My son introduced me to a new term last week – worm theology. I had never heard this term below, so I googled it. I guess it’s been around for a while and it generally means having a very low view of oneself, believing that if we take on this “worm” mentality God will be more compassionate or merciful towards us. According to worm theology, we are to view ourselves as unworthy, undeserving, unfit and justly contemptible. We are nothing and deserve nothing. Worm theology is thought to be the same as humility. And this is how many Christians live – “wormy” – shoulders slumped, head bowed, shuffling through life, just another sinner barely able to lift our wormy head towards our Great and Majestic God.
I don’t think Christians should subscribe to this worm theology concept, but there is a place for it. Let me explain. Before we come to Christ, before we are saved, when we are in our “natural” state, we are, in fact, dead in our sin, enemies of God, slaves of unrighteousness, unworthy, unable to save ourselves, without merit to earn God’s love or grace. It’s a pretty bleak picture. Yes, we are worm-ish. And yet God looked upon sinful Man and chose to send His Son to save us. Even as worms, the Just One died for the unjust, the Sinless One died for the sinner. It can properly be said that we were sinners saved by Grace. If there is a time to apply wormly thinking it would be then – at our pre-Christian state.
But once saved by grace, a miracle happens in the life of this newly-minted Christian. The formerly wormy sinner is re-created as a child of God. A new creature has come into existence, one that reflects the image of God, a residence for the Holy Spirit. This new creature is called a saint – holy and set apart – a partaker in the divine nature. This new creature is promised glory in the future and freedom in the present. This new creature is guided, instructed, corrected and called into a wonderful life of Kingdom work by the King. It seems to me that such a creature is not a worm! And to view ourselves as worms is an affront to the work Christ as wrought in us.
Now let me be clear. It is completely appropriate to look back to our pre-Christ days and stand, or kneel, in awe that God saved wretches like us. His grace is amazing and undeserved. But we shouldn’t stay there. Instead we should stand, or kneel, in awe of what God did with this wretch. Look at the transformation! I am no longer a worm. I am a son! If that isn’t enough to cause us to worship our Father, I don’t know what is. Humility isn’t about constantly beating ourselves down. Humility is simply continually acknowledging that God did it all.
So dear Christian brother and sister, cast off your worm theology. Reject the false humility of worm-ish thinking and put on the “new man” formed by the Holy Spirit and being transformed into the image of Christ. That is how the Father sees you. That is how you can see yourself.