Our lives matter. The lives of those around us matter. We all know this intuitively. But do we know why lives matter beyond that intuitive feeling? And do we understand just how valuable our lives really are? I think that most people don’t know. And I get the feeling that they don’t care, either. But knowing why your life is valuable will do you good. Here are five reasons that life is valuable.
First, we were created in God’s image. In the garden, God made Adam and Eve. The Bible says that God decided to “make man in [His] image, after [His] likeness.” (Gen 1:26) That statement, “in His image”, says so much about our abilities to create things, interact socially, reason, and govern ourselves. But the statement “in His image” also implies that our lives have inherent value. (If God Himself is inherently valuable, then when He created us, He created us similarly, therefore having value.) The value is so high that later in the book of Genesis, God said, “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.” (Gen 9:6) God created man in His image and because of that, our lives have such value that if one of those lives are killed, God considers it a great offense.
It is amazing to think of being created in God’s image. But there is Someone who far surpasses us in their likeness to God. That Someone is Jesus. Jesus is God’s exact image, “the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature.” (Heb 1:3) He chose to live among us so that He could save us. (I’ve written about what “saved” means here.) That God would stoop low to come to earth on a rescue mission shows how valuable we are to Him.
Second, we were created with a purpose. I’ll quote a few verses and you can see a recurring thought in Scripture.
God said, “…bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” (Isa 43:6-7)
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. (Col 1:16)
I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me. (Psa 57:2)
We all were created by God, for God, with a purpose. And that purpose is to bring Him glory. Bringing God glory means to show how valuable He is. Having that purpose stamped on our very being gives us inherent value.
The thought of having a purpose becomes even weightier when we consider something beyond a general “purpose,” or “calling.” We who know Jesus and are known by Him will be drastically changed. “For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.” (1Co 15:53) This is where every life that knows Jesus is headed. And it isn’t just that we will be unable to die. We will be without sin, which is what brought about death in the first place. Our purpose, our destiny, is to one day be made like Jesus. Do you feel the weight that adds to our value?
Third, God does not rejoice in death. Here is a quote from Ezekiel:
Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel? (Eze 33:11)
We can hear the fervency in this verse. God does not take sadistic pleasure in even the wicked dying. He points out to Israel that there is an alternative to death. And He points out that the alternative (them living) is what He takes pleasure in. God’s lack of rejoicing in our dying and happiness in our living gives value to our lives.
It is good to point out that God is not reveling in the pain, suffering, and death of anyone. It is also good to point out that because of God’s attitude toward life, our lives have value. But we can go beyond that. One day, He will destroy death. “For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” (1Co 15:25-26) He loves and values life so much that He will one day destroy death. Doesn’t this show the value that our lives hold even now?
Fourth, God is mindful of man. Out of the vast universe, out of everything that is, God is aware of and concerned about human kind. The thought is staggering. King David phrased this beautifully:
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. (Psa 8:3-5)
If there is a nearly unmeasurable universe to consume God’s thoughts and He is not only aware of us, but His attention is fixed on us, that should tell us something. It says that our lives are of value to Him. Out of all of creation, our lives are valuable and precious to Him.
But He isn’t just aware of us, or thinking about us. He is active in our lives. “[I]t is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Php 2:13) And this only happens in Christ. If God is working in us for His good pleasure, doesn’t that escalate how valuable our lives are?
Fifth, God is the giver of life. In the beginning, God breathed life into man. And He continues to give us breath for as long as we live. The fact that He originated and daily maintains life speaks to us that He valued and continues to value life.
We can all appreciate the gift of life. But there is an aspect of living that not everyone experiences. “And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” (1Jn 5:11) We may have not just life, but eternal life. Eternal life is not just life without end. It is life that will endure forever at such a quality that we can’t understand. If life one day will never cease and can be of incomprehensible glory, then life now has value.
Life matters. All lives matter. And they matter to a degree that we don’t consider well every day. Don’t waste your life. And don’t be content to see those around you waste theirs. Your ultimate purpose, everyone’s ultimate purpose, is to live the life that you have been given to the glory of God. Are you doing that?