Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Inferiority Complex

Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God."

-- Mark 10:27

If you’re even a casual sports fan, you’ve no doubt seen it dozens of times. It’s that “John 3:16” sign that at least one fan brings to the stadium:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

This simple sentence is really the Bible’s message in a nutshell. It’s the Gospel, which translated means “good news.” And good news it is! For Christ-followers, it means there’s no more reason to fear death. All our past, present and future failures won’t be held against us. And because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, all believers can look forward to endless days of unimaginable joy and celebration.

That’s great for after we’ve finished our short lives on Earth. But what about everything before then? What does God have to tell us about getting through the challenges of everyday life and following Him day by day? Well, here’s some more good news: God is for the little guy (and gal) who says “Yes” to Him and His plans – even when we feel inadequate or inferior. And we know that because it’s a consistent theme throughout both the Old and New Testaments.

Let’s look at some examples. There was Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his own brothers and unjustly imprisoned in Egypt. But God made him that powerful nation’s governor and used him to save Israel from famine. Mighty King David started out as an obscure shepherd boy. But God used him and his slingshot to slay Goliath – the fearsome 8-foot-tall leader of Israel’s arch enemy, the Philistines. Moses was a poor speaker who stuttered, yet God chose him to face Pharaoh, bring the Israelites out of slavery and lead them to the Promised Land. And let’s not forget the Apostle Peter. He was a lowly fisherman who actually disowned Jesus three times when things got tough. Yet God still picked him to lead the growing band of Christ-followers in Jerusalem and help spread the faith across the known world.

Today’s Christ-followers are like the heroes of the Bible in many ways. We’re imperfect human beings that can fail to hear God’s call or even decide to avoid or refuse it. We sometimes feel discouraged and abandoned when we don’t feel God’s presence. And our self-image is often one of inadequacy. But the truth is that God knows the plans He has for us. He also sees us for what we can become, not for who we are at the moment.

Saying yes to God starts with listening for His call and asking Him for the wisdom and power to discern His message and do His will. And as for all things with Christ-followers, it’s our God-provided faith in Jesus makes it possible.

“I am the vine, and you are the branches,” explains the Gardener. “If you stay joined to me, and I stay joined to you, then you will produce lots of fruit. But you cannot do anything without me.”

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