By Ryan Shaw
God has called His people to partner with Him in the literal fulfillment of the Great Commission. We find in Gideon’s story a picture of ourselves.
Gideon’s response to the Lord’s calling as the deliverer of Israel is the very real response of today’s generation (Judges 6:15). “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.”
Gideon’s inadequacy kicks in and he tells the Lord that he should not be the one. He lists excuses which are often the very same heard today. Gideon looks naturally at himself and concludes that God could never use Him.
He judges himself in light of the world’s values and concludes that he falls short of God’s standards. He isn’t from an important family and is the youngest of his father’s house. Yet God is searching for His servants’ based on a completely different set of criteria than Gideon was aware.
It is the 2 Chronicles 16:9 search: “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.”
God’s search is unlike any the world has ever known. His is a search for those cultivating an abandonment in their devotion to Jesus Christ—a surrendered response of love, as a bond-slave to God, who has bought us and owns us (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
The Lord’s search overlooks a person’s family, education, personality type, natural abilities, sociability, sense of inadequacy, past failings, former sin, age, gender, financial status, physical appearance, and ethnicity. His search considers only the responses of a person’s heart toward their Lord and King.
1 Samuel 16:7 declares that “God looks at the heart” when considering His servants. The world looks on all the outer qualifications yet God’s means of assessment is completely different.
God’s ways are not natural but supernatural. He uses the weak to overcome the strong and the foolish to confound the wise. His global promises will be kept through a humble, contrite, and trembling people in partnership with Himself.
Today, believers are sidelined consistently because of the same negative outlook upon themselves as Gideon possessed. Too many rely on feelings about themselves, which are quite often deceiving.
We even justify such inadequacy as somehow equating humility. But it is not! It is self-consciousness & pride which wrongly tells us that God can’t use us because of external circumstances in our lives. This is simply unbelief.
But the story doesn’t end there. The account of Gideon continues and while he began with a great sense of inadequacy he doesn’t let the inadequacy overcome him. Instead he chooses obedience and faithfulness to God.
This is our model today when a sense of inadequacy and brokenness is so rife in Christ’s church. We must go on, not in our own strength, but in the strength, grace and promise of Almighty God and His being “with us.” This powerful presence of God is the most important ingredient to impactful and fruitful ministry.
Inadequacy is an opportunity to allow God to glorify Himself through our weakness. It is an opportunity to show God how dependent we are on Him as we forsake trusting in ourselves and our feelings and pour ourselves out upon His enabling grace.