Surrender: The Cure to Inadequacy

Whenever I am feeling inadequate and incapable of accomplishing the tasks that God has laid before me I listen to this song. For some reason I always feel a sense of peace and adequacy afterwards. God showed me today that simply giving myself to Him, fully surrendering to His will, is all I need to do to regain my sense of confidence in the work He has called me to do.

Do you ever struggle with feeling inadequate when it comes to doing God’s work like I do? Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” It is His power working in us that enables us to accomplish great things for the kingdom God. All He requires from us is total surrender, giving ourselves to Him.

This is easy to say, as is anything, but isn’t always easy to do. Sometimes it is really hard. Surrendering to God requires faith, trust, and obedience. If we want Him to do great things through us we have to be willing to give ourselves over to Him, including our desires, our dreams, and our talents, and allow his spirit working through us to accomplish His will. Typically what God asks of us isn’t something we can do on our own, which is why feelings of inadequacy often follow, as they should. This is why we need to constantly surrender ourselves to God and allow the Holy Spirit to take over.

I Corinthians 1:26-27: For you see your calling, brethren, that 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; 

This verse tells me that If God has called me, which I believe He has, just as He has called you, then I shouldn’t be capable of doing it without Him. My only hope at being adequate to do what He wants me to do each day is by giving myself to Him in full surrender.

Have I Really Forgiven?

Forgiveness.jpgWhen I was reading my book Hope Focused Marriage Counseling written by Everett Worthington last night I came across something about incomplete forgiveness. It talked about how sometimes we think we have forgiven someone but we might not have fully forgiven. What it talked about next really got my attention and got me thinking. Do I feel a sense of happiness or satisfaction when I find out that something bad happened to or went wrong for someone I have “forgiven”? This was tough for me to read and really convicted me. Here I am thinking I’ve been obedient and have forgiven specific people who have hurt me, yet reading this made me realize I really haven’t.

Think about someone who has caused you pain that you think you have forgiven. If you found out tomorrow that something went wrong for him or her would you be happy about it? or would you feel compassion? My answer to this question definitely did not thrill me. To be honest with you, after reading this my initial thought was how in the world can I truly and completely forgive? What I realized was that forgiveness is a choice, one that takes purposeful action and God’s grace.

Ephesians 4:31-32 says “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

This verse tells me that I am to lay down my bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking. When I feel a sense of satisfaction at the expense of someone I claim to have forgiven I am not obeying this command. Additionally, as I mentioned before, If I have truly forgiven someone I should feel kindness and compassion towards him or her, especially when things go wrong. This can truly seem like an impossible thing to do, which is why I must rely on God’s continuing mercy and grace to accomplish this.

We have to remind ourselves of the forgiveness and grace that we received from God through Christ in order to offer this to another. One thing I have found helpful when I am lacking forgiveness is to pray for those I can’t seem to forgive. That God would bless them, encourage them, and heal them as He has healed me. Asking God to help me forgive is also something that has made a huge difference for me. Praying for strength to forgive doesn’t mean you are failing, it means you admit that you need God to accomplish such a difficult task. I’m still on my journey of forgiveness and hope that this encourages you on yours as well.

Regaining your True Identity and Defeating your Goliath

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When I read the story of David and Goliath this morning I asked God to give me a new perspective on it. God always seems to deliver and always in a way that makes sense for what I am currently facing. Lately I have struggled with some doubt regarding certain situations in my life and am in desperate need of some good old fashion faith! You know, like David had. So what have I been missing lately? Lets first look at how the Israelites fell short and gave into fear.

