Over the past month, Justin and I have spent time praying, planning, and preparing to come into this new year with vision and resolve. Despite feeling more prepared than I have in the past, I find myself overwhelmed with one feeling: I’m inadequate.
I know who I am. How can God ever use me? I’m all too aware of my status as a broken sinner. As a mom of 5 kids, one of them being our almost adopted foster daughter, I’ve learned that children have a way of bringing out your flaws and I find myself struggling daily with impatience, anger and selfishness.
Then there are those lies that Satan tries to make us believe about Chosen Gen:
“Aren’t there so many more qualified people to fight for the next generation?”
“Do you really think you can make a difference when there are so many factors pulling the young people away from Christ?”
“What makes you qualified to talk about the Bible?”
Without realizing it, these inadequacies quickly take me out of the fight before I’ve even started. “There are so many people more qualified and eloquent than me who would be so much better suited to rise up and live boldly for God.”
Satan will whisper the same ugly lies in your ears too.
But, if there is one thing God has taught me over the years, it is that nothing has more power over these lies than God’s Word. When I’m plagued by discouragement and feelings of inadequacy I go to the Truth.
So what does the TRUTH tell me?
1. It’s true! I am inadequate.
I’m a broken sinner who spends half the day praising God and telling him how much I want to live for him and the other half repenting for how much I miss the mark!
For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do— this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. - Romans 7:18-20
2. My shortcomings are no surprise to my all-knowing God. We are all inadequate and he wants to use us anyway.
Moses tried the whole, “I’m not qualified for the job you’ve given me Lord” excuse. And what did God have to say?
Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”
The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” - Exodus 4:10-12
If God chose only perfectly qualified people, then we’d all have the excuse to sit in our homes and never do anything. But, he didn’t. He entrusted twelve ordinary men to take his world-changing Gospel to the entire world. Yet, Jesus goes further; he has called ALL of us, his followers, to go make disciples.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” - Matthew 28:18-20
There is no condition clarifying that this command only applies to the outgoing, confident, seminary-trained pastor. This is a command to unqualified me, to you, to all believers! And, just like with Moses, God doesn’t want to hear our excuses for why we are unusable.
3. Our inadequacies are opportunities for God to receive the glory.
This is an amazing truth! Not only does God use us despite our shortcomings, but he also turns them around and uses them to bring him glory. Paul talks about this very thing when he explains his struggle with the “thorn in his flesh” that God allowed him to have.
But 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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. - 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
When imperfect, broken sinners humbly step out in faith, then they don’t get the glory, God does! The neat thing is that God does the hard work of changing hearts and winning battles! Our job is merely to go where he calls us. I don't know about you, but that sure takes the pressure off the need to be perfect.
4. If we allow our inadequacies to keep us from following Christ into the mission field, there are consequences.
I’ve heard it said that there is no plan B in God’s plan to bring the hope of the Gospel to the world. Jesus entrusted you and I with the command to go make disciples. If we aren’t going, then the lost aren’t hearing. Sometimes we need to remember this truth. Eternity is real and each day countless people stand before God, not ready to face him.
We are living in a spiritual battle and the stakes are high. The young people in our homes, in our churches, in our schools, and in our communities need us. They don’t just need to hear us teach them what the Bible says. They need to see us living it out in every area of our life. They need to see that we have a genuine urgency to tell the lost the good news of Jesus. They need to see that we are flawed and inadequate, but that we aren’t afraid to ask for forgiveness, to seek God’s help, and to allow him to use us anyway. They need to see that knowing Jesus doesn’t just change how we spend one hour each Sunday, but it impacts the way we live every single day we’ve been given.
Let’s not waste any more time sitting around focused on how we don’t measure up. The time is short; the mission is clear. Let’s go, inadequacies in all, trusting God to be God. Trusting that he has a plan to work even in our weaknesses. Because the truth is that God can do more than we could ever ask or imagine through his power and for his glory!
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. – Ephesians 3:20-21