Do you sometimes feel you have nothing to contribute? The only way to combat this false thinking is with the truth: We are designed by a brilliant creator God, who put us here by strong purpose for a strong purpose. When we finally leave the earth, whether early or late, we do so by divine appointment.

There’s more. We are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26, 27), that is, we bear the mark of our great Manufacturer; we are the crown of his creation, the pinnacle of his handiwork (Psalm 8:3-8); the times and seasons of our birth, life, and death are determined before we’re born (Acts 17:26). We have an important job description to fulfill (Ephesians 2:10; Philippians 2:13); and while, yes, we are fallen and profoundly corrupted by the power of sin, we have fallen from a great height. We still hold a high position in the eyes of God, he loves us with an incomparable love, and is faithful to us beyond reason. One day, after everything is sorted out, we’ll occupy once again the highest order of creation, even above angels (1 Corinthians 6:3).

We get most of our worst negative images of ourselves from those around us: parents, school mates, enemies, competitors, and the like. It’s entirely irrelevant what others think about us: whether they be siblings, employer, teacher, acquaintances, judge, or jury. All that matters is what your Creator says about you. And what he says is this: “I made you utterly unique in my universe, I made you for a purpose, and wherever you go I’m there ahead of you” (Read all of Psalms 8 and 139).

If the apostle Paul formed his self-image from what others said about him, he would have given up in total despair. But he had a secret solution to this problem of identity—it didn’t matter to him how others rated him; it didn’t even matter how he rated himself! (1 Corinthians 4:3). The only thing that carried any weight with him was what God said about him: Yes, he was a gross sinner, but utterly forgiven, cleansed, transformed, refit for a new life, and destined to everlasting joy in the Kingdom of God. Period.

So what others may say and think about us is totally irrelevant. Neither do we have the right to pass judgment, or place our own personal evaluation (including the negative images we have of ourselves) on who and what we are. Only God can do that.

If God puts his stamp of approval upon us, that’s that. And his approval has nothing whatsoever to do with our own goodness or performance. It has everything to do with Christ’s righteousness that he puts to our account. When he looks upon you and me, God sees his Son’s image in us and says, “You are my beloved, beautiful child in whom I am well pleased.”

So whenever we are tempted to think that we’re of no worth in the eyes of God or others, let’s forget the self-rejecting view of ourselves. It’s false. If God has chosen us and adopted us into his great family, we have no right to maintain any self-evaluation that falls short of God’s declaration of who we are.

We need to make this pattern a part of every morning: remind ourselves, repeat and read all the relevant, most uplifting Psalms, write it in a notebook, speak it out loud, do anything to keep this message in front of us. Consciously oppose the negative thoughts that keep returning, telling you of your worthlessness. It’s not from God. Once again, lasting joy, happiness, and a general contentment in life lie in the truth of the Gospel, and the truth about ourselves. To God be the glory!