The story of David and Goliath can be found in 1 Samuel: 17. If you don’t already know the story I would suggest giving it a read before continuing. In verse 8 Goliath comes out to challenge the Israelites, saying ““Why have you come out to line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and you the servants of Saul?” This is part of the Israelites first problem. Notice how he refers to them as the servants of Saul, rather than the servants of God? Back in Ch. 8 God tells Samuel that the people of Israel rejected Him, and no longer want Him to reign over them (I Samuel 8:7). Enter problem number one. The Israelites had turned their hearts away from God. Additionally, they lost sight of their true identity. No longer are the Israelites God’s servants, they have chosen instead to serve Saul. Because they turned their hearts away from serving God they no longer have their identity secured. In Ch. 12 Samuel urges the Israelites saying “Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.” They clearly did not listen to Samuel, but chose instead to forget the Lord and serve another. This is why they were “dismayed and greatly afraid” when Goliath threatened them.

So why was David so courageous and able to defeat Goliath? Lets take a closer to look and find out.

He had a heart after God: The first time we meet David is when Samuel anoints him to be king. In this meeting God tells Samuel that He will choose David to be king, not because of his outward appearance, but because of his heart (1 Samuel 16:7). David’s heart was for the Lord and this enabled him to defeat Goliath. So what does it really mean to have a heart for God? Acts 13:22 says “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.” Are you willing to do all of God’s will? Am I? If we aren’t willing to be obedient to God and follow His commands then the simple truth is our hearts are not for Him. This doesn’t mean we wont fail, after all, we all know about David and his major screw-ups. What it means is that we desire God with sincerity and want to follow Him and obey Him. This is where we must start if we want to be able to defeat the giants in our lives. If we fail here then we are truly without hope. So ask yourself this question and I will to: Do I desire God with all my heart and strive to do all His will?

His identity was secure: When David shows up to the battle and hears Goliath and all his ranting his boldness is fueled. He can hardly believe what he is hearing and decides to act immediately. What is his initial response exactly? David says “For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (I Samuel 17:26) David’s identity was secure in God. He knew that this army did not belong to the enemy, but to the living God. His confidence was grounded in who he was as a servant of the living God, not as a servant of Saul. When I’m struggling with fear and doubt I have to question whether or not I’ve lost sight of my true identity in Christ. Romans 8:15 tells me that I have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but I have received the spirit of adoption by whom I cry out, Abba Father.”. When I allow fear to control me, the way the Israelites did, Its because I am forgetting exactly whose daughter I am. In order to face my giants and overcome, the way that David did, I have to regain my sense of identity as a child of the living God. David had confidence in his identity and this is why he was able to do what he did. Where does your identity come from? The enemy will try to convince you that are not who God says you are, he sure tries to do this to me. This is when we must stand boldly and proclaim our place as children of God and courageously stand against him.

He remembered what God had already done for him: When David first approaches Saul about going out to fight against Goliath Saul isn’t exactly thrilled about it. David is young and inexperienced, while Goliath has been a warrior since his youth. So what is David’s response? He remembers how God had previously delivered him and believes God will deliver him again. Verses 36-37 say, “Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.” Moreover David said, “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” We really need to stop giving ourselves credit for what God has done and recognize his deliverance the way that David did. What can you do to remember the ways that God has delivered you in the past so that you will have confidence in His future deliverance? I recently started a thankfulness journal and read through it every so often. This reminds me of things that God has done for me and enables me to continue trusting Him with new battles.

As we all know, David did indeed defeat Goliath. This was because of his heart for God, his secure identity, and his focus on all God had already done for him.

If you’re struggling to defeat the giants in your life you might be lacking in 1, 2, or all 3 of these areas. Thankfully there is always hope for change! What Giants are you facing right now? Maybe you or a loved one has a serious addiction. Or maybe your wondering how you can be a light to lost and hurting family members. Maybe your facing a serious illness or a financial dilemma you don’t think you can handle. Maybe your facing a divorce or a cheating spouse. Or unemployment and the threat of losing your house. Whatever your giant is I promise that God will enable you to face it and overcome it. Get your heart right with God, claim your identity in Jesus Christ, and walk in it confidently, remembering all He has done for you, capable of defeating the giants in your life.

