Every Christian I know has, at least once, wasted time feeling inadequate for the calling God has given them. I’m willing to bet you have too.
You tell yourself, “God can’t use me. I’ve sinned too much. My human nature often gets the best of me.”
Perhaps you prefer to play the timeless game of As. You know, it goes like this: “I could never be AS gifted AS John. John is so good at teaching the Word, I could never be AS good AS he.” “I can’t sing AS well AS Emma. She is a great soprano, I’m just a mediocre alto!”
“I’m not a husband/father/wife/mother/child/etc like So-and-So. I could never fulfill my duties AS spiritually AS they do.”
And on and on it goes, until you’re so focused on your own shortcomings you ignore your God’s power. Christian, you cannot win this game, yet you stake your spiritual productivity on its outcome! That’s certainly not a safe bet.
Let’s break down two areas to feel guilty about.
I. Pre-salvation lifestyle
We all have sinned before becoming a Christian. Invariably, there’s something in every Christian’s past that haunts us, that we wish everyday we could go back & reverse. These things are in our past though! It is foolish to allow our past in the world to determine our future in God’s Kingdom.
2Corinthians 5:16-19 admonishes us to “regard no one from a worldly point of view.” That certainly includes ourselves! This passage further explains that once we have been born again, we’re a new creature, no longer sinners in God’s eyes. Not only have we been reconciled to God, but we’ve been given the ministry of reconciliation. Despite our past sins, we all are called to be ministers of the Gospel in some way.
II. Post-salvation sins
Even the best-grounded Christ followers slip up now & then, allowing their old self to overtake their new self. Maybe you’re a mom, and you find yourself yelling at your children over some minor infraction because you’re tired and frustrated. Perhaps you’re a businessman who turns your head when you see corruption in the workplace. This is all not to mention the ministers having extra-marital affairs, rebelling teenagers, wives who dress to make their husband jealous rather than proud, and the person who didn’t give back to the harried cashier that extra quarter he accidentally gave them.
Yes, we’ve all done it. We’ve all done or said something we shouldn’t’ve, or not said or done something we should’ve. As Philippians 2:13 clarifies for us, these “slipups” happen whenever we rely on our own power rather than God’s to live sinlessly.
2Corinthians 3:18 more than hints at this concept of being a work-in-progress, saying we’re “being transformed into His [Christ’s] likeness….” Notice this says “are being” not “have been”. Don’t we all wish we were finished! But we aren’t. This side of Heaven, the struggle between the old us and the new will be painfully felt every moment. But if we continue on to verse one of chapter four, we are given a glimmer of hope. “Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.”
The efficacy of our Christian walk is not determined by whether or not we are perfect, but by whether or not we’re surrendered.
“And we who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, were being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” – 2Corinthians 3:18-4:1, 7 (NIV)
“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them- 2Corinthians 5:16-19 (NIV)