“I’m not worthy,” it’s one of the first things almost everyone in the Bible says when God chooses them to do something. Moses, Gideon, Isaiah, and many more all say it in one form or another. The Bible is full of stories of the weakest, youngest, or oldest being chosen by God. You would think that we would have gotten the point. Being chosen by God has nothing to do with being worthy.
Yet we still think it does. I remember so many times in prison men telling me they weren’t Christians yet because they hadn’t gotten their lives straightened out yet. As though Christians lives are perfect. People use worthiness as an excuse. I’m not sure where we get the idea that we have to have perfect sinless lives to serve God. Moses and David were both killers for goodness sake. Mary is about the only person in the Bible who doesn’t say she isn’t worthy, she simply asks “how”. It takes most of the Bible to get to that kind of obedience.
God intentionally picks people that we would never pick for His own reasons. One is so that people will see what is going on and know that it isn’t the person, but God working through them. But another is to teach us that He can work with anyone who is willing. He can work with you just as you are, the important thing is to be open.
So many Christians think that they have to be totally without sin. This legalistic approach to the gospel is dangerous. By following all the rules many people forget the weightier issues like mercy and forgiveness. Like the Pharisees they are blind to their own faults and think they are sinless. This creates very toxic people and abusive churches. Jesus says the tax collector’s prayer is better because he acknowledged his sinfulness, whereas the Pharisee’s prayer was full of pride.
Being a Christian is not about being without sin. It has never been about being worthy. Being a Christian is about acknowledging your faults, admitting you are a sinner and asking God for mercy. It’s humbling, but it shouldn’t be about guilt. It isn’t about going to hell. It’s just about seeing the truth. We are humans. We are screwed up, broken, and self-centered, and we always will be. We shouldn’t glory in it, but just recognize it and ask God to help us. Once you recognize your sin and acknowledge it to yourself and God, you will find a wonderful truth: God loves you anyway. He loves you even though you are a sinner, and He wants to work with you even though you aren’t “worthy”.