Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Opponents of Grace: Unworthiness

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Galatians 5:1 NKJV

 We are continuing our study of the varied opponents of Grace. Again I say, Paul, admonished us to stand fast in this liberty if there were no opposition why the need to stand fast? These opponents will creep in subtly if we are unaware of the schemes of the enemy. When are forewarned of their methods and characteristics we are forearmed to quickly render them ineffective against us. 

Today, I want to expose yet another of these opponents. This particular adversary is hard to detect because often it masks itself in religious piety, humility, and worship towards God. This enemy appears to be so harmless. In reality, it is one of the greatest enemies of Grace. 

 I am speaking about unworthiness. Just go to some churches and listen to their worship songs. Listen to their prayers. 

"Oh Lord, we are so unworthy!"
"Please Lord come by here and visit us. We know we aren't worthy but we ask you to come fill this place."

 These prayers sound pious. They sound so spiritual. So humble. Yet all they are doing is reinforcing the low self-image and diminished worth before God concept so many hold onto to. Many will bring praise to God saying "God you alone are worthy."

 Is that the truth? Is God the only one worthy? That depends on the complete thought you're conveying. Allow me to elaborate. I can recall in elementary/grammar school as a young boy first hearing the definition of a sentence. A group of words that make up a complete thought. Aside from a grammar lesson what point am I making by bringing this up? Glad you asked.

 I want to pinpoint the concept of a complete thought. When we say He alone is worthy we are making an incomplete thought. Think, say I gathered ten men in a room and asked if all ten had their wallet in their back pocket. They all respond with an affirmative. What if I then pulled my wallet out of my pocket and stated I am the only one with a wallet, would that be a correct statement? Of course not.

 What if though, I knew that my wallet was the only green colored wallet among the bunch? I could then rightly say my wallet is the only green wallet. I hope you're tracking with me. When we are saying, God, you alone are worthy we are making an incomplete statement an incomplete thought. Why? Because in this New Covenant Christ has made us worthy.
You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy Revelation 3:4 NKJV

 Based upon the New Covenant, the Finished Work, the truth revealed in this passage, can we rightly say God is the only one worthy? No, because He has made all His children worthy. Now if we are making a complete thought we can say God alone is worthy. God alone is worthy...of all praise. He alone is worthy...of our adoration and love. He alone is worthy...to be called Lord of all. 

 I am not trying to split hairs or debate semantics but this opponent is so subtle we often dismiss it and its detrimental effect in our relationship with God. Our worth, our value, our self-image all will affect how we approach our good Father. 

 Take a look at the World system and all that people go through to be found worthy. To be accepted. Some will starve themselves, some will put up with much just to get ahead. 

 When the day is done, when the doors are closed, when the shades are drawn, when the lights go dim we are alone with our thoughts and we are confronted with how we really truly see ourselves. With no one there to impress, the masks fall away. We are forced to see ourselves. What do you see?

 Do you see a failure? Do you see a lazy, good-for-nothing, ne'er-do-well? Do you see a loser? Do you see a victim? Do you see a disappointment? Do you see one who is always letting people down? Do you see one who is unlovable? Do you see a reject? Do you see a nobody? 

 If we are honest, we all have seen ourselves at some point in our lives like the aforementioned. Often we just bury these feelings. Or we just ignore them when things get better in our circumstances. The enemy subtly reinforces these negatives through the prayers we pray and the worship we bring to our Father.

 The truth is it is not God-honoring worship to debase and diminish ourselves before our Father. God paid a high premium for our lives. He gave His only Son to ransom us from death and the enemy. Jesus and the Finished Work redeemed, restored and recreated us, righteous, holy, forgiven and totally accepted and cleansed. It's only true worship when we uplift and exalt with thanksgiving, our Father for what He's done in the New Creation and New Covenant.

 Prior to my own personal Grace Revolution, my Grace awakening, the Father opened my eyes. The Lord revealed this area of our worth in Christ. In fact, this truth of our worth in Christ is what brought me to a true understanding of salvation and relationship with my Father.

 Having been raised in the church, I heard the gospel and accepted Christ at a young age. Now I didn't capitalize Gospel like I usually do because the gospel I heard was only partially good news. Yes, Christ died for me but certainly, clauses were attached to salvation. Now I am not saying they outright said salvation is by Grace through Faith plus your works but that was the subtle message. 

 Often times the message in youth meetings was to stay away from "R" rated films and steer clear from that Rock and Roll music. All the while I was never shown the power of a relationship with our Father. I was never shown just how much He loved me. 

 Yet right before my Military service began, a Pastor named Stan had come on staff at the church my family attended. Stan was a nice fellow. Let me tell you the impact of his message. If it wasn't for Stan I am not sure if I would have really grown in my walk. 

 During the mid-week meetings, the church offered classes on different subjects. Just so happen Pastor Stan was teaching a class and I attended that night. It totally changed my life. He taught that God loved me. I mean sincerely loved me. That God doesn't invest in a flop, he doesn't make junk. In other words, Stan was teaching God's unconditional love, and how He saw me. For the first time in my life, I saw I had value in the sight of the Most High.

 This totally transformed my life. I saw I had value. I had worth. Nobody could take that away. I had a confidence birthed in me that has grown stronger the more I see just how worthy God has made me. 

  Stand fast in this Grace, especially against this subtle opponent of unworthiness. This enemy is constantly seeking to diminish our effectiveness in the Body of Christ. It causes us to look continually at our failures, our misdeeds, our sins, and shortcomings. 

 When we grasp the reality of the New Creation, our perfect righteousness, our total acceptance with our Father God this enemy will be broken off our lives. We eradicate these unworthy concepts in our thinking when we remind ourselves of His once for all sacrifice in the Finished Work, how His blood has cleansed us and made us holy once for all time.

 In summation, don't look for your approval, your acceptance, your value, or worth outside of Christ and His Finished Work. The World, the fleshly sensual thinking, and the enemy promises fame, fortune, and love but only leave you broken, beaten down and in misery. In Christ alone is found worth, love, and acceptance. His Grace and Finished Work made it all possible.   
 Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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