My Savior, a Worm?
Whitney Capps

"But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people." Psalms 22:6 (NIV)

One of my favorite books is Roy Hession's Calvary Road. In the last few days, one of my most oft-read passages from this book has come to mind. Probably because of the current state of my heart.

Here's the context: I'm struggling right now. My emotions are raw. My responses are harsh. My patience is tested. I am tired. Relationships that should bring comfort bring conflict and criticism. My flesh wants to plead my innocence and maintain my right to be annoyed. My will protests the conviction of the Holy Spirit. I will not bend "the proud, stiff-necked I," as Hession would say.

In Calvary Road, he writes a lot about brokenness. In my regularly-visited passage I'm asked to consider Christ:

"For this reason we are not likely to be broken except at the cross of
Jesus. The willingness of Jesus to be broken for us is the all-compelling motive
in our being broken too. We see Him willing to have not rights of His own,
willing to let men revile Him and not revile again, willing to let men tread on
Him and not retaliate or defend Himself. Above all, we see Him broken as He
meekly goes to Calvary to become men's scapegoat by bearing their sins in His
own body on the Tree. In a pathetic passage in a prophetic psalm, He says, 'I am
a worm, and no man' (Psalm 22:6).

Those who have been in tropical lands tell us that there is a big
difference between a snake and a worm, when you attempt to strike at them. The
snake rears itself up and hisses and tries to strike back—a true picture of
self. But a worm offers no resistance, it allows you to do what you like with
it, kick it or squash it under your heel—a picture of true brokenness. And Jesus
was willing to become just that for us—a worm and no man."

I am not fond of this passage. I prefer to think of Jesus as valiant, mighty and strong, even in death. In my struggle with picturing my crowned King as a worm, I argued with God about the accuracy of such a portrayal of Jesus. I protested. Surely Hession had overstepped and not balanced the greater message of the Word that ascribes Jesus the glory, honor and power due His Name.

In the midst of defending my Savior, the Risen One interrupted my thoughts and asked my heart: Do you defend My character or your arrogance? My darling daughter you rail against the idea of Me as a selfless worm while resting on My provision as a spotless lamb. Is it because you hate the idea that I ask you to be just as selfless, just as broken?

It was true. I don't hate the idea that Jesus is likened to a worm; I hate the conviction that I must submit like one as well. This dialogue with the Lord occurred nearly nine years ago during my first reading of Calvary Road. The Spirit brought it to my mind again today. So if you'll excuse me I've got to go dig out my copy and walk the path of brokenness. It's time to bend that "proud, stiff-necked I."

Father, forgive me for pleading my rights and innocence. I don't have rights, and I am certainly not innocent. Show me how to silence my mouth and soften my heart. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Find peace in everyday life here!

All I Need is Jesus & a Good Pair of Jeans by Susanna Foth Aughtmon

A Perfect Mess: Why You Don't Have to Worry About Being God Enough for God by Lisa Harper

Visit Whitney’s blog – Speak When Spoken Through

Think about one person in your life who would benefit by seeing you not strike back. Make a plan to minister to that individual today.

Application Steps:
Think about the difficult relationships in your life. Is your pride making these relationships more strained?

What would a worm-like reaction be to those who frustrate you?

Power Verses:
James 4:6-7, "But He gives more grace. Therefore it says, 'God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.' Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (ESV)

© 2009 by Whitney Capps. All rights reserved.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, or should I say ouch. This devotion hit home. I pray God will keep it fresh in my heart all day each day. I'm reminded of James 1:20 "The anger of man (or woman) does not achieve the righteousness of God" and yet I can't seem to remember it when I feel like I am in the right. Talk about stiff-necked — I can feel the pride well up in every cell of my body. Praise God, the Holiest of the Holy did not cry out for His rights on the road to Calvary. My Savior, a worm? Dear Father, thank you for using Whitney to help me grasp ALL that this truth means for me.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also was unable to picture my Savior as a worm. And I also have been struggling in a relationship being critical and harsh. This devotion really hit home. The prayer is particularly humbling. Thank you for these words, this day.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am also struggling with a reconcilliation of a broken relationship and this spoke to me as well. It is so hard not to want to give my side of the story to anyone that will listen. I think this comes from my unresolved anger. True forgiveness comes when I can humble myself and be broken as Christ was before the one that hurt me. I want to achieve righteousness to God not to others.

Blogger Unknown said...

This devotion is convicting. I've been reading "Christ the Controversialist," by John Stott. I am reminded that all too often I am like the scribes and Pharisees, not humble, justifying myself by my own standards, and not of those of the cross, of demanding my own rights, even at the cost of others. I forget my greatest debt, my greatest command is to to love my neighbor-period. Thanks for the message and your prayer.

Blogger Betty said...

Wow. I have never heard the worm/snake comparison before, especially as it relates to the Bible verse. Brokenness is what I need.

You are right Whitney, it's unpopular to want to think of Christ as a worm. As I read this in the beginning I thought, I'm not sure I want to read this because it makes me feel so uncomfotable. But as I read the devo to the end, I realized the reason for feeling uncomfortable was because my own pride has raised it's head at different times in my life. And that was because I was sticking to my rights above all else! OUCHY!!

I am sooooo thankful that my Savior, knows that I am but dust and keeps working on me and not giving up. I'm so thankful that He continues to pursue every area of my life that needs cleaned up so that I can continue to resemble more and more of the beautiful vessel He created me to be.

Thank you Whitney for being soooo real and vulnerable with us. What blessings God must have in store for you for obeying what He asked you to share with us.

Lee Ann

Anonymous Anonymous said...

your devoition spoke to me as well
i always want to defend my side too.
thanks for your words.................

Blogger Whitney said...

Dear friends,

Thank you so very much for your encouragement of my devotion. It was a deeply personal lesson for me-one I am still struggling with.

Let me clarify one concern that has been raised. I am aware that Psalm 22 is authored by David. However, some scholars assert that this reference can be applied to Christ in much the same way we use Isaiah 53 to describe Him.

But friends, even if you take issue with that particular verse as a description of Christ, I do believe most of His behavior in the New Testament speaks to His willingness to be broken for us. (See also Philippians 2:5-11.)

Over and over again, He could have asserted His rights. He certainly could have defended Himself. He alone has had the authority and freedom to do so. Yet, He remained silent. He never struck back. For Jesus it was divine restraint. For us, it is a sinful reflex.

Furthermore, let me be clear. This descriptor is no longer applicable to the Lord Jesus. He has been exalted by the Father. His position as worm was for an express period of time for the purpose of redemption. That work is complete to the glory of God. Praise God it is finished!

Oh to be broken like Jesus.

Finally, we are so grateful when thoughtful, diligent students of the Word question our intent or an interpretation of Scripture. At Proverbs 31, we are deeply passionate about the truthfulness of Scripture and an accurate application of it to our lives. Please know, we try not to ever let our egos react in frustration or anger to such scrutiny. How snake-like would that be? Thanks for loving us, and more importantly, loving the Word.

Blogger Elaine said...

Thanks Whitney for a very thoughtful and personal devotion. And thanks for the well written clarification you added in your comment. I love that you talked about the difference between how a snake and a worm react. My flesh wants to react like a snake, but the Spirit reminds me to endure without lashing out. It's still a choice and a struggle. Your words encouraged me today.

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