Finding My Value in Christ
Hi (smile!), my name is Grant. It's an honor to be up here. Here’s my background.
I'm a senior this year and I'm graduating on time. I've been on the dean's honor role every quarter. I'm a member of Tau Beta Pi, an engineering honor society. I was treasurer of the group last year and in that role, I raised funds by 20%. In the last two years, I've worked with two different professors on excellent research projects, which means I could get two awesome letters of recommendation for graduate school. My GPA is 3.862 which places me at the level of graduating Magna Cum Laude. I've had internships every summer since high school and last summer had both elgooG and tfosorciM fighting over me. I was going to take the offer with elgooG until tfosorciM made me an offer that I just couldn't turn down. I earned five digits in three months. I have a diversified investment portfolio with a net worth in the range of five digits. When I graduate, I've signed to take a job at Microsoft and expect to make roughly six digits a year. My support networks include vice presidents of Fortune 500 companies and people that make over a million dollars.
That is my list of worldly accomplishments. But like Paul, I have learned that it has little if anything to do with my self-worth.
It has everything to do with my old view of value and self worth. See, I used to place ultimate value on success, which I assumed came from happiness, which came from wealth and the opinions of others. I sought value in being popular without admitting a need to have real relationships with other people. I wanted to make it look easy and for people to be envious of me. I looked for self worth in women, drinking, and money…(pause here)…and none of it was solid ground. With all that I had, with all my assumed “value”, countless times I broke down and cried in my RA’s room about the failure I felt I was. I was a slave to material things and to appearances…and they let me down. They left me feeling empty. And worthless.
Intervarsity challenged me to look deeper within myself and to develop my character. Through that challenge, and through discipline, I have developed an intimate relationship with Christ. The intimacy is built upon Word study, small groups, and Catalyst. The process has not been a quick one. It’s taken four years to stand confidently up here and testify on this topic. Over the years I struggled to understand how obedience to God was the only way to freedom. I have discovered that by being on my particular journey – of learning to find my value solely in Jesus, of breaking the mastery of material things and appearances – has indeed been a journey of freedom.
It hasn’t been easy. Junior year I wrestled intensely with Jesus. I felt like every Catalyst was a boxing match. A jab here and an upper cut there. Jesus and I duked it out between his truth and my wants. It wasn’t until this year that I realized I could simply kneel at his feet. It is by Jesus’ grace that I can tell you I am a broken and sinful person. I struggle with addictions to pornography, greed, and comfort. The list of iniquities continues but Jesus heals and has radically transformed my life. He has shown me that he loves me – totally – despite all my faults and mistakes. And I am confident that I can deal with my brokenness without fear of losing my value.
I know that God has so much for me. Most of the things on that list of accomplishments didn’t come until I had promised to put God first. Take the internship at tfosorciM as an example. Having experienced Summer Con my sophomore year, I knew that it would be really important for me in my junior year. I promised God that I would go. I told every person I interviewed with, “I need the week after school gets out. I can’t start right away.” This was hard as a student at UCLA because we get out so late. But I wouldn’t budge. My parents were alarmed when I said that if it came to a choice between the internship and Summer Con, I would choose Summer Con. In the end, God richly blessed me. And I am more thankful that I kept my promise to God and had a life changing experience in Prayer Seminar at Summer Con than that I scored the best internship.
The song “Shout to the Lord” says “Nothing compares to the promise I have in You.” I always loved that line but I never really understood how very true it is. Don’t get me wrong, I am blessed by my accomplishments and happy about my grades, my finances and my career prospects. But I am realizing more each day that truly they are nothing compared to the value of my relationship with Christ and my absolute confidence in his love for me. I wouldn’t trade my intimacy with Jesus for anything this world could offer me. And unlike all those material things, Christ can and does and wants to love me back….he is the one source of value that will never let me down.