You are worthy

Most of us at some time in our lives, face a sense of unworthiness. Sometimes it is a feeling which has determined our outlook on the world.

Vide Wayne’s World – I am not worthy

How is our worthiness determined? Is our worth determined by the way the world determines worth?

The world determines that our job sets our worthiness – a surgeon is worthier than a rubbish collector (until there is a rubbish collector’s strike and we re-evaluate their worth as the mountains of rubbish pile up)

The world determines our worth depending on whether we have a job or not.

The world determines our worth by whether a woman stays home to look after the children or joins the workforce.  Is not child raising work?

The world determines that our academic qualifications set our worthiness – a university degree rather than a high school leaving certificate. And academic job versus a trades job.

The world determines that our gender sets our worthiness. A lot of talk recently about the glass ceiling for females in management.

 

The world determines that our race sets our worthiness –hopefully that Eurocentric valuation of other races no longer exists, but I fear it still does have a life underground.

The world determines that our possessions set our worthiness – driving a Jag instead of a Holden.

The world determines that body shape sets our worthiness.

The world determines that our ability/disability sets our worth.

Even in church, I often hear the plea “I am not worthy”.  “I am not worthy to be loved by God...” “ If only God knew what I am really like…”

And if you think that, you are not alone:

John the Baptist said about Jesus:

Luke 3:16 John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

The Centurion on asking Jesus to heal his servant:

 

Matthew 8:5 When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, appealing to him 6 and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, in terrible distress.” 7 And he said to him, “I will come and cure him.” 8 The centurion answered, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant will be healed.

Think of the parable of the prodigal son which is an analogy for us and God.

Luke 15:19 & 21  I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands.”… Then the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

Against the purity of God, we are not worthy except that God makes us worthy.

But how does God determine our worthiness?

First and foremost, Scripture says we are loved so much that Jesus died so that we can have permanent fellowship with him.  We are worth that much.

John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Romans 5:8 But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Ephesians 2:4-9 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 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 1 Peter 1:18-19 … you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.

God finds us so worthy that he sent his Son Jesus to die for us, to ransom us from our sinful ways, to restore us to the full image of God that he placed within us and restored us to our rightful pre-Fall place of walking with God.

Agape is a love lavished on others without a thought whether they are worthy or not. It proceeds from the nature of the lover, not from any attractiveness in the beloved. (Leon Morris)[1]

Our worth is determined by the love of God for us.

Secondly, the world says that we are a cosmic accident and merely an organism which climbed higher up the evolutionary tree but that is not how God determines our worth

God said to himself at the time of creation (Genesis 1:26) Then God said, "Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." No other creature is made in his image.

And he created us individually Psalm 139:13-16 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

 

 

Your worth is not determined by whether your mother or father wanted you; it is not determined by whether you are told you were a mistake or the result of a one-night stand.

Your worth is determined because God chose to make you in his image and he deliberately built you.

Ephesians 2:10 says For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Do not let others determine your worth by their estimation of your place in the society pecking order.

Matthew 10:31 Fear not … you are of more value than many sparrows.

Thirdly, not only did God create you, he also declares that you are perfect and beautiful

Genesis 1:27 & 31 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them…and God looked upon all that He had made, and indeed, it was very good.

Everything erlse was declared good, we were declared very good but also that we are beautiful

Song of Solomon 4:7 You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.

The passage is addressed to the bride by her suitor. We are that bride. You are that bride.

That particular verse is for anyone who has been judged by their body shape, or hair colour, or apparent imperfection (in the world’s estimation): you are altogether beautiful and there is no flaw in you.

Fourthly, God is so proud of you.

Many of you have tattoos (I don’t like pain, so I don’t have one), and all of your tattoos are significant to you. They mean something, whether it is an elephant in the case of Donna’s children and grandchildren in memory of her, or a cross signifying their faith.

Moeroa has the names of her children tattooed on the sides of her fingers.  Well, so does God.

Isaiah 49:15-16 “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.

God loves you so much that your name is tattooed on his hand.  You cannot get much worthier than that.

Fifth, we hold a place of esteem in God’s estimation of our worthiness

1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

We are a chosen by God, we are set aside by him as holy, we are his possession.

That is written for us as a group (as Christians) but it is also personalised to you singular. If it applies to us as a group, it applies to you as a person.

I could go on and on with how worthy God sees you. These verses of scripture just touch the surface of the depth of love that God has for you.

So, when you are the subject of someone measuring your worthiness or lack of worthiness in their eye through the words of judgement from some hurtful person who cannot see because of the log in their own eye remember these verses.

When you are subject to the clobbering machines of the system and society, remember these verses.

And remember that Scripture also says Romans 8:1ff There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.

The Bible alone determines our worth and unlike Wayne’s World, we are found to be worthy of the love of God.

But as Paul reminded the Philippians (and I remind you) Philippians 1:27 Only, live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent and hear about you, I will know that you are standing firm in one spirit, striving side by side with one mind for the faith of the gospel, 28 and are in no way intimidated by your opponents.

That plea is a common theme in Paul’s letters and I also commend to you

Colossians 1:9ff … we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God.

Live out your worthiness and let that estimation of God about you shine out into the world which loves to clobber us into conformity and into their mould.

Let that estimation of your worth from God’s eyes transform how you act and react, so that you may grow in Christ likeness. Remembering always that we are a work in progress.

Let your light shine into the dark world of conformity, and let your light attract others to find out why you are worthy when you don’t meet the world criteria for worthiness.

 

 



[1] Murray Robertson the meaning of worship 60