"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:15

Sunday, October 28, 2007

I am a worm.

Do not be afraid, O worm Jacob, O little Israel, for I myself will help you," declares the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. --Isaiah 41:14

Here is the truth. I am a sinner, a coward, a liar, a cheater. I can be cruel and inconsiderate. I have hurt people I love, (indeed, those I love most) and I continue to do so. I fail and fall, and sometimes I am scared to even try getting up again. I am little. Even more then little, I am a worm.

Yet for some reason,...Christ died and rose again for the sake of humanity so that anyone who believes and calls on his name might be in relationship with him from now and until forever. This is a paradox to me. Why does the LORD desire to redeem a worm?

Matt Chandler, one of my favorite preachers, shared this verse in his message on Oct 21 (hear it at thevillagechurch.net). He talks about "the Cult of Self-esteem" the idea that "you are good, I am good, and the answer to all our woes is feeling better about ourselves and attaching Jesus name to it."

He claims there are two messages "one that says you are worthless and in need of a savior and the other one says you are so worthy, you got a savior."

Matt gives some character examples from scripture. here is a few of them.

Abraham referred to himself as dust and ashes,

John said he was not worthy of touching Christ's sandals.

Peter, as he fell to the feet of Christ said, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful wicked man."

Paul said that he is the foremost of sinners.

Notice that God doesn't respond to these men. He doesn't ever say, "Don't talk about yourself in that way." or, "I created you. You are far greater then dust and ashes in my eyes."

This sermon intrigued me, and at the same time, bothered me. I think sometimes we forget how insignificant we are in comparison to our Creator. I think at other times, we compare ourselves to the next guy, and think we are doing pretty well...only to be reminded that no one is righteous...no not one. We are all totally helpless, and 100% unworthy.

But, I am left with questions.

Are we really worthless? I am bothered to hear this said. If so, why does God send his only son to save people of no worth? We must have worth for God to willingly give up so much for our sake. God does not need us. But I believe he wants us. if we have worth for no other reason, we have worth in that the God of the universe desires to redeem us and have relationship with us. He created us in his image. When we are saved, as Matt Chandler would say, our value is in the fact that we bear evidence to God's grace.

We have nothing we can give to God that he hasn't already given us. Our worth is not in our own strength or in our own being, but in the one who made us.

I cannot praise God for the great man I am, because,...I'm not. I can praise him for the great God he is, and that he loves me despite my lowly state.

I am a worm. Yes, that is true. But I am a worm that God desires to redeem. Thank you Lord.