No one should consider himself as worthy before the Lord. For His lovingkindness and faithfulness toward us shows we have received more than we deserve and expected. Our works cannot make us worthy before Him, but the realization of who we are before Him allows Him to treat us as worthy. Often church-goers consider various works as a bridge to receiving His kindness. It is further from the truth. When they perform works not considering His will toward them, they build up self-righteousness and deceive their inner man to treat themselves as worthy before Him. Hence, when they sin, and sin carelessly, they expect Him to inevitably forgive them and that too without consequences. If His kindness is by works, the question ‘how many works’ will always be impossible to answer. To consider ourselves unworthy before Him for all that He has done is the right approach, unless we do it in pretense. It is true humility. Our weaknesses, mistakes and iniquities are too much to consider ourselves as worthy before Him. He too makes us realize it by continually forgiving us by sanctification as we turn to Him.
It is when we begin to realize that we are unworthy before God that He begins to bless us in many ways. We see that His kindness and faithfulness in keeping His covenant is far superior than our devotion to Him. Jacob realized it and was blessed. Then he said, “I am unworthy of all the lovingkindness and of all the faithfulness which You have shown to Your servant; for with my staff only I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two companies” (Gen. 32:10). He was not a perfect man; he made mistakes. He found out the reason God blessed Him. He realized there was nothing in him that made him prosperous, except for the kindness and faithfulness of God. For this reason, having the promise or covenant of God is utterly essential for us as believers; for by it He works toward us. He makes promises in order to show kindness in mercy. Thus, blessings flow from Him. Jacob became two companies.
So, if being blessed by God is not based on our works, how can we realize we are unworthy before Him? The Word of God gives fine principles, and when we accept and observe them, we realize it.
1. Know God’s mind. This is the foremost principle that many tend to avoid. They rather consider works as impetus to receiving His kindness. For a while it appears to the rest that they are indeed being blessed for their ways. But their trueness will be known in time, as their works lack God’s blessing. They often reap failures and are found out by the excuses they give for it. Not all works are trivial; for there are works we must do by the will of God, and our faith in Him helps identify them. When we have it, we can certainly show zeal to know His mind. “They said to him, ‘Inquire of God, please, that we may know whether our way on which we are going will be prosperous’” (Jud. 18:5). By the good consequence that comes from His response we realize our unworthiness before Him.
2. Forego iniquities. Those who desire to be blessed by God will quickly adopt this principle. In the days of Ezra and Nehemiah many among Israel did it. It pleased God. They forewent the relationships which were not right in His sight. “All these had married foreign wives, and some of them had wives by whom they had children” (Ezra 10:44). As they received forgiveness and were accepted by God for honor, they knew how unworthy they were before Him. We too ought to forego any sin lingering in us, even a relationship if it is abominable in God’s sight. The consequences of giving up on sin will enlighten us of our unworthiness before Him.
3. Be grateful to God. Thanking the Lord over and over for all His goodness to us is one of the best ways to see how unworthy we are to receive His kindness. The often we are grateful to Him the often we are humble before Him. The point behind considering ourselves unworthy before Him is to become humble, i.e. know our true state, and be thankful. For all the things He has done had He not done them there would be a number of other things that could have happened. The Psalmist was able to envision those things by the kindness received and said, “Give thanks to the God of heaven, for His lovingkindness is everlasting” (Ps. 136:26). Once God has chosen us He will never forego His lovingkindness toward us. If we need restoring, He uses His ways and shows lovingkindness.
4. Take hold of God’s resolution. This is the resolution He made. “‘I will not hide My face from them any longer, for I will have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,’ declares the Lord GOD” (Ezek. 39:29). If all believers do it, there would not be the many faiths. The Holy Spirit in us is the key to realize our worth before God. He leads us in ways that leaves with no choice, but to see the generosity of God toward us. He teaches us about God and His choice of us. He shows us His will through the gravity of our faith. If He does not do these, we will certainly see the wrath of the Adversary just as the world around us. Once God made the resolution to pour out His Spirit on us, He does not change it under any circumstance; for there is no circumstance that can change His mind. His Spirit makes us the children of faith so that we know that which we do is right.
5. Walk the way of abundance. It is known from the words of Jesus. “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much” (Luke 16:10). As God begins to appoint to us many things, we perceive how worthy He has made us before Him. Many things bring us many blessings. Again, when we see some lose even the little things He appointed to them, we understand the difficulty in being worthy before Him. Overall, we realize that it is by being faithful to that which He appoints that an unworthy one is made worthy before Him; because in patience He begins with smaller things.
6. Listen to God’s Word. The more enthusiastic we are for what He has to say the more kindness we receive. Many shun from that which He says by assuming them as trivial or because they appear difficult to them. Yet, those things are the building blocks to walk rightly before Him and to receive abundantly from Him. When they do not receive, they begin to do works by their own ways thinking to have pleased Him. God stops guiding them and turns to those who heartily listen. The substance of it is seen in the words of Paul. “Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will also listen” (Acts 28:28). The simple teachings God gives fetch us the honor we never had.