By Kyra Riley
Staff Writer for The Daily Grace Co.
If you feel insignificant, you better think againBeyonce, “Bigger”, 2019
Better wake up because you’re part of something way bigger
You’re part of something way bigger
Not just a speck in the universe
Not just some words in a bible verse
You are the living word.
Beyonce sings these words to a generation who battles with feeling insignificant and purposeless. “Bigger” appears on her album, Spirit, on which she voices a connection to ancestral roots as a means of discovering one’s legacy and regaining self-esteem and purpose. Her fans receive this message of encouragement to overcome the weight of futility. Though there may be good intentions with this project, a deeper look at this song will reveal a false doctrine: viewing the Bible, the word of God, as insufficient and viewing oneself as the embodiment of life and truth. However, in the Scripture, there is a different message. Instead of looking to a celebrity to define our worldview, we can go to God’s word, which is infallible and authoritative, to give us an understanding of the significance and purpose we gain in Jesus.
The Origin of Insignificance
In the beginning, God made humans His image bearers, endowing them with significance and purpose. As seen in Genesis 2, Adam and Eve were to display the likeness of God by being sub-creators and servants. In their roles, they enjoyed relationship with God, who was their source and reason for life. Unfortunately, when tempted by the serpent in Genesis 3, they put this relationship and their status as image bearers in jeopardy in order to achieve significance by their own standards. Instead of trusting God, Adam and Eve questioned His authority. Instead of loving each other, they hid and blamed. Because of Adam’s desire to be his own Lord, sin and death now marked them and the earth. Their identity as image bearers was distorted, and they lost a sense of their divine purpose. Now, Adam worked tirelessly on land that would inevitably produce “thorns and thistles” (Genesis 3:18). In his labor, he would have to suffer the feeling of futility and insignificance.
Distant from God, subsequent generations continued to define their own identity through seeking other gods and viewing themselves higher than they ought. As seen in the construction of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11, humans aimed to find significance in establishing their own kingdom. Rejecting the identity and purpose God gave, they thought they could rely on their skills to “make a name for themselves” (Genesis 11:4). They did not understand that significance comes from a relationship with God and reflecting His image. They failed to live a life of service and instead pursued self-glory.
As a result of the fractured identity and futility inherited from Adam, we too seek significance and meaning outside of a relationship with God. Some of us rely on our own abilities and believe we have the “power within” to build our self-esteem and discover our life’s calling. But, we are steeped in sin and imperfection. Looking within to realize significance and purpose will only expose our pride and create an identity based on deception. Others of us seek fulfillment through other gods. Money, status, or social media fame become the idols we seek. But, these things will eventually leave us depleted and not satisfied.
Fortunately, God did not leave us in our broken state but, in eternity, formed a plan to restore our identity in Him. Before the world was formed, the Father chose a specific people to save through the life, death, and resurrection of His Son. Knowing His purpose, Jesus Christ lived obedient to the Father, serving Him and others. Philippians 2:6-7 state Jesus “who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be exploited. Instead he emptied himself by assuming the form of a servant, taking on the likeness of humanity.” Jesus lived humbly and did not seek to glorify Himself. As the God-Man, He perfectly embodied the identity and commission for which humans were created: love and service. His selflessness led Him to the cross on which He paid for our sins and restored our relationship to the Father. As a result, God glorified Him in His resurrection. For who He is and what He accomplished, Jesus is worthy of our worship. Jesus is supremely significant. And when we believe in Him, we find significance and meaning for life. Believers are a part of the ultimate legacy that is rooted in God’s eternal saving plan. Ephesians 1:11 states that “in [Christ], we have obtained an inheritance….” Reflecting Jesus, we receive the righteousness of our Savior and are given new desires to live selflessly.
Our Christlike identity shows us God’s purpose for humanity: to glorify Him through service and to enjoy relationship with Him forever. We do not find significance within ourselves or in other places. Contrary to the message in “Bigger”, we discover the reason for life and our place in the world through the word of God and through new life gained in Christ. Although, at times we will still face futility and feel insignificant from our failures, insecurities, or hardships. But, we can ultimately have hope that God will continue to use us as instruments for redemptive change. Our responsibility as image bearers remains. This task gives us encouragement as we navigate life. We know that our work and stewardship will point back to the One who is Truly Bigger than all else. In spreading the gospel, serving the less fortunate, caring for our neighborhoods, and loving the people around us, we live out our purpose and who we are in Christ.