I have, for most of my life, suffered from the delusion that I'm good for nothing. Okay, so most of the time it wasn't "good for nothing", but certainly inferior. I've never been "best" at anything. At those rare moments when I started to think I wasn't completely worthless, something would happen to remind me that I was ... inferior. Fed by a faulty measure of "worth", I have often had to fight a tendency to think little of myself. It's an ongoing thing for me, and I'm sure I'm not alone in it.

God has some interesting things to say about folks like me.

For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God (1 Corinthians 1:26-29).

As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you," nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another (1 Corinthians 12:25).

I find these two passages interesting and helpful. First, note that they do not say, "Oh, stop thinking of yourself that way. It's not true!" On the contrary, the claim is that we are indeed the "foolish", the "weak", the "low". Even in the Body of Christ there are "unpresentable parts", parts that are "less honorable". I am fascinated by this because there are many times in my struggles with this problem that I think, "But ... I'm not being unreasonable. Much of how I view myself is wholly accurate." And God, here, is saying, "Yes, I have certainly called many foolish, weak, despicable, unpresentable people." Because telling a pig that he's a dove doesn't help the pig.

The other thing, though, is the conclusions God comes to regarding these "inferior" people. God uses them. He doesn't use them in spite of their inferiority. He uses them because of it. He uses the foolish to shame the wise, the powerless to shame the powerful, the weak to shame the strong. He uses parts of the Body of Christ deemed "less honorable" with greater honor. As Paul writes elsewhere, "He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me" (2 Corinthians 12:9). It is not simply in spite of weakness, but because of weakness that God is glorified in us. Therefore, it is not in spite of weakness, but because of weakness that Paul boasts, recognizing that the power of Christ is at work.

The fact is that many people are "inferior" by human standards. Denying it doesn't make it go away. Thanks be to God this isn't the final conclusion. The next fact is that God uses the weak, the foolish, the powerless, the unpresentable for His greater glory. It's not about us. It's about Him. In these people God's greater work can be seen and, in these, God's greater glory is shown. And that's always a good thing, not "good for nothing".