Do People Know I’ve Been With Jesus?

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Acts 4:13 (NKJV)

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.

This verse provokes me to ask myself a simple question. When people see me do they realize that I have been with Jesus? Obviously I haven’t physically been with Jesus as John and Peter were, but I have the privilege every day to be in the presence of the Holy Spirit. When people see me do they know this? If I can’t answer yes then I need to ask myself why and come up with a solution to this huge problem. You see, the problem is, I truly want people to see Christ in me but oftentimes, for one reason or another, they don’t. As I’ve pondered this I’ve come up with a few reasons why the people around me may not know that I’ve been with Jesus. Maybe you can relate.

Simply put, because I haven’t been: This honestly happens to me all the time. Maybe this sounds familiar to you too. I get so fired up about Jesus. I’m spending so much time in the Bible and in prayer and loving every minute of it. I mean I can feel the presence of the Holy Spirit everywhere I go! And then all of a sudden I just stop. I truly cannot figure out why but I just go on a hiatus. And guess what happens? The joy and excitement that I was experiencing diminishes. Even my husband can tell. He will often say, “hey, have you been reading your Bible lately? Because I can tell.” Well okay! Hah. Who I am when I’m focused on Jesus, when my goal is to be close to Him, is totally different than who I am when I’m not. If I’m not spending time with Christ the people I’m around will not be impacted, it’s as simple as that.

Because I’m not doing things that require Christ’s strength: Maybe I have been with Jesus but I’m just not being obedient and stepping out in faith. This was common during Jesus’ ministry on earth and its still common now. Think about it, Judas was with Jesus. did anybody know based on the way he was living his life? Absolutely not! Spending time with Jesus isn’t enough. We have to be willing to step out in faith and live boldly for Christ if we want to reflect His light to those around us. If we want people to know that Christ is living in us we have to be willing to live in bold obedience to His Word. The verse paints a clear picture. Peter and John were not formally trained to be doing what they were doing. They were acting based on Jesus Christ’s strength rather than their own and people could see it. Do you ever feel Jesus calling you to do something bold but you ignore it because “it just isn’t your strength?” Its time we get over that! True freedom comes when we embrace Christ’s strength and trust that He will do a great work through us. This is when people know that we have been with Jesus and when lives change.

Because I’m a hearer and not a doer. James 1:22 tells us “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” This might seem like the same thing as the last one but it’s somewhat different. To me, being a doer of the Word and not just a hearer is about living in daily obedience to Gods Word. For example, if I read that I should edify people with the words I say and instead I tear people down I’m being a hearer and not a doer. Or if I know that the Bible teaches me to love my enemies but I’m bitter and hateful towards them I’m being a hearer and not a doer. What I have found is that when I live out God’s Word, especially in ways that seem to go against the norm, like the previous examples, people notice. To be honest this has always been a big fear of mine. Hearing and studying God’s Word but not doing what it says. Do I have all the knowledge but fail to apply it in my life? I want to stand before God someday knowing that I’ve not only heard his Word, but I’ve done it. Do you?

Because I’m distracted by things that straight up DON’T matter: We have got to stop allowing the things of this world to seduce us and keep us from the things of Christ. Honestly this issue right here is probably the culprit behind the other three reasons why people don’t know I’ve been with Jesus. In Mark 4 we read about the parable of the sower and what often happens when people hear God’s Word but don’t go on to produce fruit. Verses 18-19 says “Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” More money, success, possessions, and attention will NOT increase our joy. Producing fruit for the kingdom of God will. This is what happens when people look at you and know that you’ve been with Jesus. They don’t know this by seeing how rich you are, how intelligent you are, how successful you are, how big your house is, or how great your kids are. We have got to refocus our attention on Jesus if we want to be remembered in the same way that Peter and John were, as men and women of God who boldly proclaim Christ and produce everlasting fruit for the Kingdom of God.

Thank you for reading my blog!