Dear Salvation Army, You’re Not Worthy…

unworthyYou’re not worthy of the world’s acclaim.
You’re not worthy of the world’s standards in regards to human perfections.
You’re not worthy of worldly successes.
Nor are you worthy of all of the riches the world offers.

Why do I say these things today?
What is the point?  – To offend?
– To make one feel inferior?
– To hurt one’s feelings?

No, the point is that the world’s standards; the way the world looks at you and me, and judges us is unfortunate but real.  We will never live up to the expectations and judgments of the world, dear soldier.  We have chosen to be set apart for God.  We have decided, no matter how hard it might be, to follow His lead and not the world’s.  We are not worthy in the world’s eyes.  We will never be as successful or rich or beautiful…it is pointless pursuit…and yet we constantly compare ourselves by the world’s standards.   Girls become objects to manipulate and judge; boys become judged and prodded at…the world wants our youth to grow up too quickly.  And despite all of these conditions, none of us is worthy, none of us truly “make the cut”.

Dear Soldier, Dear Christian, Dear follower of Christ…we were never worthy in the world’s eyes, but God in his unconditional love and grace makes us worthy in His eyes.

Let me share with you a writing by Henri J.M. Nouwen to better illustration what I mean today.  It is from his book “The return of the prodigal son”, in it he writes this:

home“To whom do I belong? To God  or to the world?”  Many of my daily preoccupations suggest that I belong more to the world than to God.  A little criticism makes me angry, and a little rejection makes me depress.  A little praise raises my spirits, and a little success excites me.  It takes very little to raise me up or thrust me down.  Often I am like a small boat on the ocean, completely at the mercy of its waves.  All the time and energy I spend in keeping some kind of balance and preventing myself from being tipped over and drowning shows that my life is mostly a struggle for survival: not a holy struggle, but an anxious struggle resulting from the mistaken idea that it is the world that defines me. 

As Long as I keep running about asking: “Do you love me? Do you really love me?” I give all power to the voices of the world and put myself in bondage because the world is filled with “ifs.”  The world says” “yes, I love you if you are good-looking, intelligent, and wealthy.  I love you if you have a good education, a good job, and good connections.  I love you if produce much, sell much, and buy much.”  There are endless “ifs” hidden in the world’s love.  These “ifs” enslave me, since it is impossible to respond adequately to all of them.  The world’s love is and always will be conditional.  As long as I keep looking for my true self in the world of conditional love, I will remain “hooked” to the world – trying, failing, and trying again.  It is a world that fosters addictions because what it offers cannot satisfy the deepest craving of my heart.”  (p.42, The Return of the Prodigal Son”, Nouwen)

Questions to consider today: 
How many times have we run back to the world for approval?
How many times have we forgotten that God already loves us unconditionally?
Why do we constantly run back seeking acceptance?
Are we addicted to the glory that the world offers to us?

In all honesty the words of Nouwen ring true in my heart as well…does it ring true in yours?
I need to run back to the Father daily.
I need to confess my wayward desires.
I am hopelessly lost in a world that does not truly love me…but God does.
I pray that we run back to Him; that we remain in His presence.
May we pursue righteousness instead of worldly fame, holiness instead of riches and success, salvation instead of the lusts of the heart.

Something more for all of us to ponder today.
To God be the glory!

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