I am unworthy.
This reality– it wounds me, but there is no doubt of its truth. I cannot look in the mirror, look at my unswept floor and my unfolded laundry, look in my own heart, and think for a moment that I am worthy of a single one of the blessings God has poured out on me.
We can sink under our unworthiness and let it define us, become paralyzed by mistakes or inadequacies or fear or sin. We can ignore our lack of worth and instead try to focus on all the great things about us, awash in prideful self-deception that can take us a pretty long way and then will surely leave us stranded, face to face with truth again.
Or we can take our eyes off ourselves altogether and put them on Jesus. Time in His presence reveals to me my own smallness, but even more it reveals His greatness. He is everything I am not, all that I can only dream of.
I am nothing, can do nothing, without Him. This is truth. But there is an even greater truth: I am never without Him. In fact, I am in Christ– and the mysteries of that little phrase are deep and beautiful and unfathomable.
In Christ— this changes everything. In Him I am a completely new and recreated person, with a worth and a value and a purpose and a beauty that I could never have on my own. Somehow, because I am in Christ, God sees me as worthy, though in myself I am unworthy. And the more aware I am of my own unworthiness, and the more aware I am of the riches of His lavish love poured out on me, the more I understand the meaning of grace.
I was stricken yesterday morning by this verse in Revelation 5:
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and blessing!
Someday all God’s people will sing that around the throne. And truly, Christ alone is worthy of all those amazing things– but consider this.
He is worthy to receive power. But He says to us–
you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you . . .
God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power . . .
He is worthy to receive wealth. But He says to us–
God, being rich in mercy, . . . made us alive together with Christ . . . and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. . . .
And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. . .
He is worthy to receive wisdom. But He says to us–
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
He is worthy to receive might. But He says to us–
[We pray you will be] strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might.
He is worthy to receive honor. But He says to us–
There is laid up . . . the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to . . . all who have loved His appearing.
I will give you the crown of life.
He is worthy to receive glory. But He says to us–
those whom he justified he also glorified.
He is worthy to receive blessing. But He says to us–
God . . . has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places . . .
Every single thing that the saints in Revelation say Jesus is worthy to receive has already been given to me. What can we say to this kind of love?
My friend, I am unworthy, and so are you. But this Savior– He loves me so much that He didn’t just give His life, He gave His very worth to me. He saw me in all my unworthiness and said, I love her anyway. I will give her everything I am.
This kind of grace, I am learning, growing to understand, is the only thing that can motivate a life of service to God. My fear can’t sustain me. My desire to earn favor can’t sustain me. Taking up my cross– this is too hard, too painful to be sustained by anything other than a growing, overwhelming understanding of the beautiful, unfathomable love of God for me. When I see and understand and know the love that has been lavished on me, what response can I possibly have but to pour myself out, small as I am?
By the mercies of God we present ourselves as living sacrifices, made holy and acceptable to God by the dying sacrifice of His Son— for this is our reasonable act of worship.
My worth, or my lack of worth– it doesn’t matter. In the end, all that matters is Jesus, Savior, the Lamb that was slain.