So often I find myself tying my worth to other things. Trying to validate my worth not only in my own eyes, but in the eyes of my God, and in the eyes of others. But Jesus calls us to rest from this exhausting, joy-sapping pursuit. Jesus is worthy. So what is going on here? What is at the heart of this “worthy pursuit”? Is it a control issue? Might these two things, namely “worthiness” and “control,” have a connection? Might the connection be revealed in a line of thinking that says, “I am worthy only in so much as I can control something.” In the realm of eating it sounds like this: I am worthy only if I can stop purging. Or, I am worthy only if I can control my weight. Or, I am worthy if I can control what I eat. Having set in place my own definition of “worth,” I then use these things to validate and “allow” myself to act worthy. Examples of this might be, “If I can do those things, then I am worthy of my husband.”
Or, how about in the realm of child-rearing: It might sound like this, I am worthy only if my children are obedient.
In the realm of motherhood it might sound like this, I am worthy only if I can run a household well, homeschool all my children and contribute towards our finances within the perimeters of home. I am worthy if I can push out my baby without an epidural (which thankfully only happened to me once by accident).
Or in the realm of medicine, I am only worthy if I can deal with my depression and anxiety without medical assistance.
If I can do those things, then I am worthy of bringing something of value to the world and can myself, be seen as valuable. Interestingly enough, the very things we look to to make us worthy turn upon us with the intent to kill, becoming the very idols we have thought we have dodged. And we are left with pride and boasting.
Why do we desire to control our worth. Why is this appealing? Why is this so tantalizing as we watch and listen to the world’s best attempts to bring worth to ourselves. Everything the world defines as worthy will fall short at the sound of Revelation 5:2-3…none are worthy. There is only One who has been found worthy. And because of this we can release our hands on our self-made “worthy-dial.” Christ’s blood has eternally turned that dial, and nothing in our day-to-day lives makes it swing back.
When we feel unworthy, let us look to Christ. We must vigorously keep watch over our gaze as our thoughts again and again find themselves heading into the dangerous street. This example is extremely real to me at the moment as our 19 month old, who prefers to run than walk, requires the “sucide watch” every moment we are outside. Not only does the street beacon and call to his tiny self, but our driveway has a slant that rushes any and everyone towards the street. My older children know that they are not allowed to open the garage door until I have my shoes on. My constant response to my older children’s constant question of “Can we open the garage door now?” is “Does mommy have her shoes on yet?” Because inevitably, as soon as that garage door opens, the delighted, cooped up little body of my 19 month old, starts fleeing down the driveway. He must enjoy the thrill of not knowing whether his feet will manage to keep up with his body, hurried on by gravity, plunging into the street below him. Of course, he tends to be looking back as he hastens his descent to the street, knowing I am just one step behind him. For the remainder of our time outside, I simply position myself at the bottom, always ready and never surprised. The world is handing out “worthy-certificates” right and left…in the street. And we must always be ready, and never surprised when we find our hearts wanting to get ahold of the shiny, golden-lined certificate … and then run over by a bus.
When we fixate on and celebrate the worthiness of Christ we find ourselves kept from the brink of death and freed to walk as those very people who are worthy of the calling to which we have been called. Yes, the nitty-gritty still needs to be hashed out. Yes, there is room for discussion of habits and strategies. But our source from which these things flow has to be the rock of our salvation. All other motivators, all other worthy barometers will eventually rust, crumble, and fade or leave us dead on the street. There is only One who is worthy to keep us worthy, now and forevermore. His name is Jesus.
“Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?”
i.e. “Who has conquered sin and death?”