Right here in the crowd is someone you do not recognize. Though his ministry follows mine, I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandal.” John 1:26-17 NLT
John said, ‘I’m not even worthy to be [the Messiah’s] slave.’ Unworthiness has so many faces. Only one is righteous, the others are not. Yet, for any of us who have suffered with toxic unworthiness, we can agree that it feels like a holy thing. Satan makes sure of that.
Isaac Watts wrote the words, ‘For such a worm as I” when he composed the hymn, At The Cross. Was he celebrating the glory of Christ as he penned them or was he consumed by his own unworthiness? Reading the rest of the lyrics reveals that it was the first.
Shame is supposed to be healed in the arms of a great Savior. Perfect love melts all guilt and shame and if we were to see Jesus today and bask in the affection of His beating heart, we would be immersed in joy. I don’t believe unworthiness would have the last word.
Satan is out to destroy the joy of our salvation. If he can’t keep us from believing and following Jesus, then he’ll keep us from the fuel that will give us our joy. God’s love. He’ll twist scriptures to cause us to believe that we didn’t deserve to be chosen. And, we didn’t deserve to be forgiven even more! Unworthiness leads to self-hatred. Any of us who have knelt at the feet of Jesus, never feeling like we could raise our heads out of the dirt, missed the joy of basking in the eyes of Love.
What about yesterday’s mistakes? What about yesterday’s sin? Don’t these disqualify and prove unworthiness? Not in heaven’s economy. Love confers unconditional affection. Love paid the price for the sin that God has already put out of sight. Love lifts our head out of the dirt. Love grants new mercies every morning. Love celebrates the future. Love does not remind us of unworthiness. Our worship does that but it’s fleeting because it’s all in the context of celebration. What does humility mixed with joyful confidence sound like?
Lord, you are so great, so holy. I am sinful but oh, I am loved. I am unworthy, yes, but You made me worthy. I’m a dancer, not a wallower. Amen