I’ve said it a thousand times before, “I’m not fit for this job.” Whether it be out loud to a trusted friend or in a prayer before the Lord, I’ve laid out all my inadequacies before God as if they really mattered to Him. I’ve told Him I am just an average girl without much to offer. I’ve told Him I am just a stay-at-home mom trying to make sure the laundry gets done each day. I’ve told Him I am not a great speaker and certainly not a great writer.
For crying out loud, I struggled with grammar so much in school that I would frequently write notes on my tests to my teacher telling him that the test wasn’t fair, hoping that in some way I would convince him to let some of my mistakes slip. The very fact that I even write Bible studies for women to use as a tool to study God’s Word is indeed a miracle. I’m really not qualified for this job, and I often use this as an excuse not to obey God or walk confidently in my calling.
You probably have your list, too. You know your inadequacies inside and out. After all, we are all our own worst critics! We know our faults, failures, and shortcomings to a tee. We know where we feel uncomfortable and what makes us nervous. We know all of these things, and we are quick to remind God of why we aren’t the right girl when He calls us to do something slightly outside of our comfort zone. I do this all the time.
In fact, it’s a daily struggle to step up to my calling in spite of how I may feel or my lack of qualifications. But I’ve learned that fervent love for God and willingness to obey trumps a well put together resumé. Just look through Scripture. Book after book, story after story, God chose the least likely people to make much of His great name. It is in this that I walk out my calling with fear and trembling, trusting that God can use me, insufficiencies and all. And He does the same for you.
He chose the ordinary, the weak, the outcast, the young, the small, the dependent, the former prostitutes and murderers, the doubters, the persecutors, and the ill-equipped. He chose those who doubted their ability but learned to trust in God’s ability. He chose those who knew full well that they weren’t qualified for the job. It’s the empty, weak, and dependent ones that are the most usable in the kingdom of God. These people are the greatest vessels for God’s glory to shine the brightest and shock the world with His grace. One example of this is the apostle Paul.
Paul was by all means the least likely candidate to be used for the kingdom. He went from being a persecutor of the church to being a preacher of Christ. When he was radically saved, believers were hesitant to even believe that he had been called by Christ (Acts 9:26-31). Imagine becoming a follower of Jesus and people seeing you more for your past than your present? Paul had infinite hurdles to overcome, but the power of Paul’s life and ministry was this: he didn’t allow his past history to define his present calling.
Once Christ redeemed him from his former life, he didn’t look back. His gaze was set on Jesus and his purpose was clear -- he was a minister of the gospel and what he had done before was washed by the blood of his Savior (Colossians 1:27). Paul didn’t bring excuses to the church or try to convince them that his past didn’t define him; he came with boldness in the calling of Christ.
In the book of Colossians, he opened up his letter with this introduction: “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother…” (verse 1) He didn’t say, “Paul, a former persecutor and sinner trying to get my act together…” or “Paul, an unqualified preacher and insufficient leader.” Paul embraced his new identity in Christ, knowing full well that he wasn’t fit for the job, but that Christ made him qualified. He was an apostle of Christ, and his identity in Christ is what fueled his mission daily.
The key was that he was an apostle, the key was that he was chosen to be in Christ by the will of God. It is God’s steadfast identity and love that transforms our past failures and present insecurities. This is where our calling and insufficiencies crash into each other and become spotlights for God’s glory. When God calls us to do something, absolutely nothing and no one can stand against it.
Paul’s life is the perfect reminder that God uses the least likely people to make much of His great name. The weak and dependent are the greatest candidates for His glory to be displayed. God doesn’t come to us and choose us based off of what we have done. He chooses us based off of what Jesus did on the cross.
What are your excuses you bring to God? What would it look like to lay these aside and walk in confidence that Christ has called you to be a minister of the Gospel and a proclaimer of truth?
If I were to lay aside my insecurities and truly embrace my calling in Christ, here is what my introduction would be:
Gretchen, a daughter of the King, an ambassador for Jesus Christ, and a shameless Truth teller…
I’m leaving behind all my excuses today, just like Paul, and grabbing hold of who I am in Christ, because Jesus made this possible through His death on the cross.
You aren’t disqualified from being used for the kingdom because of your past. God uses the least likely who are most aware of their need for Jesus to build His kingdom. Bring your needs before Him, lay them at the foot of the cross, and walk confidently in your calling today, knowing that He who called you is faithful, and it is His calling that matters.