“God is God. Because he is God, He is worthy of my trust and obedience. I will find rest nowhere but in His holy will that is unspeakably beyond my largest notions of what He is up to.”
“I will pray to the Lord, who is worthy to be praised (2 Sam. 22:4).”
Have you ever thought about this simple question: Who and/or what decides what something or someone is worth? For instance, how is an original Picasso, oil on canvas painting, somehow now in today’s art world worth upwards of $12,000,000.00? Who decided that price? Surely with the passing of time it became more valuable due to its rare nature and historic significance. But it certainly didn’t start out at $12,000,000.00 when Picasso first painted it. And who decided Picasso’s style of painting would make him “Rockstar Status” famous in the art world? Or did he one day just say, “I’m gonna paint a bunch of weird looking things, convince everybody of their significance in this moment in history, and in so doing, I will be one of the most famous painters the world has ever known.” Pretty unlikely, don’t you think?
Our society is absolutely transfixed on the idea of worth, specifically when it comes to the individual. It seems as though all we hear now is, “Love yourself, have better self-worth, high self-esteem, not low-self-esteem/self-pity, have self-confidence, self-assurance, do whatever makes you feel good about yourself cause you’re worth it.” SELF…SELF…SELF…SELF…SELF! Aaaaaaaaaaagh…STOP IT ALREADY!!! It’s not all about you. It’s NEVER been all about you! And it certainly hasn’t been all about me either.
Worth doesn’t somehow magically come from inside of us. I don’t care what the world tells you, you CANNOT gain higher self-esteem just by “loving yourself” more. You can’t simply will yourself into satisfaction and happiness. We may be able to cover up our darkness, sorrow, trials, and disillusion for a time. But that’s just what it is, a cover-up. The issues we face will still be there, whether we try to will them away or not. Why? Because they are deeply rooted heart issues that long to be satisfied. And try as we might, we are powerless to satisfy them ourselves.
Being worthy comes from a source that is completely outside of ourselves. It comes from the Creator of worth from the beginning of time; God the Father. You see, for our lives to make any kind of sense, we must have a healthy understanding of God’s worth. Listen to this:
“Sing to the Lord, all the earth; proclaim His salvation day after day. Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous deeds among all people. For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise. Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name (1 Chr. 16:23-25a, 28-29).”
Only when we comprehend His worthiness of our prayers, praise, petitions, and intercessions will we step outside of ourselves and delight to be in His presence. As the Lord begins to unfold this character of Himself to us, the only response we are convinced to have is trust and obedience to Him. It is Christ Jesus’ finished work on the cross, His ultimate sacrifice of love toward us, that we have any worth at all. He is the One who is worthy (Matt. 6:9). And through His worth, He bestows His worthiness on those who believe in His name.
There is a beautiful introductory phrase/transliteration in the Jewish prayer of sh’vah that reads: Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha’olam. Translated this means, “Blessed/ Worthy are You O Lord our God, King of the Universe…” Say what you will about Jewish theology, but I find this traditional opening of prayer to be humbling and beautifully insightful. It is on God’s holy character that we find the answers to our deepest longings and can go to Him with our most intimate praises and requests.
Prayer: “Our Lord and God, You are worthy to receive glory and honor and power, because you have created all things, and because of Your will they exist and were created (Rev. 4:11).”
Clayton J. Elliott
Director of Pastoral Ministries and Prayer, KMUSA