Most of my life has been lived with feelings of inadequacy. I have never been the smartest, strongest, most handsome or talented. My list of shortcomings is far longer than my strengths.
These thoughts have been underlined to me throughout my life. I received no awards or accolades from my college for any of my achievements. My first full-time ministry performed my one-year evaluation and said, “I lacked people skills.” At meetings with other ministers, most of them talk down to me as if I was a wide-eyed teenager lost in the adult world. I have grown accustomed to feeling like I was not given the adequate tools for the work I need to do.
Then, something goes right. I preach a sermon that has people offering words of praise for weeks to come. I write a blog post that racks up hundreds of hits. People respond to the message of the gospel I have been preaching. The Church grows, and good things happen beyond anything I could have dreamed.
What happens when you break through your inadequacies and succeed?
I must continually remind myself, “Don’t let it go to your head.”
The New Testament is clear that God hates pride and he stands opposed to the proud. Christians are to have a humble spirit that elevates God’s work above their own.
How do you do that?
1. Embrace Your Weakness. Paul gives us the standard by which we are to view our shortcomings. 2 Corinthians 12:9 “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
2. Give God the Glory. All praise I receive needs to be deflected towards God. If God is working in my inadequacies and brings about something good, then he is the one who deserves the praise. This is difficult because the approval feels so good. I want to be recognized and receive a pat on the back. As a Christian, I need to continually point to God working through me and glorify his name.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to do our best. The trouble comes when we take God’s glory on ourselves. It is easy to think somehow we are better than other people. When you are tempted to accept his praise as your own, “don’t let it go to your head.”
God is great, and I am not. Praise be to God.