It never ceases to amaze me how, when God chooses theme to concentrate my study on, the topic bubbles up everywhere I turn. I am part of the Church, God’s people, and He says we are One with Him and with each other; therefore, it should be no surprise that He would be teaching others the same thing He is teaching me. We need to grow up in Christ together.
Lately, the theme has been worth. I had the privilege of speaking at a ladies retreat last weekend, and the message was about what it looks like to go deeper with God. We can’t go deeper if we don’t believe Him, and the consistent thing I have seen women struggle to believe over the past 24 years of ministry is that they are valuable to God. Instead, the lies of the enemy and temptation to compare ourselves to others creates a barrier between the spiritual truths we find in the Bible and the hard shell of our vulnerable hearts. We have to stop focusing on our worth and grow in our awe and wonder of who God is. When He becomes our everything, and we recognize His worth, the world and its allure fades away. We understand our worth was settled when Jesus gave His very life for us to be able to stand in His presence, and we become what we behold in Him.
God’s truth is reality, no matter what people choose to believe. Truth doesn’t change. Reality doesn’t change.
Not one week later, I sat with the women from my church and we watched an episode of The Chosen series, and we discussed questions from the workbook. The topic was “Worthy, Not Worthy,” and we discussed how the different people Jesus called may have seen themselves in the wrestle of how to answer Jesus’ invitation. The chapter concluded:
“We’re valuable to God because He made us and loves us. We’re valuable because He says we are, and His Word is the be-all-end-all. But He calls us to himself because of who He is, not because we are worthy–which actually means we can be confident in our calling since it’s based on His goodness, His forgiveness, and His grace (just to name a few).”
Again, it comes back to who God is. When we answer Jesus’ call with a “Yes,” He makes us worthy. “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me,” (Galations 2:20). When we sing “Let the Beauty of Jesus be Seen in Me,” it is not because we strive to be Christ-like, but because of the reality that Christ lives in us, and if we are going deeper with God in His Word and yielding to Him, others see Him–not us trying to be like Him. His character seeps into our DNA.
When we think we are worthy on our own, we are prideful. And when we refuse to believe that our worth is settled in Christ, we are still prideful. It isn’t about us. Reading Acts 5 really drove this home for me. The apostles were put on trial for teaching in Jesus’ name, but could not be convinced to cease and desist. “We must obey God rather than men,” Peter told them. The religious leaders were so furious with the apostles that they wanted to kill them. If Jesus was really the Christ, then they were guilty of murdering an innocent man rather than punishing a criminal. They would have none of it; but Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, cautioned them that it was unprecedented that a leader had been killed and his followers were still growing. Normally, when a leader is killed, the movement dies out and the followers scatter. He told them to be careful lest they find that the one they were opposing was God himself. They flogged the apostles before letting them go, and…
(GET THIS) the apostles rejoiced that they had been counted WORTHY to suffer shame for HIS name.
“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ… For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him,” (Philippians 1:27, 29).
Granted to suffer. Worthy to suffer.
Oswald Chambers talks about getting rid of all the informality with which we approach God… taking off our “religious shoes” to stand on holy ground… really know Jesus. Kris Vallotton has made the statement that the arguments of the world have no power over one who has experienced Jesus.
Do you know of Him? Or do you know Him.
If it is ever granted to us to suffer for Christ’s worth, we have to truly know who it is that lives in us. We cannot question worthy, not worthy. He suffered for us because He was and is and forevermore shall be worthy. His Spirit in us is worthy and He will never change.