Unqualified

This afternoon I was reminded of a truth that I had forgotten. I had recently completed a spiritual gifts course, but I was conflicted over what the results were telling me. Now as far as gifts go, mine are pretty good, but I didn’t feel qualified to fulfill any of the callings that could accompany those gifts. I am a shy person, and I find talking to others extremely difficult.  I feel too small to share the gospel. I felt as if I didn’t know enough to teach His glorious word.  Rather than looking at what God has blessed me to do, I was looking at all of my shortcomings. Then I was reminded that God uses unqualified people for His glory.
When one studies the Bible we are confronted with a myriad of people that seem unqualified for the tasks that God assigns them. Noah had a drinking problem, yet he was selected as a man with a righteous heart to carry on humanity for God during the great flood. Abraham was a liar, yet he was chosen to be the first of God’s chosen people and from him was born a great nation. Moses was a murderer, but he was chosen to lead God’s people into the chosen land. No other prophet ever had a relationship with God as Moses did.  Paul was a persecutor of Christians, but he was chosen to carry the gospel for Christ.
Then there is David. David was a nobody from nowhere. He was so insignificant that when Samuel came looking for the sons of Jesse, even his own father didn’t consider him. He was a young shepherd boy. He wasn’t some highly educated politician or theologian. He wasn’t a prophet blessed by God, he was just a shepherd boy. Yet God chose him to be anointed king of his chosen people.
What made that boy worthy of being a king? Nothing. He was totally unqualified for the position. He knew nothing about running a kingdom. He knew nothing about government. As a shepherd he was even considered unclean and with low social standing. Then why would God choose him for such a great task?
God chose David because he would become a man after His own heart. He chose that young shepherd because he knew how to love. David knew how to trust God and be obedient. God knew the faith that David had. He knew that David believed in Him enough to stand before a giant with a sling and a stone, faithful that his Lord in Heaven would bring victory. He knew that David would unabashedly worship Him with no care for who was watching. He knew that David would accept the conviction of his sin and repent when confronted. So God raised up a humble shepherd boy to be his king. With David was formed a covenant that would seal the line of kings through his bloodline to the birth of our king, Jesus Christ.
So as I look over my spiritual gifts inventory, I remember that God doesn’t pick qualified people. He picks people who give their hearts to Him, and willingly surrender to His will. If he picked experts then it would be their glory not His. He picks humble, broken, unqualified people to do his work. He does this so that when miraculous things happen, people won’t look to the servant but to the master. Whatever happens with these gifts has very little to do with me, and everything to do with the Holy Spirit inside of me.
2 Corinthians 12: 9-10 NLT
Each time he said, “My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me. Since I know it is all for Christ’s good, I am quite content with my weaknesses and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 

I remembered that serving God isn’t about who I am, but who He is. It’s all Jesus, because on my own… I am unqualified. 

Not a God Feeling

In our modern culture people are overwhelmed with feelings of depression, shame, and guilt. We question everything about ourselves. We succumb to feelings of shame about how we look, our homes, and our jobs. We allow our culture to determine our self-worth. We define who we are on the basis of feelings that God never wanted us to experience. Shame is not a God feeling.
Before I continue, I must clarify that shame is not a God feeling, but conviction is. Conviction is the feeling of judgment by the Holy Spirit regarding an area of sin in life that should be confronted. Conviction is the feeling that causes on to reflect on their sin so that they can repent of it and live in a manner pleasing to God.
Shame
“the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous, etc., done by oneself or another.” 
“an intense feeling of angst that makes you wish you could evaporate; extreme humiliation and remorse; a despairing of life from abject embarrassment.”
It sounds a lot like conviction, but it’s not. Conviction is a tool used by the Holy Spirit to bring you into God’s will. Shame is a feeling used to break down your self-worth and to promote doubt. It does not bring you to God’s will. Shame breaks down your value, and causes you to question your purpose.
God created each man or woman perfect in his own image. We are designed to be vessels of the Holy Spirit, bringing the love of Jesus Christ to the edges of the earth to all people. God didn’t create us with the feeling of shame. Shame entered the world with sin, when Adam and Eve gained the knowledge of good and evil. Prior to sin there was no shame. Adam and Eve lived in innocence, without care to how they looked. They walked naked in the garden, basking in the presence of God. They measured their value on God’s delight in them.
Genesis 2:25 NLT
Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame.
Genesis 3:6-7 NLT
The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it too. At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.
Shame creates a stumbling block for us. It keeps us from God’s will. Our shame becomes a sin that separates us from God. After eating the apple, Adam and Eve hid from God in fear, where once they walked with him in joy. We do the same thing. We allow our shame to destroy our self-worth, and then when God calls upon us to use us for His purpose we hide.
When God calls us to use our spiritual gifts, we turn away and question our own suitability. “Surely God couldn’t mean me. I am not good enough for that. People would laugh if they knew I wanted to serve God in that way. I’m not a good enough Christian.” All of these shame-based lies keep us from serving God and bringing him glory. We don’t trust God to give us the strength to do what he calls us for, so we hide in shame behind our fig leaves.
When we were bound to sin, we were bound to the feeling of shame. However, we are washed clean of sin through the mercy and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. By his sacrifice we are made righteous, and we need not be ashamed anymore. God can use us if we are overweight, if our house isn’t clean, or if we are unemployed.  God can use us if our children don’t behave at the store, our shoes came from Wal-Mart and not Macy’s, or if our car is old.  God believes in us, even if we don’t believe in ourselves.
Romans 10:11 NIV
As the scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”
Since we have died to sin, and have been born again to serve Him we need not live in shame any longer. We can go boldly into the world knowing that Christ is our foundation, and that the Holy Spirit travels with us in all we do. We are never an object of ridicule in His sight. We are so perfect that He gave His life so that we could once again walk in the garden with the Lord and bask in His presence.