Worthiness is a subject worthy of study. Something that is worthy has merit or value. If we refer to a person as being worthy, he or she is meritorious, commendable, valuable, or deserving of respect.
We may say that something is a worthy cause, or that someone is worthy of their rank or title. We may also say something is not worth the money, time, or effort that people spend on it—or the trouble it may cause. We have idioms illustrating worth, such as “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” or “that isn’t worth the paper it is written on.” All of these speak to something being worthy—or not.
When it comes to people, we also determine their worthiness in many ways. Employers assess applicants for positions to determine if they have the qualifications (worthiness) necessary for the job—experience, education, training, demeanor, references, and other personal characteristics. For a Nobel prize, a Congressional Medal of Honor, an Oscar, an Emmy, a Lifetime Achievement Award, or other honor, someone assesses the worthiness of the candidates.
Fictional characters in stories, usually heroes or heroines, are often found to be worthy of some office, great reward, or honor. We can also think of real, biblical figures who were found to be worthy. Jesus Christ alone—the Lamb of God—is found worthy to open the seven seals, as described in Revelation 5. “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!” (v. 12).
But how about you? Are you worthy?
An interesting statement is included in Christ’s answer to His disciples’ question about the end of the age. His prophetic statements are followed by His admonition to “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36).
This chapter describes earthquakes, famines, pestilences, fearful sights, persecutions, great distress, captivity, and “men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth” (v. 26). Surely, we all would want to escape all these things!
Most would logically ask, “What makes one ‘worthy to escape’?” Christ made this statement to His disciples, so we also should be His disciples and follow His teachings to escape. Notice that Christ warned, “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth” (vv. 34–35).
So, we are instructed to pray (beseech, petition) to be counted worthy (deemed to be deserving) to escape (flee out) and to stand before (in the presence of) Jesus Christ.
The Apostle Paul told the Philippians, “Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ” (Philippians 1:27). He made similar statements in his epistles to the Thessalonians. He exhorted them to “walk worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory” (1 Thessalonians 2:12). He desired that they “may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God” (2 Thessalonians 1:5) and also said, “Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling” (v. 11). And Paul told the brethren in Colossae, “For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:9–10).
What is the truth worth, and how can you be accounted worthy to receive the prize (1 Corinthians 9:25)? You may find our booklet Twelve Keys to Answered Prayer helpful, as well as What Is a True Christian?