Charles Stanley - Those Feelings of Inadequacy
I wonder if there is some area of your life that you feel sort of inadequate. I mean, you don't feel like there's quite enough. You're just not up to that. Somewhere you're falling short. You're just not quite happy with yourself. So you feel inadequate. Well, inadequacy is a stumbling block in many ways. On the other hand, there's a side of adequacy and inadequacy that's good.
So when you think about your life, do you feel sufficient and adequate? Or do you feel like, if you could change things, you would change this, or you would change that, or you would change the other? Well, some inadequacy is evident probably in all of our lives at times. We go through situations and circumstances where we don't feel quite up to it or we think something happens in our life that indicates that we're not all we'd like to be or should be or could be. And so we feel like we fall short. But I want you to think about something because in the scripture, it's very clear that God's greatest servants had the same feelings.
So if you go back to Exodus chapter four for a moment; and you'll recall that when God was preparing to free the Israelites from Egypt. And you remember that God spoke to Moses and all Moses had was excuses and so forth. And so here's what he said. Because he felt inadequate, genuinely. Now remember, he he's out in the wilderness keeping sheep and now God wants him to go face Pharaoh, the most powerful man in the world. And the only thing He's going to give him is a stick, a staff. That's pretty tough. So the fourth chapter of Exodus, verse ten says, "Then Moses said to the Lord, 'Please, Lord,'" I love how he said this, "'Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in times past, nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.'" That is, why did he say it? Because he felt very inadequate.
Well, move over to, if you will to Judges and look, if you will, in this sixth chapter of Judges; because here God is calling Gideon, here's what He said to him. He said, "'The Lord is with you, O valiant warrior.'" And he talks about that. And then he says in verse fourteen, "The Lord looked at him and said, 'Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of the Midians.'" For I have sent you. And, "He said to Him, 'O Lord, how shall I deliver Israel? Behold, my family is least in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father's house.'" And so, he, why did he say that? Because he felt very inadequate.
If you turn all the way over to Jeremiah, the prophet Jeremiah, past Isaiah there, and look in that first chapter. It's interesting how these people that God used so mightily, what was their response? In the first chapter of Jeremiah, The scripture says in verse four, "Now the word of the Lord came to him saying, 'Before I formed you in the womb,'" He said, "'I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.'" And what an awesome confirmation, but what's his response? "Then I said, 'Alas, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak.'" And here are two great men of God, Moses and Jeremiah both saying, "thank you for the offer, but I don't even know how to talk".
Why did they respond that way? Because they felt very inadequate. And if you'll turn to Second Corinthians, which is going to be my text, if you'll turn to Second Corinthians and the second and third chapters here. The Apostle Paul, who is an awesome leader in his day. But I want you to look if you will in the third chapter and verse one, because here's what's happening. That is, some of the people in the church at Corinth, they find out the Apostle Paul is coming back and he established the church and so they're giving him a hard time and what credentials do you have?
And so he says in the third chapter, verse one, "Are we beginning to commend ourselves again"? In other words, do I have to come back to tell you who I am and what I'm trying to do? "Or do we need some, letters of recommendation or commendation to you or from you? You are our letter," that is, your salvation, what you're doing in Corinth, you are our commendation and our letter, "written in our hearts," listen, "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". He says, "You are our testimony. You are our commendation". And then he says, "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 has made us adequate as His servants".
So, naturally, feeling inadequate, everybody's felt inadequate about something. And I can certainly think of times I've felt inadequate. When I went to, I was still in seminary and at that point in my life I'd been a Pentecostal up until two or three years before I went to school. And I didn't know anything about, much about Baptists and I didn't know any famous Baptist pastors. I didn't know anything about any of that. And so I was finishing my seminary that semester and I got a letter from the president of this Bible Institute up in North Carolina; and of all the things he was asking me to do is if I would come be on the staff. There's a hundred and fifty some pastors who are already pastors, been pastors a long time. I'm still green as they can be, still in seminary, and he wanted me to preach, he wanted me to teach how to prepare sermons, homiletics, preaching and evangelism. I thought, Dear Lord. I felt absolutely totally inadequate.
