Thursday, September 8, 2016

Unqualified? Ephesians 3:1-13

Here's the facts. I often go through my life feeling completely unqualified to do the things that I am doing. Writing a blog? Unqualified. Writing a book? Definitely unqualified. Teaching my children? Totally and completely unqualified failure. Being a mom or a good wife or a friend? Nope. Keeping chickens alive? Probably not. Making a yummy dinner for my family? Huh-uh.

And if I'm being honest, I find that those words are being whispered in my brain over and over again. "You aren't a jogger. You'll never be able to do this. You'll never keep up with your son. I can't believe he puts up with this slowness."

And that is not healthy. I'm determined to change the internal dialogue. But every now and then, I can hear the whispers starting back up. And then I read this:

"This is my life work: helping people understand and respond to this Message. It came as a sheer gift to me, a real surprise, God handling all the details. When it came to presenting the Message to people who had no background in God’s way, I was the least qualified of any of the available Christians. God saw to it that I was equipped, but you can be sure that it had nothing to do with my natural abilities." (3:7-8)

Here's this guy that we all look up to now. It's Paul. I mean, come on. He wrote over half of the New Testament of the BIBLE people. The Bible! He was imprisoned for Jesus more times than I think we even know. He traveled from church to church teaching the good news, encouraging new Christians, and helping believers understand God's message. And yet, when it came down to it, he felt unqualified.

Guess what? He was. Totally. He was a Christian KILLER until Jesus found him. He was a Pharisee! He followed the laws to the T and forget a personal relationship! Who needed Jesus?

But then it all changed and he knew who needed Jesus. Not just him, but everyone. And so he did a total 180 and started preaching about the very Jesus that he'd persecuted others for. And there is only one thing that qualified him. Jesus.

You see, without Jesus, I AM unqualified to do my entire life. I can only do it because of the strength, the wisdom, the patience, the grace, the love, and the hope that I have in my life through HIM. And Paul said that too. Read the last sentence in verse 8 one more time with me so it really sinks in:

"God saw to it that I was equipped, but you can be sure that it had nothing to do with my natural abilities."

There's a meme that says the exact same thing floating around on Social Media right now and I love it. It says that God doesn't call the qualified; He qualifies the called.

And isn't that so true? I'm a mess honestly. I am dramatic and sensitive and sometimes too into my own self to notice the needs of those around me. And yet, God has given me the amazing, sometimes unbelievable privilege of writing this blog. You've seen me say it before and I'll say it again now. I often don't have any clue what to write here. I feel completely unqualified and like I should stop being a poser and just quit. (That is too many "and"s in one post, seriously, sorry. It's my word today I guess like this is Sesame Street)

But then Jesus swoops in and saves me again. He gives me the message he wants shared and the words to say. It's like a reminder every day of what he did for me on the cross. I love it. I love that Jesus loves me so much that gives me a little love note every morning. He does it by coming alongside me as I type and whispering, "Don't worry. We've got this. I know what you should write." Then I do. Is it perfect? Absolutely not. But then, neither am I, right? And that's okay? I'm prayerful that Jesus will use it anyway somehow even if it only reaches one lonely soul.

Let's see what Paul has to say next:

"And so here I am, preaching and writing about things that are way over my head, the inexhaustible riches and generosity of Christ. My task is to bring out in the open and make plain what God, who created all this in the first place, has been doing in secret and behind the scenes all along. Through followers of Jesus like yourselves gathered in churches, this extraordinary plan of God is becoming known and talked about even among the angels!" (3:8-10)

Paul says here that his job while he is on earth, his God given mission, is to teach others about Jesus and to reach as many people as he possibly can. He is called to show the world what God has planned for them now that Jesus has come and gone on Earth. Isn't that an amazing calling?

But it's not only Paul's calling. He calls all of us to do the same thing, to share the amazing news that we all have hope and free grace available to us if only we believe in Him. The difference is in how we are called. Paul was called to speak, to travel, and to write these amazing letters that have been saved within the pages of the Bible.

I believe mine is to write. How that will play out is yet to be determined. But it's also to be a mom to my kids and a wife to my husband. Demonstrating Christ to them, urging us all along in learning about Him is an awe-inspiring calling on my life. I am so privileged to get to live the life I live. Sometimes I can't even believe that with all I have in my past- and you can read about a bunch of it in some of my very transparent posts from several weeks ago- God still chooses me. He chooses me.

And he chooses you too. What is he calling you to do? When you close your eyes and it's just you with God, what do you hear your heart whispering to you? Where are the places you feel the most at home? What are your gifts and how can you use them to further God's Kingdom?

I encourage you to pray about those questions today. Find some time alone and in a quiet space and just listen to God. Read his word. Let him guide you to His true purpose for your life. I'm praying for you now as I type these words out.

Be blessed today and don't forget to be a blessing to others too! Amen.

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