Meet Heidi from the TV show The Hills:
Between the years of 2006 and 2010 Heidi had more much plastic surgeries then I can count. Just like the rest of us, Heidi has a desperate hunger inside of her to be told she is special, and she turned to the world to satisfy that desire.
The system of the world sets us up to pursue our specialism in comparison. Heidi was a pretty girl, but she didn’t just want to be pretty. She wanted to be the prettiest.
If look to the world to satisfy our desire to be special, we will find ourselves slaves to that old thief of joy: comparison. We find our worth, not in being thin, but being thinner; not in being smart but in being smarter. This type of pursuit of special-ness requires that we exalt ourselves and put others down.
Christians have our own version of this. We compare gifts. We compare sin, making ourselves feel better by judging others. We constantly compare our spiritual body to the girl next to ours.
We even carry this worldview over to God.
We sit at His feet and we beg Him to make much of us. We take the world’s standards of what makes someone special and project that onto God, asking Him to speak over us how gifted and beautiful and important we are.
The truth is, God is eager to satisfy our need to feel special. He believes we are more precious than we will ever understand. He just has a different definition of what makes us special.
“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. (Luke 15:1-7 ESV)
This is a parable about a Shepherd who sees each individual sheep as special, not because the sheep is faster or smarter or better than the other sheep, but because that sheep belongs to Him.
We are special to God because we are His.
God designed our specialness to be about Him. We’re not special because of who we are, but because of whose we are. ‘Who’ – has us at the center; ‘whose’ has God at the center. ‘Who’ is concerned with what we produce, ‘whose’ is concerned with what God produces.
Your Father is the Creator of every thing you see and the sustainer of every invisible molecule. Boast in Him. Be proud that He’s your dad.
We are special to God because we are weak.
Just before Jesus tells this parable, the text says this:
Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” So he told them this parable: (Luke 15:1-3 ESV)
The Pharisees were a group of guys who met the world’s standard of what makes us special. They can’t figure out why Jesus wouldn’t want to eat with the smartest, the ‘Godliest’, most ‘special’ people. But Jesus explains that with God, it is not your strength that makes you special, it is your weakness.
not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. (1 Corinthians 1:26-31 ESV)
God doesn’t want any confusion.
You are not chosen and loved by God because you are special; you are special because you are chosen.
God makes the entry door to the Gospel an awareness of our weakness; an awareness that we are made special by Him alone. If you want to be special you won’t find it in yourself. You won’t find it anywhere but in the arms of your Father, gazing at His glory.
Consider the Son. Consider His perfection. You have been bought at a great price. You have been made valuable by the redemption of Christ’s blood. The degree to which you understand His worth, is the degree to which you will grasp how special He has made you.