Yes, you are not competent for Christian life or ministry. You don’t have the tools and you lack the strength. You’re not loving enough to provide the needed care, you’re not wise enough to make the needed decisions, and you’re not tough enough to endure the inevitable attacks. Even worse, there is no amount of education or training that will be able to help you. You are hopelessly ill-equipped and unqualified for the life that Christ calls you to live. In yourself, you don’t have any what it takes. Not an ounce. Not even an inch. Zip. Squat.
But alas, in the wisdom of God, accepting that hopeless truth is actually the road to God’s eternally hopeful truth. Yes, we do not have what it takes, but Jesus Christ does and He offers His strength and Spirit to us for the task.
In Jesus we have all we need and, therefore, to Jesus we must go.
Richard Sibbes unpacks the idea well:
In all, especially in difficult encounters, let us lift up our hearts to Christ who has Spirit enough for us all in all our needs. May we say with Jehoshaphat, “For we are powerless…We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you” (2 Chronicles 20:12); the battle we fight is Yours, Lord, and the strength with which we fight must be Yours. If you do not go with us, we are sure to be defeated..
Satan knows that nothing can prevail against Christ or those that rely upon His power. Therefore, Satan’s study is how to keep us trusting in ourselves and in the creature. But we must carry this always in our minds, that that which is begun in self-confidence ends in shame. (Taken from The Bruised Reed, p. 115).
Remember Jesus’ words from the table, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). In Christ, we can bear fruit for the good of others and the glory of His Name. Without Christ, we can do nothing.
So, my friend in Jesus, remember, you don’t have what it takes. You never did and you never will. Therefore, your life and ministry depends on you not depending on yourself, but upon the strength of Another. Go to Jesus each day for the grace you need; for the instructing of your mind, the filling of your heart, the guiding of your hands, and the hope of your soul. He alone is able.
The church has enough folks within her ranks ministering in their own power and by their own wisdom. Let it not be so with us. May we be a people who, acknowledging our weakness, are strengthened by His power, compelled by His love, and minister in His grace.
That way all will know Whom really to praise and worship in the end.