How can we feel good about ourselves? The world teaches us that if we DO something, we ARE something. Thus, the greater the size of the paycheck, the more valued we are. Pro Athletes, already making more money than they can spend in 100 lifetimes, will renege on their contracts to ask for even more. Why? Not because they need it, but because someone else is getting more, and thus is more valued, and they cannot accept this. Same thing in the corporate world. Those ridiculous executive salaries are all about ego, not value. However, the ones who are on top find that their satisfaction does not last long, that their victories are Pyrrhic and burn as soon as they achieve them.
What does God say to man? On what basis does God love us? Does He love the tallest, the smartest, the most handsome among men? No, He told Samuel that David was the man after his own heart, and David was the least among his brothers. Shepherd boy. Probably illegitimate. Not the first one in line according to the wisdom of the world to be king of Israel. No, God looks at the heart. He is looking not for the things the world values, but for the man who is broken and humble. God's Kingdom is within such a man, even though the world may never look twice at him.
I don't think we who are believers often realize just how far God had to go to love us. While we were yet sinners . . . Do we appreciate this? Do we know that, apart from the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross, God could not even look at us, so repulsive we were? God is absolute Purity and Holiness. We were absolutely the opposite, vile to the core. But when we consider that He died for us, when we were yet His enemies, we must admit that His love for us is absolutely NOT based on merit, but simply GRACE. We can feel good about ourselves only because of who we ARE, in Christ, and never on account of what we do. May we rest in this fact, saints!