Have you ever listened to a Christian CD or gone to another ministry’s service and thought, “Holy cow, they are so talented. God is going to do great things through them.” Most of us probably have. I know in my own situation I love to watch “live” DVD’s of worship services produced by the major “mega” churches of our time. As a musician I am awestruck… each and every time. The sound is so clean and rehearsed, the cues and transitions are spot on, the production is incredible. It is inspiring. Often I even begin to compare myself and my ministry to the expectations set by these large-scale productions. I know in my situation it is SO easy for me to feel discouraged or inadequate in comparison to the things other ministers and ministries are doing around me. I observe the things they are doing and the things I am not. I notice the level of “professionalism” or excellence that I feel as if I can’t live up to. I hear stories of the Lord’s work within those churches, ministries, or organizations and feel absolutely inadequate. In reality, I’ve walked right into the trap the deceiver has laid out for me. Satan has a way of making kingdom work a competition… a comparison based off of worldly values, and we have a tendency to walk into the trap each and every time. Do you ever feel inadequate? Discouraged? How about competitive or envious? I do. I have. But… there is a way to fight back. Below I will give some things we can remind ourselves of when Satan is doing work on our spirit.
- We can have a Biblical confidence in Christ.
So often in our churches we are reminded to stay humble… to keep our pride in check. Although this is absolutely necessary in the life a believer, I have found that I have the tendency to over compensate in the opposite direction and make myself feel inadequate to do the work the Lord has put in front of me. We have been “preached” at so much on the subject of pride that sometimes our first reaction to avoid it is to squash out any and all confidence we have. Don’t hear me wrong… pride is something we should fight…everyday. Any pride we have in ourselves is pride that has been misplaced. There is nothing wrong with being a confident person if our confidence is put in the right areas and focused on the right person. Either our confidence is ultimately in God or in ourselves. We consider one to be “faith” and the other to be arrogance. Let’s take a look at a misplaced confidence or pride in Daniel 4:28-37:
All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. At the end of twelve months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, and the king answered and said, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?” While the words were still in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, “O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you, and you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. And you shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.” Immediately the word was fulfilled against Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven from among men and ate grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair grew as long as eagles’ feathers, and his nails were like birds’ claws. At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?” At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my majesty and splendor returned to me. My counselors and my lords sought me, and I was established in my kingdom, and still more greatness was added to me. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble.
In this passage King Nebuchadnezzar shifted his pride from God and His work and onto himself and paid the price for it, but was restored when he laid aside his pride and instead boasted in God with Godly confidence in the work of His hands. Misplaced pride is detrimental to the life of a believer. It will ruin you. That being said, a lack of Biblical confidence in and through Christ will also hinder you in your ministry. Be confident in Christ and His working through you. Phillipians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Confidence isn’t always a feeling… it is a choice. We must choose to walk in confidence even when we are feeling inadequate. We do that by reminding ourselves that our confidence doesn’t have to depend on what we can and can’t do. Rather, our confidence is found in what God can do in us and through us. Godly confidence is an assurance not of one’s own ability but of God’s power working in and through His faithful and obedient children for His glory and not for our own. It is a boast not in man but in God, thereby giving Him all the glory. Feel inadequate? Develop a Biblical confidence.
- Rejoice in the work of your brothers and sisters!
So often churches and ministries fall into the trap of competition. We must remember we are all on the same team and should be working together towards the same goal… not against each other. It is SO easy to succumb to the little green monster that lives inside all of us. Jealousy and envy are not helpful to the body of Christ. I constantly have to remind myself that God has placed people where He desires them to be and uses us all differently. Church isn’t a competition. We all do things differently… for a similar purpose! 1 Corinthians 12:14-27 says:
For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. Are you an eye? Be the best eye you can be. Are you an ear? Be an outstanding ear. God promises to work through His people, so we must remain faithful to Him and rejoice in the work taking pace around us to further His kingdom. Comparison is exhausting and a no-win situation! All we have to do is be the best version of ourselves as possible and trust that God will equip us to do whatever He’s asking of us. Don’t want to feel inadequate? Then don’t view God’s work through others as a direct comparison to God’s work through you. Instead, let’s stand beside our brothers and sisters in Christ and rejoice in the work God is doing through them… through us. We are all on the same team.
- Excel and rejoice where God has placed you.
At some point everyone is going to become discontent. Sometimes we may want to be someone else or to have another’s ministry. Satan deceives us by getting us to believe the lie that we will be happy if we just had what another has. The truth is, accomplishments and talents are not what makes us happy… true happiness is found in the Lord and the doing of His will. Ravi Zacharias writes in his book “Cries Of The Heart” that:
One of the most liberating moments in life is when we are able to accept ourselves as God has made us and are free from the shackles of trying to be someone we are not and were never meant to be. We then soar to be the unique personality God has given to each of us. (39-40)
God has created us ultimately to bring Him glory and we should be content and happy in doing that in the time and place that He has put us. Living our lives wishing we had something different means we miss out on the best God has for us. Want to feel fulfilled? Want to feel adequate? Then praise God for where He has put you and seek to Excel in the accomplishing of His will and plans for your life at this moment. God has not called us to be someone we are not, He has called us to simply be exactly who He has created us to be. Accept who you are and where you are. God has a will for your life and ministry and has provided a way. Seek it and excel.
Pray that God gives you Biblical confidence and keep your eyes on Him… He will take care of the rest.