I have to tread lightly with this topic so that my words of encouragement aren’t interpreted as condemnation. This is not condemnation. This is encouragement.
We all have a spiritual value. We are all equally loved by God, but we all have a different spiritual value that is expressed as a score. Some of us have a high value, some of us have a low value, and the rest of us have something somewhere in between. We can’t avoid having a spiritual value score. It can change depending on a wide range of factors, but none of us can opt out of having one. It’s calculated automatically in the spiritual realm and is perpetually being updated.
The world also assigns its own forms of valuation in the form of scores. China is leading the way in assigning a social credit score to each of its citizens, while the rest of the world, for the time being, only assigns evaluations such as credit and academic scores. Social media is rife with scores. When I was growing up, men assigned women a value out of 10 as a form of appraisal. (I think many men still do that.) We’re also assigned number valuations in the form of age, income, height, weight, vision acuity, etc., and scores on our various abilities and disabilities, including athletic achievements. Our intelligence is expressed numerically. All of these features are given a value that is almost always a number, so that eventually, in the eyes of the world, we become little more than a collection of numbers that hang off us like so many price tags fluttering in the appraisal breeze.
As born-again believers, we know that our worldly evaluation is unimportant. What people or worldly entities think of us is irrelevant. Our only concern should be our evaluation in the spiritual realm, so our spiritual value score is the one we should constantly work to increase. Counter-intuitively, however, we increase our spiritual value score not by focusing on it, but by focusing on God and his righteousness.
Again, I need to stress here that spiritual evaluation is not meant to discourage you. There is no need to be discouraged. Your spiritual value is in your hands. You determine what it is by the choices you make and by the words and images you choose to entertain within your own mind and to share with others. Unlike with worldly scores, your spiritual value score is not downgraded for failing to accomplish a particular task. In fact, sometimes our failures give us the biggest boost in spiritual valuation, because it’s not necessarily in the winning that we win, but in our sincere desire to do what’s right in God’s eyes.
In Old Testament times, there were hundreds of laws that the faithful followed in order to stay in God’s good graces, as directed by Moses. But we’re currently in New Testament times. Beyond the Ten Commandments, we no longer need to adhere to the Mosaic laundry list of to-do’s regarding purification, ritual, and sacrifice. Jesus took care of all that once and for all time by his sacrifice on the cross. But we do still need to stay in God’s good graces. We can’t go to Heaven otherwise.
So how do we raise our spiritual value score? This is a question we need to ask ourselves because we should always be aiming to raise our score, no matter how high we may think it is. We can’t know our score (only God and those he designates to know can know it); we can only guess our score, and we can definitely guess wrongly. Think of the parable of the sheep and goats. In the parable, Jesus divided them into going to Heaven and not going to Heaven. The goats he dealt with first, telling them they hadn’t made the cut and informing them why. They were shocked that they’d been condemned not based on things they’d done, but on things they hadn’t done. The sheep were also surprised to find that they were justified based on things they’d done without realizing they had even done them.
And that’s my point – we don’t raise our spiritual value score by checking off a laundry list of “to do’s”, like in Old Testament times. We don’t go out looking for people to help; we help whoever God brings to us to help. This is a critical difference. The sheep who were justified did all the right things in God’s eyes without realizing it; they just simply and quietly went about their lives righteously. The goats, on the other hand, ignored the cries for help of those God brought to them, and as such lived unrighteous lives. Even if they’d checked off every box of the Old Testament laundry list of laws, the goats would still have ended up condemned, because they chose not to help those God put in their path to help. Think of it as the Good Samaritan law that we’re all bound by and that’s encapsulated in the Ten Commandments and in Jesus’ command to love our enemies. There are no asterisks (*) in any of those commands denoting exceptions under special circumstances. That includes war.
I don’t know about you, but I want my spiritual value score to be as high as it possibly can be during my time on Earth. I know I’m responsible for it: My score is 100% my doing. I know it doesn’t go up by my checking off a laundry list of to-do’s, but by living righteously in God’s eyes. Whoever he sends to me to help, I help. Whoever he sends to me to forgive, I forgive. Whoever he sends to me to slap upside the head, I slap upside the head, but lovingly, so as not to discourage them. This is how Jesus lived and moved through the world, and this is how we’re to live and move.
I can only imagine how high Jesus’ spiritual value score was during his time on Earth. None of us can ever achieve that, but we can still aim for it.