Inadequacies

  • July 20, 2018
  • #9450

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with a funny story.

Not long ago at a conference, I was introduced as "Dr. Joni Tada." When I wheeled up to speak, I confessed to the audience, I said: "Friends, I may have been given a couple of honorary doctorates from seminaries, but hey, look, I'm only a high school graduate. I've never even been to Bible College!" Most in the audience looked a little surprised, and there was a time that fact used to embarrass me, I wouldn’t have told anybody that I had no real scholastic degrees. If a person’s wisdom and expertise were measured by their M.Div.’s or their PhD’s or even their bachelor degrees, my goodness, then I'm not competent to speak alongside Christian leaders who have actually earned those degrees, especially their doctorates. This was a real issue when I was first asked to write a book. I told the publisher: ‘You’re asking me? But I don’t have the scholarship to write a book!’ But my publisher told me something that was so insightful. He reminded me that although I may feel inadequate in many ways, my competence comes from God, not from four years at Bible school, and certainly not from two more years in graduate school.

And he had a passage of Scripture to back that up. He showed me Second Corinthians Chapter 3, verses 5-6, and it put my mind at ease. Because listen to what the apostle Paul writes, he says, “Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." Can you see why that verse was so liberating for me?

No, I haven’t spent 4 years in Bible school. But I have spent over 50 years in a wheelchair, most of those years studying the same books and scholars as my friends who graduated from The Masters University or Wheaton College, Gordon Conwell or Dallas Baptist University and so on. God has used my many years in a wheelchair to remind me that, yes, yes, I am completely inadequate when it to classroom hours or earning a good GPA. Look, I'm just a quadriplegic! But that’s just it! God delights in teaching us powerful lessons through our weaknesses and limitations, insights and lessons and wisdom that just could not be gleaned except through deep suffering. Plus, it’s my weaknesses that keep pointing me to the source of all authority and ability, God and God alone. Praise the Lord; He is the one who makes us competent as ambassadors of the new covenant! God takes our inadequacies and, as we lean on him and learn from the trials he sends, he makes us competent.

Now you may think, ‘who am I that anyone should listen to me? Why should anyone care what I have to say?Oh friend, don't fool yourself; in Christ, you are completely competent. Second Corinthians 13:4 reminds you, "For to be sure, He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by God's power. Likewise, we are weak in Him, yet by God's power we will live with Him to serve you." Friend, it’s by God's power you and I serve the Lord. And it's by His power – and His power only – you can serve as well. So, do not allow your feelings of inferiority to limit your service to the Lord. In Christ, you have a message, you have a story to tell, you have a lesson or many lessons. And it happens in a classroom called “God’s Power in Your Weakness.” Visit my radio page today at joniandfriends.org, and while you are there be sure to share a prayer request. If you are feeling down and wanting to find the way up we want to pray for you. When you have a chance today, drop by joniandfriends.org. 

© Joni and Friends

 

 

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