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Inadequacy as a Blessing

Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some, letters of commendation to you or from you? You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

2 Corinthians 3:1-6

Inadequacy can be a roadblock to doing the Lord’s will—it can deter us from stepping out in faith to accomplish what God calls us to do. It’s no sin to feel insufficient, but we can transgress by not attempting to overcome that attitude. In contrast, a right response to shortcomings can turn inadequacy to blessing.

Even the apostle Paul felt inadequate, but he didn’t allow his feelings to hold him prisoner and prevent his sharing the gospel. (See 1 Tim. 1:15-16.) Instead, he allowed recognition of his limitations to drive him closer to God. For believers, the correct reaction is more prayer and biblical meditation so that our reliance upon the Lord strengthens. As we shed the burden of relying on our own strength, we become motivated to work in the power of the Holy Spirit.

God’s Spirit enables us to achieve whatever it is we are called to do. The disciples followed Jesus for years, but His final instructions left no doubt concerning their limitations: Go and tell the world about Me after you have received the Spirit’s power (Acts 1:4-8). Jesus’ disciples were inadequate, too.

But our inadequacy enables God to demonstrate the great things He can do with so little. Remember that Moses and David were mere shepherds, and Gideon was least among Israel’s men (Judg. 6:15), yet the Lord accomplished amazing feats through them.

Our inadequacy can turn out to be a blessing by driving us into a stronger relationship with God. We can say with Paul, “I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me” (2 Cor. 12:9).

Charles Stanley

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