I finally figured out that feeling unworthy comes about from two distinct and separate mindsets. One is good to have, the other is bad. To begin, I will introduce these two separate types of unworthiness. Take notice as to which one you relate to the most.
#1. Unworthy because I lower myself to a wrongful place
Let me explain what is happening in scenario #1:
In this position you are a sinner, and your head is turned downward toward yourself. Your own sin is resulting in guilt. The guilt acts as a weight. It lowers you and lowers you. From down there, everything about your view looks miserable and hopeless. You look up but can’t even see past the cloud that sin has spread over you. You recognize that God is up there somewhere, but you don’t see his grace, just his holiness. Your attention is not on what He has done for you, but rather on yourself.
#2. Unworthy because I uphold God to his rightful place
Let me explain what is happening in scenario #2:
In this position you are a sinner, but your head is turned upward toward God. You have given your guilt from your own sin to Jesus Christ, and it floats away freely. His grace lifts your spirit higher and higher. From up there, you can clearly see God in all His glory and splendor. You look up and his cross stands before you, reminding you that your sin has been paid for and you now stand in the presence of the Holy God. You recognize that God is living inside you, and you feel his grace in spite of His holiness. Your attention is on what He has done and Who He is.
Where Do You Stand?
Which of those did you relate to the most? Scenario #1 or scenario #2? Have you recognized both at some point in your life? Is one foreign to you, and the other very real?
Perhaps you have the feeling of inadequacy and are about to give up. Many of you are feeling hopeless because you can’t seem to rise to that level of righteousness you envision you should be at. That’s certainly not God’s intent.
Being worthy doesn’t happen when you reach that illustrious point of perfection or overcome a struggle. However, being unworthy does happen when you lose focus of your stance before Jesus Christ.
Basically I have spent my life thinking there was only one kind of unworthy feeling. It felt low and dirty, muddied with sin and regret. It felt like I was of no value and my life was unimportant. It wasn’t humility, it was less than that; it was unworthiness.
It was me who was shutting off my life from the source, God. Rather than standing still and seeing the salvation of the Lord, I ran away.
Comments on Scenario #1
False Unworthiness Keeping You Down
I’m going to level with you. Some of you are not taking that teaching opportunity at church because you are feeling unworthy. Many of you guys are not pursuing that young lady that’s been on your mind because you are feeling unworthy. Some of you are not getting that better job because you are feeling unworthy. Does your past sin affect your decision not to pursue a relationship, teach a lesson, be outgoing, do mission work, or take an opportunity?
Comments on Scenario #2
It creates healthy relationships with others
In a relationship it is esteeming the other better while holding them to a high respect. It says nothing of lowering ourselves below the table, but rather viewing yourself as an undeserving suitor to a prince or princess.
It eliminates low self esteem.
You may have medium self esteem, but not low or high. Just like we cannot be higher than the cross, we cannot be lower.
This actually helps you overcome perpetual sin.
If you struggle with a particular sin, and you are in a vicious cycle of sin and forgiveness, a level perspective at the cross can greatly help. If each time you allow the guilt to push you away from God, then gradually it will get easier to sin because you are gradually pushing away from the presence of God and your head will hang low.
“Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” –Isaiah 56:1-2
It gives you correct viewing angles.
If you run and cling to the cross every time you sin, even if you feel like that’s all you do anymore, be of good cheer — you are at least in the right place. The term “keep your chin up” is more than attitude. It is a direction of vision. Don’t allow yourself to look down on yourself and be discouraged by your sinful nature. Look up, and see the arms of God. Sure, you are still on the earth and facing battles constantly, but your eyes are on God.
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. -II Corinthians 5:2
The Correct Way To Be Unworthy
The correct way to be unworthy is to recognize your sin and accept God’s forgiveness. It requires humility, but only because of the respect and reverence you have for God. It is not a self condemning “humility.” It is an unworthiness that motivates you to bring others into the Kingdom to experience the joy of salvation.
Let me say it clearly: the ground is level at the foot of the cross. Being down in the pits of self is a choice; lowering your head is a choice. Being in the presence of God is a choice; raising your head is a choice.
What connotation does your unworthiness have? Negative or Positive?