We all know that our God, just by being himself, let alone such an amazing Self, is worthy of more praise, more love, more trust, more obedience than we will ever be able to give. He’s worthy!
But I was surprised to discover that according to the Bible we’re obliged to live worthy lives more often than God is said to be worthy of our praise. We’re to be worthy followers of a worthy God!
To peruse a few of the passages…
There’s a certain lifestyle that is worthy of the King and his Kingdom. It involves pleasing him, bearing fruit to nourish others for his glory, and constantly deepening our experiential knowledge of him:
…so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, Colossians 1:10
…encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory. 1 Thessalonians 2:12
… so that you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. 2 Thessalonians 1:5
We have to set our sights on living worthy of the gospel, worthy of our calling, and worthy of his invitation to participate in his kingdom:
I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Ephesians 4:1
Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Philippians 1:27
With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling… 2 Thessalonians 1:11
Praying a “sinners prayer” and attending Sunday services won’t gain us access to the “age to come.” We have to be, in some sense, considered worthy to enter and take part in its benefits:
But those who are considered worthy of taking part in the age to come and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, Luke 20:35
Lastly, it’s only cross-bearing Christians that are worthy of him. (Remember, wearing a cross around your neck is not exactly what he calls “taking up your cross.” Crosses are for dying, not for decorating.):
“Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” Matthew 10:38
Don’t let the term “worthy” as it applies to our personal effort to please God throw you off. It should be obvious that we aren’t worthy in a transactional sense, as though we earned our way into his friendship and kingdom.
There’s nothing we can do to be worthy of grace. That’s whole nature of grace, right? Grace is grace because it can’t be earned. Salvation and its benefits are undeserved presents. Our natural worthiness is as repulsive as dirty rags, but when we repentantly believe he dresses us in clean clothes and calls us sons and daughters!
He accepts us “as is.” The thing is, he doesn’t plan on leaving us that way! He expects us to be, empowers us to be, in some sense, “worthy.” What he prescribes has nothing to do with earning or deserving, but rather a worthy response to the deserving God who earned it all for us and works it all into our broken-down souls.
We’re not worthy to be called his sons and daughters, but now that we are we are obligated to act in a way that befits the name! Be worthy.