Estimated reading time: 5 minutes:-)
Have you ever realized how unworthy we are?
Recently, I’ve felt super convicted by what John the Baptist says in John 3:30 ~ “He (Jesus) must become greater; I must become less.”
You know a good way to know you’re bad at becoming less? If you automatically don’t think you’re bad at it.
I think there’s a point in your relationship with Jesus when you realize just how incredibly unworthy and awful you are, and it hits you like a ton of bricks. I had that moment probably a month ago, and it has changed my relationship with Jesus ever since. Not in a bad way. I’ve felt closer to Jesus than I ever have been. But geez, it’s awful.
One day, probably late July, I was driving home from Bible study when it hit me: I’m a truly awful person. It’s one thing to intellectually understand that. I’ve always sort of grasped the concept that I’m sinful by reading the Bible and spending time with God. I knew, I knew how sinful and depraved and needy I was. But it was all head knowledge. It hadn’t hit my heart yet.
Driving home that night, it hit my heart. Almost out of the blue. And I just completely broke down because I was so utterly disgusted with myself.
I’m telling you, you don’t have to be doing all the “really bad” sins like sleeping around and doing drugs or whatever is considered “really bad” these days to have it hit you. In fact, one of the things that broke my heart the most was how incredibly wrong I was to believe I was a “good kid.” That belief has its roots in pride and arrogance, some of the darkest, deadliest sins. That belief has its roots in a darker place than where drug addiction and alcoholism and sexual impurity ooze from.
I was disgusted with myself. Repulsed. I always pray out loud, but for an entire week, I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t bring myself to even speak to God because I realized how lowly I am.
And okay, I don’t want to share my experience over the last month to make you feel like you’re behind or something. If you haven’t truly grasped your sinfulness yet, it doesn’t mean you’re any less of a Christian. If the gospel doesn’t get you in your feels right now, that doesn’t mean you’re any less. Good grief, if emotions dictated how close we are to Jesus, I would be terrified. Because our faith is more than feelings; it is built on the solid foundation of truth. So please, don’t compare yourself, because we are all at different places, and we’re all growing at the pace God is guiding us in. His timing is perfect.
And that’s the thing. I didn’t force myself to understand how sinful I am. Trust me, I’ve tried. I’ve tried to sit down and force my eyes to produce tears because I know I should feel convicted when I read the gospel.
But this moment, it was all God. God brought me to a place of complete, utter disgust with myself. I know that sounds strange, but it was like He opened my eyes to myself.
And then, probably a week later, there was grace.
And let me tell you, if my sinfulness hit me like a ton of bricks, grace hit me like a ton of elephants (sorry bad analogy elephants were the first heavy thing that came to mind).
Never before had I felt so overwhelmed by the gospel. So utterly astonished. It felt new all over again.
Recently, I joined a young adults group at a local church. And the first night we went there, they suggested we knelt while we worshipped. So me and my best friend knelt, and it felt like the right place to be. Not big and wide open, drawing attention to ourselves (although no judgement to those who worship like that!). But small and humbled at the foot of the cross.
“He must become greater; I must become less.”
Have you ever stopped and thought about this:
It’s not just amazing that God loves us. It’s a freaking miracle. It’s crazy. Why would God, the Maker of the universe, all-knowing and all-encompassing, completely and utterly satisfied and perfect by Himself, choose to love us?
Why, why would He die to save us? When He knows we will curse His name? When He knows we’ll hurt each other and kill each other and hurt ourselves and scream at Him and let every thought in our mind be tainted with sin? When He knows how incredibly lost we are without Him?
Why would He love you?
And yet He does.
Let me tell you, I haven’t stopped feeling disgusted with myself since that night. But God is cultivating something beautiful from it. Like a flower sprouts from filthy dirt and compost, so my relationship with Him has blossomed from my sinfulness and my need for Him.
I’ll use a boat to paint this picture that I’m still learning to understand myself:
When we try to stay afloat ourselves, we sink.
When we try to patch up our lives with bandaids and promise everything is “fine,” when we desperately want to feel secure in ourselves so we resort to pride, when we feel uncomfortable confronting our sinfulness so we delve into more sin to avoid discomfort–we poke more holes in our boat than were there before.
But when we surrender our “boat” to God, He won’t let us sink.
He walked on water, after all;-)
When we let go of the oars and realize we only make things worse, He comforts us. When we understand the boat isn’t the problem, it’s us, He shows compassion. When we confess our sins and fall at His feet, begging for forgiveness through the blood of Jesus, He. saves. us.
We are so unworthy. Don’t be swayed by the cute messages on the covers of journals with a few Bible verses printed on the bottom of each page. You are not worthy.
But Jesus is worthy.
And when we believe in Him, when we are children of God, God no longer sees our unworthiness. He sees Jesus.
That’s what makes you worthy. Not your own goodness. Not your own confidence. Not your own belief in self love and empowerment. You are unworthy with these things. Only the blood of Jesus makes us worthy. Only under His grace.
“He must become greater; I must become less.”
Listen to this song and dwell on the lyrics. Here are some of my favorite lines:
“Allow me to introduce myself again
I’m the love you used to think could not exist
I’m as sure as where you’re standing and as free as the wind
You don’t have to reach for me, ’cause this is where I am.”
Jesus knows you. And He still loves you. That’s crazy. Read that again.