Published October 22, 2013

Paul's Epistle...
"What's Stopping You?"

I believe every Christian is called by God to do a certain work for Him — perhaps many different kinds of works. That's why we're here. But, just as no two people are alike, no two "calls" are the same – for that very reason. God knows exactly what you can do and He has gifted you accordingly.

But do you ever feel inadequate to do that work God has given you? When you think about what you feel you should be doing, do the words "I just can't" pop into your mind?

If that's you, you're certainly not the first to think this way. Think of Moses. Even encountering God at the burning bush, Moses, directed to free God's people from Egyptian slavery, objected: "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?"1 Moses didn't feel he could handle this. No way! "Lord, send someone else who could do a better job." That's essentially what he said.

Isn't that what we do, too? Don't we say, "Lord, I don't think I heard you right. You couldn't possibly mean that I should do this thing. Surely, there's somebody else who could do this better. I just – I'm not up to it."

Then we come up with excuses. Moses said, "O my Lord, I am not eloquent...but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue."2 Moses had a speech impairment. He thought that would get him off the hook in this case.

But God reminded Moses that He, the Lord, had "made man's mouth." And He, the Lord, would "be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say."3

You've heard the saying, "When God calls, He equips." It's true. Why would God call you to do something He wouldn't equip you to handle? In fact, He's already "wired" you to be able to do it – whether it's related to something you're already doing or whether He knows you have the capability to learn. After all, "with God all things are possible" (Matt. 19:16). And if He asks you to do something, it's for your good as well as someone else's (see Romans 8:28).

"But, Paul, I have this...problem...that holds me back."

Think of the Apostle Paul. This man who wrote much of the New Testament, whose writings form the basis of our understanding of Christian theology – this man was afflicted by a "thorn in the flesh"4 – probably poor eyesight – that would make a lesser man question God's direction. In fact, even Paul pleaded with God three times to remove it. But God said, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness."5 So, instead of being bitter or refusing to do the work God gave Him to do, Paul would "boast" in his infirmities – showing how even someone with apparent shortcomings can be a mighty worker for God.

A modern example of this is Joni Eareckson Tada. In 1967, when she was just 17, she had a diving accident that left her a quadriplegic with minimal use of her hands. We would surely understand if she said, "Lord, that's it! I can't do anything for You." Although she did question God – just as Paul did – Joni went on to found an unique ministry that today is ministering in Jesus' name to those with disabilities worldwide. And, of course, she's quick to give God all the glory for it.

On last weekend's broadcast, you heard a few of the comments Michael Booth of the Booth Brothers made in accepting the "Favorite Tenor" award from Singing News magazine. What he said may have surprised you. This young man who's part of one of the most popular and highly-awarded Gospel groups out there today said, "As a singer....I've never had much confidence in what I do. When you hear and work with [David] Phelps and David Sutton and all these guys – I'm just being honest with you – there are times I am just jealous of what they can do, because they can do things I can't do..." He added, "If it was anything other than Gospel music, I'd probably just want to go home – because it gets frustrating when you can't do what you wished you could do vocally."

Does that sound familiar? Do you ever tell yourself, "Those other guys are just so much better at this than I am. Why should I even try?"

But here's why Michael goes on doing what he's doing: "I remember Bill Gaither told me one time [that] I got up here and made some self-deprecating speech. He said, ‘Don't ever apologize for your voice, because it does what it's supposed to do.'"

"Having said all that," Michael said in accepting his fan-voted award, "if this means anything, this means that God is not affected by our limitations. Matter of fact, I believe He uses them in ways that we can't imagine."

Indeed. And Michael concluded, "I just want to tell God ‘thank you' for limiting me so that I know anything that is effective – it has come from Him, and I can give Him the glory for it, and have confidence in Him alone."

There's the key. Like Paul, whose infirmity kept him from being "exalted above measure,"6 anything you might perceive as something that would hinder you from doing what you should for God is simply so that, when you do it and are successful, the Glory will go, first, to God! It will be very clear to you — and everyone else — that God facilitated it through His power, not yours. And isn't that what we should really want?

Can we rely on God to facilitate the work He's given us? Paul has a direct response: "He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it" (2 Thess. 5:24).

OK, now. No more excuses. No more lack of confidence. No more pleading a lack of ability. God knows what you can do. He'll work with you – and through you. His strength is, indeed, shown to be perfect in our weaknesses. In fact, as Michael Booth and the Apostle Paul suggested, thank God for your perceived infirmities — so that in your future success doing His will, He can and will be glorified.

So, what's stopping you now?

- Paul

"Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good..."  (Psalm 34:8).
___

  1. Exodus 3:11 (NKJV)

  2. Ex. 4:10

  3. Ex. 4:11

  4. 2 Cor. 12:7

  5. 2 Cor. 12:9

  6. 2 Cor. 12:7

Comments on this? paul@thegospelgreats.com

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