That’s even more powerful. Somebody of conclusive authority is determining your usefulness or importance to the world. Now, how many times in your life have you stopped to consider in whose hands you put that authority? It depends on the judge, what the verdict is. If you put the authority in the hands of the secular world, you’re going to be judged by your appearance and compared to skinny women in magazines. You’ll be compared to rich men with mansions. Realistically, how many people will be worth anything when compared to that?

The problem here is that many kids nowadays choose to give this authority to people who are only going to make them feel worthless. Because if we’re letting someone who edits a fashion magazine judge our usefulness or importance…to put it quite bluntly, most of the world won’t be useful or important. That’s why it’s such a sad world! These people don’t even deserve to hold your value in their hands. Why? Jesus said: And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Mat 10:28, RSV

I think it’s important to point this out. While most people will go straight to the next verses about the worth of a sparrow, we need to let the world know that these people don’t deserve trust regarding your worth at all. A lot of kids will question how we know we shouldn’t fear these forces, but we need to remember that right before Jesus told us how God determines our worth, He also said who can’t determine it and why. It’s in the Bible. How many of you knew that?

Rebecca says:

My tendency was to live with a sense that God was disappointed in me—that I was not good enough. Through study and prayer and time alone with Him, the Lord assured me that I am loved and secure. I know that I’m His princess, accepted and cherished. Pure, page 6

We are all princes and princesses, not by how the world judges us but by how God loves us. He told us not to listen to the world, so why are we? Finally, I’ll share the passage about the sparrow:

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s will. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. Matt. 10:29-31

I don’t think this passage quite does it justice, because it’s been read so many times that our brains watered it down. But this is nothing less than a picture out of a fairy tale: We are royalty of Heaven! We may not ever feel like it down here on earth, but our rewards will be great.

St. Patrick put it well:

If I have any worth, it is to live my life for God so as to teach these peoples; even though some of them still look down on me.

As did Rebecca:

How much time do you spend in the morning thinking about how others will perceive you based on what you look like each day? How could you spend some of that time contemplating your worth in God’s eyes? Look in the mirror and realize how precious you are to Him.

Have you put the authority to judge your worth into worldly hands? Turn back now, because the only one who can judge you justly and determine your worth is the Lord. He knows what’s best for you. And He’s watching you…everywhere. Read Psalm 139:

Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend to heaven, thou art there! If I make my bed in Sheol, thou art there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there thy hand shall lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Let only darkness cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to thee, the night is bright as the day; for darkness is as light with thee.

How many magazine editors can claim that authority?

mariella_siggy

[PURE: The 90-Week Devotional Series] Introduction

Hi. If I haven’t already introduced myself three times, well, I’m about to do it again. My name’s Mariella Cecilia Hunt. I get my ideas from God and am excited to get us started on a series (especially a long one like this is going to be: I love meditating on things and being able to take time on the subject!)

I’m going to host a 90-week devotional on the book Pure by Rebecca St. James. It’s meant to be a 90-day devotional but I expanded it for the sake of the blog and post quality.

Some of you might have the question on the tip of your tongue: Is Rebecca St. James Catholic? The answer is, no, as far as I’ve read, she’s not a Catholic. But this just makes it even better. We are not going to restrict ourselves to purely Catholic books on this blog because there’s loads of books written by people from other branches of Christianity that have absolute gold to offer us. This book is one of them. I chose this book, not just because I’m genuinely impressed by it (not many devotionals actually impress me) but because I really want this devotional series to be a milestone towards interdenominational understanding. Purity is an issue that every Christian can relate to and that we need to work towards together, in a world where it’s become so lacking; together, with this series, maybe we can clean up the world we live in by purifying ourselves with Rebecca’s amazing advice.

I will be featuring excerpts from her book, but also putting in relevant stories and quotes from Saints to make sure that we go deep, deep into the issue of purity–and make it a little more Catholic. There will be questions at the end (some I will compose to go with the ones Rebecca already came up with, which really make you think!) If you have the book, that’s amazing, but I’ll try to make the series as accessible as possible to people who can’t get a copy of their own.

Together, let’s take a look at our lives and work towards three forms of purity: Mind, Body, and Spirit. What I enjoyed about this book was that she really, really digs into the issue of purity, covering everything to help us get as clean as we possibly can. It’s not a light read. You have to read it several times to get all the challenges done; it’s actually a book you should have with you all your life on your bedside table, so you can go through it again and again. It’ll help you every time, and each day you’ll find yourself more and more on the path to purity.

The book is directed mostly to girls, but in this series I will try and make it accessible to guys as well. I might ask advice from some co-workers for that part, when it gets too girly. I hope there’s volunteers!

This is only the introduction. Coming right up will be the first week’s post; look for it either today or tomorrow. God Bless!