Why am I talking about this word? Sunday afternoon, (remember, my day of rest?!), my husband Bill and I were talking heart to heart, challenging each other with God's admonition to press forward, go onward, go higher. Bill said "The word that comes to me is dignity. I think God wants us to conducts ourselves and think about ourselves with dignity- no matter how we might be tempted to feel about ourselves." We had been chatting about the highs and the lows of our lives, our experiences in ministry and our experiences with challenging situations and people. "I've seen fire and I've seen rain" James Taylor sang, and he was right. Psalm 66 tells us God even LETS people ride over our heads- but that He also brings us out to a place of abundance.
Wikipedia discusses dignity and when I read these words I was struck by the truth of the definition, the application...:
"According to Webster's Dictionary, the word dignity means the quality of being worthy of esteem or honor; worthiness; i.e., the quality of being highly valued....
Society is free when it has free people. People are free when they have learned the truth about themselves, when they carry the truth with dignity, when they are internally free. Internal freedom is freedom from fear to be judged,....freedom from doubts about dignity....Society knows freedom when its people know dignity."
I got thinking about God's Society- His Kingdom people- and the application of the above definition. God's Kingdom should be characterized by dignity and value and freedom. Galatians 5:1 New Life Version tells us Christ made us free. Stay that way. Plain and simple. One way to walk in His freedom is to continually respect the Word of God, respect the Work of God, and respect, specifically, His marvelous work in your life.
My father coached high school and college soccer for 30 years. One of his favorite exclamations that he'd call out when watching his players try to receive the ball and botch up the pass was
"Respect the ball! Respect the ball!" He wanted the players to think higher of their capability to play well, and to look at the soccer ball as being worthy of being passed and kicked in a manner of respect and good execution.
I feel like God is speaking a message of respect and dignity into my life. I can hear the lyrics Aretha Franklin sang "R-E_S_P_E_C_T! Find out what it means to me...." Here's what I hear the Holy Spirit whispering to me "Treat yourself with respect. Walk in Dignity. Walk freely in My path for you. Stay free, and share the message of my marvelous freedom with those who walk with head down, hands limp, eyes clouded with despair."
Hebrews 12:12,13 tells us Therefore, lift up the hands that hang down and the feeble knees,and make straight paths for your feet, so that which is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.
We have all had experiences where our sense of worth and value was not strengthened but rather wounded or dislocated even. How does healing come? A dear new friend of mine, Gabie, advised that God "will give you the strategy and the strength to get out from under." Get out from under what? From any lie that speaks "you have no value, no worth, no future."
May today be a day where the dignity ( "a certain worth or value") of being a beloved child of God rules in our life, our walk, and most of all in our sense of who we are. What is your certain worth or value? Beloved sister or brother, it is in Him and because of Him- and it is exceedingly above what we could ever ask or imagine. And higher than that, even, is His inestimable glory.
Son Shine on My Soul Today, The Worthy Lamb has Made a Way .... for me.