Most people, people who call themselves Christians included, think they are not qualified to lead in a church. They think they could maybe manage a task or give some advice they bring from their professional world. But when it comes to working to try to shape other people in the image of God, they simply feel unqualified. They are intimidated when it comes to
- Modeling what it means to be a Christ follower.
- Showing people what it means to serve others with a loving heart.
- Leading others to serve with excellence and passion.
- Gathering people around in a prayer circle and helping them encounter God.
- Connecting a group or a team to God’s mission.
In general, we just don't feel qualified to lead things of a spiritual nature. Why? I believe there is something in us that says we are too sinful, impure, or inexperienced to be used by God to make a difference. But when we look into the Bible we find lots of folks who were not that experienced, pure, or sinless who were used by God in big ways.
Noah was the one God was looking for. He was faithful. He built the ark.
But right after the flood he got so drunk he passed out naked in his tent and had to be covered up by his sons.
Abraham was Israel’s greatest patriarch, the one who essentially founded the nation of Israel when he trusted God to leave Ur. But he gave into fear and lied in an attempt to pass off his wife as his sister. Not once, but twice. He didn't trust that God would provide a child to him and his wife Sarah like God had promised, so he short-circuited God's plan and slept with his maidservant instead.
Moses killed a man before he led God's people out of Egypt.
Samson committed many immoralities and adulteries on his way to serving God.
David had one of his own soldiers assassinated to cover up an affair.
Rahab is mentioned in Hebrews 11 as one who was honored because of her faith. She was a prostitute selling her body in adultery to make a living. She later married into the nation of Israel and she became an ancestor of King David, an ancestor of Jesus.
We usually think of the people in the Bible in exalted terms. We think of them as being perfect and sinless, but there was only one person who was perfect and sinless. His name was Jesus, and He qualified the rest of them to be used by God. Our sins do not disqualify us from being used by God. God does not call the qualified; He qualifies the called through the grace and forgiveness that come from the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus. There is real power in the resurrection of Jesus.
The only thing that disqualifies us from being used by God to make a difference is our own refusal to humble ourselves before God’s grace.
Our refusal takes many shapes and forms:
• We tell lies to cover up our sin. We save face and move on living with secrets, even trying to hide them from God as we refrain from coming clean with others.
• We make excuses about it not really being sin but just bad judgment, a mistake, a misstep, or whatever other attractive psychoanalytical term we can conjure up so we won't have to take responsibility our own actions and thoughts.
• We shift blame. We blame our emotions, our circumstances, and our background, especially our parents. When Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden, his first response to God was essentially, "She made me do it."
• We tell ourselves that God just does not understand what we are going through, our pressures, our temptations, our guilt, our pain. Hello! The cross . . .
• We buy into the sophistication lie of our culture and essentially look at God and say, “I’m a big boy now, I can handle this, I don’t really need You. It's an adult world and these are adult things, the God of my childhood couldn't possibly have anything that would help with my current predicament."
We need Jesus to forgive sin. It is too ugly for us to handle. We often think of sin as getting away with something, a little fun on the side, but sin destroys. Sin destroys, kills, cheats, abuses, molests, tortures, degrades, enslaves, uses, and wastes. Sin is crude, dark, violent, racist, sexist, self-centered, ugly, smelly, filthy, and gross.
As messy and gross as sin is, our sins do not disqualify us from being used by God. Jesus is bigger than our sin. Rejection of Jesus is the only thing that disqualifies us. God wants to forgive. God wants to embrace us and bring us into His family. God has already met us 99% of the way through the sacrifice of Jesus. He simply needs us to step humbly toward Him and accept the gift of Jesus. It is Jesus who makes us qualified, not our own wisdom, courage, or works.
1 John 1:8-10 (NLT)
“If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.¿”