Paul says we Christians are running a race. Here's what I'm looking at on my run toward Christ.

Friday, March 7, 2014

You are Competent... With Christ

So many of us struggle with feelings of incompetence.  We wonder if we're good enough.  We feel the immense weight of our calling and feel incompetent.  In my last post I wrote that we are letters from God and that we ought to live like letters from God.  I don't know about you, but often I feel unable to do that.

The Apostle Paul, however, was very confident in the Corinthians ability to be letters from God.  He knew that He preached the truth and that the Gospel would change them so that they would be beautiful letters from God.  Look at what he writes in verses 4-6.

"Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God.  Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.  He has made us competent as ministers of the new covenant... not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life."  2 Corinthians 3:4-6

Paul was confident in sharing the Gospel because of two reasons.

1) God is the giver of competence. 

Paul, though incredibly driven and intelligent, said that he was competent to be a minister of the Gospel because of God, not because of himself.  We are in the same boat.  We have no right to feel incompetent to the point of paralyzation, because it isn't you and I that needs to be good enough, it's God.  I don't have to be self-competent to be a minister of the Gospel (and we are all ministers, see the Great Commission).  If you believe that God is able, then you are able when you lean fully on Him.   This is the beauty of being temples of the Holy Spirit... we have the living God in us to work through us to succeed in His mission.

2) The Gospel has great power.

Paul was confident to share the Gospel because the Gospel was and is powerful.  The Gospel in the passage above is called the new covenant.  As I wrote in my previous post, the new covenant is one written on our hearts, not on stone tablets.  The old covenant killed.  No one, except for Jesus, could keep the old covenant.  The old covenant said, "If you obey, then I will bless".  The law made us keenly aware of our sin, our inevitable failure and our need for saving.  The new covenant says, "I will love you and forgive you and I will cause you to obey me".  In the new covenant God is the acting agent.  All who enter into the new covenant will have eternal life with Jesus... ALL!  All who enter into the new covenant will be changed by Almighty God... ALL!

This is confidence.  We don't have to be special and self-competent to have success sharing the Gospel because the Gospel is powerful enough on it's own.  All we have to do is take hold of the confidence we've been given and be bold in sharing and living the Gospel.

If you feel incompetent at times as a minister of the Gospel I want you to know you're normal.  We all feel this way at times.  But I want you to know that there is no reason to feel this way.  God is the giver of competence and the Gospel is powerful.  Therefore be bold.

And the next time you feel incompetent here's what I want you to do.  I want to you say, "Shut up, Satan!"  The Devil is the father of lies and he wants us Christians to believe we're not good enough to be a part of our Father's mission.  Don't believe the lies.  Know that you have been given more than enough to do your job.  If God is for us, who can be against us?  Be a beautiful letter from God today.


  1. The first time I learned this concept, it blew my mind. It totally changed the way I viewed myself, knocked down my pride, and gave me the confidence that came only from true dependence on God. May 2011. I'll never forget that week of staff training at Riverside.

    Two of my favorite passages are very similar:

    "But He [the Lord] said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest upon me." (Or my old NRSV said, "...so the power of Christ may dwell within me.") (2 Cor. 12:9)


    "5 For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us."
    (2 Cor. 4:5-7) -- right after your passage. :)

    I love 2nd Cor. One last verse that came to mind while reading your post --

    "14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Heb. 4:14-16)

    I enjoy your blogs! I look forward to reading them! I don't know if Christine told you my/our plan for Lent. I'm going to put up a blog post about it soon. :)


  2. "The Apostle Paul, however, was very confident in the Corinthians ability to be letters from God." Paul was confident in the Corinthians? The orgy throwing, drunkards, that were the Corinthians? Wow, that's amazing. It's amazing that God can change hearts of stone, and make them people after His own heart.