December 4, 2006

I challenged them & God challenged me

The women in my class responded well to yesterday’s challenge. They agreed that one bad apple affected the credibility of all Christians, and that we could do far better in the area of personal obedience. What amazed me is how the verses that they randomly selected from a pile of cards suited each individual—including me.

I should have known that I would be convicted too. My table of three had three verses. Not just mine, but all three nailed me in areas of weakness. Like the others, I felt so inadequate to make a difference in my own sphere of influence, never mind in the world.

Jesus has an odd way of comforting feelings of inadequacy. If it were me trying to console a child who says, “I can’t do it” or another adult, I would say, “You can do this” or some variation thereof, but the Lord doesn’t give that advice.

This morning’s reading from 1 Corinthians 1 says, “You see . . . not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.”

Of course you can’t do it. God didn’t call capable people to be His disciples. Being weak and inadequate is just exactly what He wants from you!

It goes on, “But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—that, as it is written, ‘He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.’”

He does not tell me that I can do it, nor reassure me of my gifts and abilities. Instead He points me to the source of all goodness and virtue. All that I need is found in Jesus Christ. It is the “abide in Me” principle again. Without Him, I can do nothing.

Yesterday’s class put before me a challenge and a germ of an idea which I’m willing to try, but up front, God is throwing me a caution; this is not for me to tackle apart from Him. While the Bible says, “In Him I can do all things,” I won’t be able to do it without being glued to Jesus. The idea is His and only in His wisdom and strength will it amount to anything.

For some this might be a simple principle, but for proud, independent, self-confident me, it is a constant and difficult lesson to learn.

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