Being in church, we (or at least I) have always been told I don’t deserve anything and that only God’s grace keeps me up every day. I have been reminded of this several times and try to utilize it to make me humble. I’ll try to be brief and as candid as possible but… how am I to pray if I am so undeserving?
Yes, I know Jesus reached out to sinners more than anyone else, but what do we sinners pray about? Am I deserving enough to everyday pray for others’ help? Is it vanity that makes me pray to better myself everyday? Let’s say I have the blackest soul alive; what do I actually deserve to do? What am I allowed to pray for? Would working out and wearing makeup hurt God as vanity? Would determination to do my very best at work and school (fully aware that I’m doing it to get a good job financially) hurt God as greed? Would never cursing out loud once in my life and acting the caring person when I have had inner monologues of foul language and can’t seem to ever help judging every single person I meet and know every day hurt God as hypocrisy?
Basically, if I know I don’t deserve the life I live and shouldn’t deserve it, how can I live it?
It is true that we have all sinned and don’t deserve to go to heaven (Rom 3:23), but what you are talking about is more than just being undeserving; you are saying that everyone is totally depraved, and even when we do good things, it is all just a sham. The idea that we are all deeply and totally depraved and don’t have a single shred of goodness in us is not from the Bible; it is a teaching called ‘Calvinism’. Calvinism teaches that you are born sinful and always are sinful and that nothing you can do is ever good enough – this is not true. After all, God made us in His image… that is a good thing! Sin is something that you do, not something that you are. Sin does separate us from God, and Christ’s blood is a gift that gives us a chance to be reunited with the Father. We could never earn what Christ has given us, but that doesn’t mean that in your heart of hearts, you are a bad person. Christ specifically came to save those people that wished to be good but still made bad choices. Paul dealt with this inner struggle that faithful people have as they fight the battle against the flesh in Rom 7:22-25. People aren’t born inherently bad at the core – we choose to want evil or to want good. Calvinism is wrong, and we recommend you read the article “Calvin And Sobs” for a complete breakdown of this false teaching that has befuddled quite a lot of good people.