When you’re feeling illegitimate

Illegitimate [adjective, noun il-i-jit-uh-mit; verb il-i-jit-uh-meyt]


  1. Not legitimate; not sanctioned by law or custom: an illegitimate child
  2. Unlawful; illegal: an illegitimate action
  3. Irregular; not in good usage
  4. Obsolete


  1. A person recognized or looked upon as illegitimate


  1. To declare illegitimate

Do you ever feel that way? Do you ever feel like you’re not legit? Like other people in your same role(s) in life are more legitimate than you?

Sometimes I don’t feel like the real deal. Sometimes if a church shopper visits Grace and then opts for another church or pastor, I think, “Makes sense—that other pastor is probably a truer pastor than me.”

Isn’t it a bummer to feel that way? It’s also a dangerous way to feel, because to the degree that we feel illegitimate, we will try to find legitimacy. And if we aren’t careful we can go to illegitimate places to legitimize our legitimacy. Make sense?

If I don’t feel legitimate I can look to my talents or accomplishments to extract a sense of value or worth. If I doubt the legitimacy of God’s work in my life, I can move outside of my relationship with Him to try to authenticate my life, and those are almost always dangerous moves. We can never find legitimacy illegitimately. There is no external award, degree, or accolade that can forever heal our soul’s deep need for legitimacy. Legitimacy comes from our heavenly father.

And Jesus knows all about this.

He encouraged me the other day when I was having a “poor me, I don’t feel legit” kind of a day. I realized that Jesus lived His entire life under the banner of illegitimacy.

  • People questioned the legitimacy of His birth.
  • When He assumed His role as Savior of the world, people mocked him asking, “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son?”
  • He was seldom recognized for who He really was…and yet in a world that screamed “illegitimate” Jesus modeled true Sonship.

He knows how you feel, and if you’ll look to Him and follow Him, He will heal the haunting echoes in your soul. You. Are. Legitimate.

3 thoughts on “When you’re feeling illegitimate

  1. Excellent and thanks Chris. And BTW….speaking as an old man who’s been around a few years, you’re by far the best pastor and congregation leader I’ve ever had the honor of knowing and being exposed to. You never cease to amaze me and I can’t express enough how much I value you and the good you bring to this world. Love you brother.

  2. Amen! As a child of God, we are the ‘real deal’, not a counterfeit copy, but made in His image. We forget that so often and the enemy seeks to hide that from us as he places doubt around us to trip over.

    “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” – Genesis 1:27

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