I find myself asking for forgiveness everyday; how do I ever get where I feel even worthy to work for the Lord?
– ET from Cleveland, TN
Who IS Worthy? (Part 1)
As I read your question I had a real tugging of my heart for you. I could feel your deep sincerity and love for the Lord and yet a frustration and sense of futility to ever see change in yourself to feel worthy to work for God.
I’m going to answer your question and say a bunch of stuff about our own worthiness versus his but all that is just words…blah, blah, blah, unless you have a heart change. You probably don’t need more information; you need a new view of yourself. That’s the real issue. But let’s begin and see if we can sort all this out.
I will start with a question to you: what are you asking for forgiveness about? Are you a drug dealer or into pornography or are you shoplifting or being unfaithful to your spouse? What actual sins are you committing that have you seeking forgiveness every day? If you are entrapped in any of these things or others I didn’t mention, you truly do need to confess daily and you need to seek God’s grace and help to stop.
BUT, if you are going through each day with a vague sense of what a crummy person you are and you see all your faults as disqualifiers for the works of ministry then that is a different story. My guess is that this second option is closer to the truth, right? People with gross sin don’t usually ask the question quite the way you did. You are bogged down with a general sense that nothing you do is right or good enough?
Let’s level the playing field. Isaiah 64:6 tells us we are all in the same place compared to God. “But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags.” We can start with that truth and see how the acceptance of it can work to our advantage, both in Satan’s accusations of us and in how we accuse ourselves.
Next: How to turn the tables using the truth
Speak the truth until the lie dies (Part 2)
Suppose you stop trying to fight your own unworthiness and come into agreement with it. Go ahead and admit it; it is true. You are unworthy as am I and every other person, even the so called great saints of God. Now here comes the other part of the truth that the devil doesn’t want you to know about: that does not disqualify you to work for the Lord.
Perhaps people in your past told you what a lousy person you were; maybe as a child you heard over and over how stupid you were or how ugly or how unattractive. As an adult you may have taken over for them and you tell yourself those things like a broken record. Okay, fine. Now I am going to give you a three letter word to counter with. The word is “BUT.”
For instance, when the old record begins to play in your mind, you say out loud: “That may be true, BUT because of Jesus I am a new creation; the old things in me have passed away and all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) Or, “Yes, BUT my mind is being renewed day by day and I have put on a new man created according to God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:23-24)
These are two small examples but you can go on with scripture after scripture. I’ll give you one more which specifically counters your worthiness issue. “BUT I am God’s workmanship and I was created in Christ Jesus for good works. God thought about this for me beforehand and I WILL walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10) Every time you read God’s Word, add to your arsenal of “BUTS.”
Two pieces of advice: say your “BUTS” out loud and counter your unworthy statements every single time they come up. Never let one slip by unchallenged; I promise you the lie will die faster that way. One more thing: understand that this is hard. So don’t give up in a day, a week or a month-not even a year. The time will come when you will triumph totally.
Next: Now start walking what you’re talking
Walk the talk (Part 3)
You asked; “how do I get where I feel worthy to work for the Lord.” The way you do that is to go ahead and do the work for the Lord first and let the feelings come later. Don’t let your feelings or lack of feelings stop you.
Have you ever heard the line where someone says; “I can’t do that because I’m scared”? The other person answers back with; “Okay, do it scared then.” See, you may have to do some things feeling unworthy for awhile but eventually, unworthiness will give way to a sense of accomplishment and the joy of contributing to God’s kingdom upon the earth.
You have definitely been given some ministry gifts because we all have them. They are deposited into us by the Holy Spirit and they will sit there until we make a withdrawal. Once we begin to use what God has designed us to use, something new happens in us. There is nothing like the feeling of operating in accord with God’s plan for us. It’s the greatest high there is; it feels “just right.”
Do you know what your gifts are? Start with those things that appeal to you, not those things you dread. If we simply love something or are drawn to it, it’s a good clue that is how we are gifted. Take a step to do what you do not yet feel worthy of and when success comes, a worthy feeling will probably follow.
I want to end with this prayer for you. Lord, use this wonderful person that you have created in wonderful ways. Let the reader be surprised and delighted with the work you have for them. Where they are inadequate, please fill in with your own adequacy. Where they falter, supply an abundance of your grace. Grant that they may hear these wonderful words at the end of life; well done thou good and faithful servant. Amen.