The idea of feeling or being unworthy is a thief disguised as humility in the Christian life. I have seen too many believers share how they are unworthy and undeserving of the good things of God. It sounds like a nice idea, that God is so amazing (which He is) and humans are more like worms crawling around in the dirt. There are popular sayings such as “I’m just a beggar in the presence of a King” and “I’m just a sinner saved by grace.” They sound nice. It sounds like something a humble Christian would say to honor God. In reality saying or believing such greatly undermines who people are.
Let’s be clear, you are not deserving of anything because of what you do or did. You are worthy because of who you are. You are deserving because you are a human being, created in the very image of God Himself. You are not God, you are created in His image and His likeness. True humility is not thinking you are less than, humility is thinking of yourself less often than other people.
The devil has been attacking our identity since the beginning and won’t stop anytime soon. The story of the two sons in Luke 15 is a great description of how God sees us, and the consequences we face when we live in unworthiness instead of our true identity as Christians.
19and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.” 20 “And he arose and came to his father. Butwhen he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.21And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants,‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet.23And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry;24for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.
25“Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing.26So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant.27And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’
28“But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him.29 So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends.30 But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’
31“And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.32It was right that we should make merry and be glad,for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’ ” Luke 15:19-32
As the first son decides to return to his father, he says two times that he isn’t worthy to be a son, he would be happy just being a servant. He would be content just to have enough food. As the son tells the father that he isn’t worthy the Bible says “But the father.” The father doesn’t even acknowledge when his son attempts to downplay who he is. The father doesn’t condemn him or agree with his feeling of unworthiness. Instead the father does everything to show the son his love and that he is a son, worthy of being treated as such. The father gives the son the best robe available, taking off the messy clothes from his past, clothing him with love and righteousness. The father also gives the son a ring, representing the authority the son has. He gives the son new sandals, giving the son access to walk in the worthiness that comes with sonship.
Now take a look at the second son, who also carries the unworthiness. At the end of the passage the father explains to his other son that he has always been in his house, and that everything the father owns is available to him. The second son is upset because he is seeing the father’s goodness which he never experienced himself. The second son refused to celebrate, and instead projected his own unworthiness on his brother. The father pleads with his son, begging to show his son how much he loves him, desperate to explain to his son that he is worthy. The second son is an unfortunate example of how many Christians act today. People can go to church and have a relationship with God, while at the same time not enjoy anything good that God has to offer because of unworthiness.
If you have been dealing with unworthiness as I did for a long time there is hope. First off know that you are worthy of being a son or daughter of God. Even when we were living in sin God saw us to be worth the price of Jesus suffering and dying on a cross (Romans 5:8). My unworthiness felt like a huge wound that I had to let God heal. Dealing with unworthiness was not an overnight change. It took time. I had to let God change how I saw myself. I had to seek God. I had to read the Bible and gain an understanding of how He saw me. I had to let the Holy Spirit minister to me personally. I had to shut down the enemy when he said I’m not enough, or that I’m not doing enough. If you’re struggling with this be encouraged that there is hope to change the way you see yourself. You can see yourself just as God sees you- worthy.
Bible verses to read if you’re feeling unworthy
“For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.” Hebrews 10:14
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
“For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,” Colossians 1:13
“But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.” Revelation 3:4-5