How often do we feel inadequate and un-equipped in our walk with God? How often do we feel like we lack what we need to be a “good Christian”? Whether it’s self-control, knowledge, compassion, etc.?
So often we look at ourselves and we think things like:
“I can’t break that bad habit.”
“I’ll always be this way.”
“I can’t share the gospel with her… I am not good with words.”
“I can’t do ______ because I’m not brave enough.”
“I can’t lead a small group or Bible study because I don’t have enough knowledge about the Bible.”
“I keep failing at living the way God wants me to live.”
We look at ourselves and our shortcomings glaringly stare us right in the face. They seem to stick out like a sore thumb, and become all that we can see about ourselves. They cripple us, making us think that we are not good enough to live a life that boldly serves and glorifies God.
But that is not at all how the Lord wants us to feel. And that is not at all what we see in Scripture.
I have kept coming back to 1 Corinthians 1:5-9 the past few days, and several parts stand out.
Let’s read it together.
“For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge— God thus confirming our testimony about Christ among you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:5-9 NIV
The first part that stands out is “For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge.”
So many people think they are not equipped to things for the Lord, especially share the gospel or disciple someone. They think only pastors or people in ministry or “super Christians” are equipped to do that. They feel like they wouldn’t have the right words. They feel like they don’t have all the answers. They feel like they would just screw it all up. And guess what? Left on our own, that is probably all true. But God enriches us. Enrich is defined as “to improve or enhance the quality or value of.” And that’s what God does. He improves and enhances our speech and knowledge. So often I hear from people who have shared the gospel with someone, and they say that they don’t even know what they said because God just spoke through them, and the words just flowed out. And that’s because He takes the little we have to offer and enriches it, using it to accomplish His plans and purposes.
The next part that stands out is “you do not lack any spiritual gifts.” Now, this passage of Scripture was written not to an individual, but to a group of people. So if I am interpreting it correctly, Paul was saying that the Corinthian church (the group he was writing to) did not lack any spiritual gifts as a body of believers. I do not believe he was saying that every single individual had every single spiritual gift (that would not align with what he says in Romans 12:6-8). And so, I also do not believe that we individually are given every single gift. HOWEVER, I do firmly believe that God equips us for what He calls us to. Which includes giving us the spiritual gifts needed. So if he is calling you to teach a Bible study or class, He will give you the gift of teaching. If He is calling you to serve the homeless in your community, He will give you the gift of serving. If He is calling you to come alongside and encourage someone in a difficult situation, He will give you the gift of encouragement.
You see friends, He does not just leave us hanging when it comes to following Him. Yes, on our own we can’t do it. We can’t break that sin habit. We can’t disciple and train up our children. We can’t afford to pay for that adoption. We can’t share the gospel with our next door neighbor. We don’t have the strength to foster a child and then let them go. We can’t daily take up our cross and follow Him. But that brings me to the next pieces of Scripture: “He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful…”
On our own, we are broken and sinful, lacking what we need to live in God’s ways. But He equips us. He keeps us firm. He enriches us.
He is faithful.
May you remember these unchanging truths on the days when your shortcomings threaten to overwhelm you.
Founder of The Bigger Picture Project