“Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road;
make me a fork
, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.” - Jim Elliot

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Totally Inadequate, Again...

I had the opportunity to teach on Abigail this morning. I thank you for your prayers.

This is a re-post from December 3, 2008. It brought me comfort today.

Totally Inadequate

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.
Always be prepared to give an answer
to everyone who asks you
to give the reason for the hope that you have.
But do this with gentleness and respect,

keeping a clear conscience,
so that those who speak maliciously
against your good behavior in Christ
may be ashamed of their slander.
1 Peter 3:14-16

I was having a java fix with a dear sister yesterday. She was distraught. She was berating herself because she didn't feel that she gave an adequate "answer" to a gal who had asked her, "Why should Christians pray if God knows everything ahead of time? What does it matter? If He knows someone is going to die... why pray?"

My dear sister is a solid and mature Christian woman. A well-put together lady who is successful in her business and life. Generous with her time and resources. Hangs out with God daily. A good and trusted friend to many.

But she felt that she missed the opportunity to witness to her acquaintance. She didn't have the "answer" that she felt was persuasive enough to win this gal to Christ. Surely, as a godly mature Christian woman... she should have a prepared Christian "answer" to give... She felt she had "blown it"...

I came across this verse as I was reading today's devotion in My Utmost for His Highest.
I immediately forwarded it to my dear sister.

You'll remember, friends,
that when I first came to you
to let you in on God's master stroke,
I didn't try to impress you with polished speeches
and the latest philosophy.
I deliberately kept it plain and simple:
first Jesus and who he is;
then Jesus and what he did—Jesus crucified.

I was unsure of how to go about this,
and felt totally inadequate
I was scared to death, if you want the truth of it—
and so nothing I said
could have impressed you or anyone else.
But the Message came through anyway.
God's Spirit and God's power did it,
which made it clear that
your life of faith is a response to God's power,
not to some fancy mental or emotional footwork
by me or anyone else.
1 Corinthians 2:1-5 The Message

This is the apostle Paul talking... unsure... totally inadequate... scared to death... yet he celebrated his weakness... because it gave God room to do the work. He didn't want to persuade anyone by his "answers"... He wanted it to be clear that "God's power did it."

My dear sisters! How often I am guilty of this same offense! "Oh, if I only would have said this or that my friend would be saved. If only I would have spoken to that person in the grocery line. If only I would have spoken more clearly... If only I would have been prepared!"

Oh, how we need to remember... we just need to keep it "plain and simple"... Because when we start blaming ourselves for the loss of a soul, we're denying the power of the Holy Spirit to do the work.

Yet we should truly always be prepared... and how do we do that? "In your hearts set Christ apart as Lord." We need to know Christ. We need to know and believe and have faith in Christ. Not ourselves, but Christ... and Christ crucified.


Deborah said...

Such wise words. I love the way The Message just says it so plain and simple. He can use our weakness. That's an amazing thought. Thanks for sharing. I off to read about Abigail now. I haven't had a chance yet.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

I've had these occasions, when I really didn't know what to say, but felt compelled to say something nonetheless. Frustrating moments indeed, especially when it comes to questions of pain and suffering and questions without answers. I find it hard to believe that Paul struggled with his perceived inadequacies, but as a former persecutor of the church, I imagine he had plenty of days feeling unworthy of the calling that he received.

I love Paul. He's the real deal. I don't always fully understand what he's talking about in his many letters, but I value them as God breathed and useful for my Christian walk.

Thanks for checking in Sheri. I'm really enjoying my blog hopping tonight...kind of like a cup of java with a friend, but not quite.

Happy Sabbath rest to you.