Besides, I would have been overwhelmed with the fact that all these men would have been saying, Who is this green fellow coming out of seminary when we've all been pastors a long time. So I was going to write him a letter back and tell him I really couldn't do that and I don't know what excuse I would have given. The real excuse would have been, I feel inadequate and I'm afraid. So I remember the Lord just speaking to my heart and I got down and I started praying and I prayed and prayed and prayed and said, Lord, You know, I've told You I'd do whatever You said do, but this is a little different. And you know, God's not interested in any of that.
Finally I had to say, Yes, I will. I felt totally inadequate. I walked in on the first Monday to face these guys. I felt like Daniel. And I could not tell you why, except that God did what He promised to do. He said to Moses, I'll be with you. He said to Gideon, I'll be with you. He said to Jeremiah, I'll be with you. He said to Paul, I'll be with you. That's all I had to go on. And I spent some of the best years, happiest times of my life teaching in that institute. God will equip you for whatever He wants you to do, but you have to trust Him. But feelings of inadequacy, listen to what Paul said. Paul said for, he says, Who's adequate for these things in this second chapter? He says, We're preaching the gospel; and to some people the gospel brings about salvation; to some people, they reject the gospel and he says, Who are we, who's adequate for these things? These are difficult situations and circumstances.
So, all of us are going to face inadequate things in our life but what we have to remember is what does God say? That's the issue. Not how do I feel, but what does God say? So, the results of being inadequate, for example, one of the major problems of feeling inadequate is that we fail to take advantages of opportunities God gives us. God is continually giving us opportunities. If I go by my feeling of inadequacy, I'll miss this opportunity; I'll miss that one; I'll miss this one; and I'll miss that one. And then I'm going to blame God for not blessing me when the truth is I failed to take advantage of a God-given well-designed opportunity He had just for me or just for you. And so God has designed blessings for all of us. In other words, God intends for His children to grow. I could have said to that president, No, I can't do it. And given him some long reason for not doing so.
And then I think, Lord, I would have missed this, this, this, this, and missed the opportunity of a lifetime, which was a small opportunity versus what I have. But I would have, you see, watch this. When God gives you a little opportunity, you better take it. Because here's the reason. He knows what's coming next. And I think about all the privileges I have to preach the gospel all over the world. If I had said to one man, I can't do that because. And the truth is because I'm afraid; because I feel inadequate. If I'd-a missed that, if I'd-a turned it down, I think, God, my whole life would have been totally different. But I think about if I'd-a said no to God, what I would have missed.
Now, here's the issue. You don't ever know what you'll miss till it's too late. When you step out of the will of God because you feel inadequate to be obedient to God, you walk away from God's power, His help, His strength, and all the ways He wants to bless you. Think about opportunities that you've had. Did you turn them down? Did you say, I'm not up to that? I just don't think; I'm not worthy of that. I don't deserve that. And I do believe there are many people living on a level down here somewhere and they could be up here because God keeps saying, Come on. Come on up, up, up, up, up and oh I can't do that. And listen, you can't convince God of anything that's not true. So telling God that you can't is a waste of time.
And I think there are a lot of people that God wants to bless you; He wants to help you; He wants to strengthen you. whatever you're dealing with. But because you don't feel like you're worthy, listen, the truth is none of us, how many of us are worth salvation? We're not worthy of our salvation. We're not worthy of anything that God gives us. It's the cocky people who miss it. I had a fellow who wanted to be a staff member on one occasion and he came to me and we got to talking. He says, Look, I'm just the man you need. He said, I can do everything you want me to do; everything you've said in this requirement. I can handle it. You hire me and you can forget it. Well, I forgot it all right. Because I knew with that attitude, God wasn't going to help him do anything and I didn't want anybody around me trying to help me to do what God said do and God wasn't with them. And that attitude is a wrong attitude. It's a matter of pride and arrogance, I can handle it.
