Recently I had the special opportunity to lead a seminar to some young ladies at our youth conference. It was a great privilege to talk to them about their worth in the Lord and their equality in the local church.
One of the concepts that we covered was the difference between worthlessness and unworthiness. I believe that this is something that every believer needs to grasp and hold onto if they are going to be effective for the Lord in their lives.
At the end of the fourth verse of the wonderful old hymn “Beneath the Cross of Jesus”, it says:
And from my smitten heart, with tears,
Two wonders I confess,
The wonders of His glorious love,
And my own worthlessness.
I absolutely love this hymn. One of my all time favorites! And the poetry contrasting the love of the Lord Jesus for me and my own inability to love Him as I should is profound.
However, as much as I prefer to keep the original wording of the hymns, I was thankful when our assembly changed the last line to “And my unworthiness”. Why?
God doesn’t create anything worthless
God would never have humbled Himself and come down in human form for worthless creatures. In fact, God would never even create worthless anything. And if you want to argue that sin is what caused our worthlessness, I still contend that He never would have died for something worthless. Why would He?
Our intrinsic value comes from being created in the image of God. This is what gives us eternal value in His eyes. Each one of us bears the mark of our Creator and this alone gives us worth.
Value versus merit
So what is the real difference between the two concepts? Worth has to do with value; worthiness has to do with merit, or what someone has earned.
Let’s say I was to run a 5k (I can hear my friends laughing now). If I was to actually win that race, I would be worthy of the medal that is awarded to the winner. If I came in second place, I would be just as unworthy to win that medal as the person that is sitting at home binging on potato chips.
I simply didn’t earn it. I would be unworthy to win that prize. Worthiness has to do with what has been earned.
Created in God’s image
Worth has to do with a person’s value. Does a homeless person who sleeps under a bridge have less worth than you or I? Absolutely not! They have been created in the image of Almighty God!
He loves and values each living soul the same, whether they are locked up in prison or at the height of power somewhere. Sure, He has more intimate relationships with those who love Him back, but that has nothing to do with worth.
Because you are worth it!
Are all of us unworthy of God’s love? Absolutely. None of us could ever measure up or earn His love within our own power or efforts. It is only because of the cross that we have become co-heirs with Christ and have been reconciled to God. This is goose bump stuff! God sent His only Son for me. Because I’m worth it.
It is time to grasp onto this and hold on tightly! So many times Satan reminds us of past sin and failures (or even ongoing ones) and we feel worthless and defeated and unusable by the Lord.
Don’t go by what you feel. Go by what you KNOW! (1 John 1:9) Who are you going to believe? The Lord who loves you, or the enemy of your soul? Not really a tough choice, is it?