“Open my eyes that I may behold wonderful things from Your Law.” (Ps. 119:18).
“WONDERFUL THING” IN THIS PASSAGE – “Adequate” doesn’t sound very exciting. We’d rather have a superpower. However, in our serious moments, most of us realize we’re inadequate for some of the challenges of our lives: We can’t get enough done, we can’t do it fast enough, and we can’t do it well enough. And we can’t please everyone.
The apostle Paul felt the same sense of inadequacy throughout his ministry. Describing opportunities for wonderful ministry in yesterday’s chapter, he asked, “Who is adequate for these things?”1 Today, he gives the answer: Though none of us is adequate in ourselves, we DO have an adequacy beyond us:
“Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant” (2 Cor. 3:4-6).
Paul knew that, whether he was headed toward revival in Ephesus or prison in Rome, Jesus in him was up to the task. Jesus in him was strong enough, wise enough, and loving enough to face anything. Paul had no confidence in Paul and every confidence in Jesus.
“WONDERFUL THING” IN MY LIFE – Self-confidence has no place in the Christian’s life. God-confidence has every place. If you have lots of self-confidence, it’s better just to call it by its Bible name, pride, and repent of it. If you have so little self-confidence so that you don’t attempt much for God, it’s better to call it by its Bible name, fear, and repent of it. Either way, the issue is not confidence in yourself but in God. Here’s what helps me to get more of it:
Give up on the idea that you are adequate in yourself. – Stop chasing the mirage: If I just try harder, work smarter, or endure longer, I’ll finally reach adequacy. You won’t; it’s not there. You’ll just wear yourself out in the chase.
Realize that you have nothing to offer God except yourself. – But that’s all He wants. God doesn’t need your talents, your accomplishments, even your goodness – He’s got plenty of His own. He just wants you, given to Him as “a living sacrifice.”2 This is hard on the ego, but you and I don’t even have a good self to offer Him; only the self He wants to make good.
Believe that God has made you adequate to accomplish all your assignments. – Or that He will do so by the time you need it. He has great plans, and He created you for your little parts in them. It’s not the other way around: He didn’t make you and then wonder what He would do with you. Trust Him that He doesn’t make faulty parts. That’s faith.
Be satisfied with your calling as His servant. – Men make superstars; God calls servants. I have no ambition higher than to be His servant – because there is no higher calling.
I want to share with you a phrase the Lord gave me recently: An audience of One. I find myself repeating this to the Lord over and over during the day. Everything I do, I want to do it as if He’s the only one watching – or at least the only one I care is watching. And here’s a prayer He gave me to go along with that: Let all that I do be only for You. I encourage you to try this for a day or two – I believe you’ll like it, and so will He.
1 2 Cor. 2:16. 2 Rom. 12:1.