Well, not many things in life any of us can handle apart from God. And so those feelings are natural, they come and they go. And I think there are three primary reasons that people reject God's call on their life. And that is they fear failure, and then there's a whole issue of finances. And also there's an issue oftentimes of their family. They fear failure. What about their family? What about the finances? And if they can't get that all lined up to suit them, they say no. Then also, I think one of the worst things is that you miss God's designed blessing, as we mentioned before, you miss it. And you don't want to go through life missing God's blessing.
You say, Well, I don't know what God wants to do in my life. I can tell you exactly how to find out. You want to find out? Say amen. You do the next thing He tells you to do. It's that simple. Do the next thing He tells you to do; and the next thing He tells you to do; and the next thing He tells you to do and you'll end up with God's blessing in your life in ways you could never figure it out any other way. Because that's who He is. He's not going to draw you a plan and say, Okay, sit down now. Here's what I want you to do. I'm going to bless you here. We're going to have a problem here. I'm going to bless you, bless you, bless you, bless you, bless you. No, we face difficult times, tough times. And then in those tough times, God does what? He fulfills His promise. And I love what He said to those men we just talked about, Moses and Gideon and Jeremiah and Paul. He says, I'll be with you.
Let me ask you a question. If God tells you to do something and requires of you something you feel inadequate about, can you give me a better solution than listening to God say, I'll be with you. That's it. When you have omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence; when you have love and grace and kindness and forgiveness; when you have all that on your side, it's foolish not to be obedient to God. But that's exactly what people do. "Well, I just, you know, I'm". And I think about this. People say, Well, I'm different. How are you different? That in itself is an act of pride. Well, I know God saves sinners, but. I know so and so, but, but, but. No, if I'm willing to believe God, He'll turn my inadequacy into something that is strong and good and right. But, when people don't, there are results.
And, as we've said before, there'll always be something missing in that person's life. Because unless you're living in the will of God, you're not going to have a sense of the fullness of His presence and His power in your life. It's not going to be there. And if you just decide you're not worthy. In other words, there's something about you that God could, and I've heard people say, Well, God would never bless me that way. Who says so? And besides that, what proof do you have? You don't have any proof. And it's interesting in the scripture that God uses all kinds of characters. And the wonderful thing about God is He doesn't cause us to measure up and then choose us. Well, after you've measured up, I'm going to do thus and so. No, He takes inadequacy. God takes our inadequate areas of life and He uses them to do something in our life that's worthwhile.
Now, there are two areas I think that are most important in this whole issue. And that is when a person is called of God, when the Spirit of God speaks in their heart to save them and they say no. And they say, Well, you don't know how much sin I've committed. Doesn't make any difference. You don't know how bad I've been. You don't know how I've treated people. You don't know of all the things I've done in my life that God couldn't possibly save me when He, when I've done what I've done in my life and I'm ashamed and here I am. I've wasted most of my life. I'm sixty years old or seventy or eighty or whatever it might be, or forty, and look at the terrible life I've lived. Look at all the heartache and pain I've caused other people. And you mean to tell me God's going to save me? Yes! Yes, He will. And the worst thing in the world is to feel like God can't change your life. He majors on that. And it has nothing to do, somebody is saying, Well, you know, I believe He'll save me but I can't live that kind of life. And I always say, Well, neither can I. None of us can do it in our own strength. We would all feel, have a sense of inadequacy.
Think about it. To be, feel inadequate; to live in this crazy, mixed up, sinful, godless age we live in and to live a holy, righteous life. Yes we can if we're willing to trust God, rely upon Him; believe Him and walk in the Spirit of God. So the very idea that a person would not give his life to Christ because you think you can't live it, join us! Nobody can live it apart from Almighty God. You say, