The Search for Significance: Seeing Your True Worth Through God’s Eyes

“If God is dead, somebody is going to have to take his place. It will be megalomania or erotomania, the drive for power or the drive for pleasure, the clenched fist or the phallus, Hitler or Hugh Hefner.” Those words were penned by British journalist Malcolm Muggeridge who understood the grave implications of taking God out of the equation of life.

To satisfy our deepest yearning for true meaning and purpose, people look elsewhere. Sooner or later, people find themselves engulfed in the sea of power, wealth, and pleasure in their forlorn hope to create ‘success.’

search_significanceIn Robert McGee’s “The Search for Significance,” he explores fundamental thoughts virtually all of us toyed with at some point in life. When I fail at something, I feel lousy about myself…When others don’t approve of me, I can’t seem to get over it…Sometimes it feels like I’ll never measure up .

McGee dismantles this universal lie that triggers self-doubt, robbing us from true joy in life. The author offers that the search for significance is about seeing your truth worth through God’s eyes. That is, “our true value is based not on our behavior or the approval of others but on what God’s Words says is true of us.”

McGee simplifies the condition many of us live in today which I’ve also been subjected to during my adolescence:

Self-worth = Performance + Other’s Opinions

Most of us believe this, at least partially.

The Search for Significance identifies four false beliefs of our day and applies accurate biblical truths to show how to correct our thinking and mindset.

The Performance Trap “I must meet certain standards to feel good about myself.”

Those who struggle with “The Performance Trap” have a fear of failure, perfectionism, manipulating others to achieve success; they can also cowardly withdraw from healthy risks. God’s answer to “The Performance Trap” is His justification. This means God has not only forgiven me of my sins but also has granted me the righteousness of Christ, therefore I am pleasing to the Father. At my very essence, as a son of God, I am good enough. Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The Approval Addict “I must be approved by certain others to feel good about myself.”

The person who is “The Approval Addict” fears rejection and is oversensitive to criticism; they will withdraw from others to avoid disapproval. God’s answer to this false belief is reconciliation. This means that although I was one time hostile toward God and alienated from Him, I am now forgiven and have been brought into an intimate relationship with Him. Consequently, I am totally accepted by God (Col 1:21-22)

The Blame Game  “Those who fail (including myself) are unworthy of love and deserve to be punished.”

Those who suffer from the “Blame Game” fear punishment. They also try to punish others, and their drive is to avoid failure. God’s answer to this problem is propitiation which means that that by His death on the cross Christ satisfied God’s wrath; therefore, I am deeply loved by God (John 4:9-11)

Shame “I am what I am. I cannot change. I am hopeless.”

Those who suffer from “Shame” is marked by feelings of hopelessness. Shame is also marked by inferiority, passivity, and loss of creativity, isolation, and withdrawal from others. . God’s answer for shame is regeneration, which means that when we place our faith in Christ we become a new creation.

John 3:3-6 says, “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ Nicodemus said to Him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?’ Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

The Search for Significance is a liberating book that will take lots of energy resurfacing the past baggage in life, but going through this process will be one of true inestimable healing and edification.

Question: What false beliefs have you lived with that prevented you to live a life of significance?


  • Recently God’s been helping me see my value through His loving and gracious eyes. I didn’t realize how much I let my value come from my performance. It’s eye opening to realize this about myself and God is helping transform my thought patterns as I renew my mind in Truths found in Him.

    Great post.

    • Absolutely TC. I’ve had a tough time growing up in my adolescence trying to find a healthy sense of self-worth. I was a product or lack there of academic performance and approval of others. Through a mentor of mine, he led me through a journey that helped me liberate from the bondage of a distorted view of self-worth. How liberating it has been. As you said, the transformation through the renewal of the mind has been profound. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      • You’re welcome, Paul. Enjoyed reading.

  • My false belief used to be “I’m not worthy”. This had to do with the orphan mindset (not believing I’m a son or an heir in the Kingdom). When I get into a place of dispair or feel down about something, I ask myself “what’s the lie I am believing?” The lie is almost always some form of agreement with one the four “false beliefs” listed above. All I have to do is “come out of agreement with the lie” and come into agreement with what God says about who I am (who He created me to be) and things look different immediately.

    • Well said Charles. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of believing we’re not worth. But the fact is, God uses reconciliation, justification, propitiation, and regeneration to come to Him fully as His son. I’ll be thinking and praying for you that the orphan mindset will not intrude your intimate relationship with Christ.

  • For me the “Performance trap” can, well be a trap! It’s so tempting to let myself believe that my significance is determined by others rather than by God. Thanks for the reminder that our righteousness is in Christ. It’s so powerful once we really grasp what that means because it completely takes away the pressure to perform and replaces it with peace to do what God has called us to do!

    • So true Caleb.

      I was born and raised partly in Korea, and the Korean culture defines you as a letter grade. Growing up, I wasn’t the top student. In fact, I was in the lower half. People and friends started to treat me differently. As years passed, I felt my lack of confidence and low self-worth came through my adolescence in Korea.

      Thankfully, God’s been working a corrective course action where I understanding my true value comes from God, not from earthly thing. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this Caleb. I’ll pray that you’ll grow closer to God and not let performance become a trap.

  • Great book review Paul! For me I fall prey to “The Approval Addict.” Though I’m getting better at this I want people to like me and my work. Thankfully we have the grace and mercy of God no matter what “trap” we might fall under.

    • Thanks Dan. I cannot agree more with you. I’ve always had this need for approval, but as I replied on Ngina’s comment, I am yearning to seek our Father’s love, instead of what binds me on this earth. I realized that the more I let go, God takes control. As he takes on the driver’s seat, ironically I feel more at peace and joy.

  • This is an awesome overview of the book Paul. straight out performance trap is the one i fall prey to. God works with me and helps me. It reminds me of the post i did last week on inadequacy last week. I’ve found that these beliefs have a root cause. God has helped me identify the roots and helped me see he approves, accepts and affirms me (justification), i don’t have earn or work for it. great thoughts here, thanks for sharing the book.

    • Yes, in fact, I was inspired by your post on inadequacy Ngina. I realized my addiction for approval and performance trap was due to my yearning for my biological father’s love. I realized that it was only a different expression of love he was showing. Now, I’m realizing that what I need is my Father’s love, the Author and Creator of my life. It’s been a liberating journey for me so far. I know God will continue to shape me in this area. Thanks for commenting.

  • This is absolutely awesome Paul. I think I fall prey to all of the above. The most prevalent being “Shame”. The reason is because I have Hyperhidrosis of the palms and they literally drip sweat that can happen at any moment. Its embarrassing and I try to hide it, but it makes me come off more as though I am hiding something. So this sounds like a really great book that can help with self esteem. Great Post!

    • Wow, thanks for being vulnerable and sharing your life brother. Yes, I tend to be very self-conscious. It’s so easy to “look good” to people instead of God – the Author and Creator of life. This book though gave me some serious thoughts to consider and provided a good recipe for seeing my truth value through God’s eyes. Check out my latest post where I wrote key life lessons from the life of Nick Vujicic. He recently paid a visit to my home country Korea and his message was spot on. http://paulsohn.org/4-inspiring-life-lessons-from-nick-vujicic/

      • Absolutely going to check out your latest post Paul.

  • Rachelle Windham

    Hi Paul! Thanks for your comment on my Relevant post! I can so relate to the performance trap…been a struggle my ENTIRE life. I got my first D in college, and a mentor asked me if I would show God my report card when I got to heaven. Nothing like sarcasm to quickly drive home a reality check! I’ll have to add that book to my reading list.

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  • Big Shirl

    I read the book in 2003 and did the exercises he mentioned: Write God’s Truth on a 3X5 card and recite it out loud every day for 30 days. Did not believe the words at the beginning. Totally believed everything after 30 days. Life Changer.