Have you ever felt inadequate when it comes to a project or just life in general? Webster’s dictionary defines inadequate as “insufficient for a purpose, lacking the quality required and unable to deal with a situation or life.” We live in a very merit-driven society first you’re given a gold star, then an A+ then a promotion when you do well. These rewards are supposed to encourage us to do good jobs and give 110 percent. But what happens when you give your all and still get a C or you make a mistake on a work assignment. It is so easy for our flesh and Satan to make us feel and believe that we are inadequate for the situation God has placed us in. All he has to do is whisper in our mind ‘that person is smart and talented, you’ll never be at their level so why try.” It can be so easy to believe as a slideshow of your recent failures comes across your mind, as you compare yourself to the other person and come up short.
I dealt with those very same feelings this week as I watched colleagues who started with me get promoted and team members win office awards. I looked at my weaknesses and cried thinking Lord why am I here, what do I have to offer. But God reminded me that He put me in this position and His grace is made perfect in our weaknesses. Paul was given a “thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness ‘“(2 Corinthians 12: 8-9 NIV). Paul was given a thorn in the flesh as spiritual insurance to keep him humble about all of the “surpassingly great revelations” that he was receiving from God. Notice that it was a ‘messenger of Satan’ whose purpose was to torment Paul but God transformed it into a testimony of His grace and goodness. That is exactly what He does with our weak areas and feelings of inadequacy He takes the lack of attention to detail or over-eager attitude that is meant to be our Achilles heel and trip us up and instead He uses it to remind us that His grace is sufficient. That in spite of our weakness He will allow us to do a job well done and all the glory will go to Him!
If Paul, a spiritual giant in the Bible, needed to remain humble how much more do we need a reminder that we cannot do it alone. I’m not getting revelations about Christ, I’m just happy to complete an assignment by the due date and have my boss be pleased. But how easy is it for us to take the credit for what God has done when things are going right in our lives. We get an A on that first super hard midterm paper or difficult work assignment and we’re getting the Holy Ghost in the bathroom. But when it happens a second and third time it’s easy to just roll with it and pat ourselves on the back being our own cheerleader. I’m not saying we shouldn’t have a healthy sense of accomplishment but we should always give God the credit because He is the one who allowed us to prosper. We can never forget that everything comes from Christ and “apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5).”
I love this image because it illustrates that we may struggle against the flesh and Satan but through Christ we have the victory, notice the determination on the first statue’s face!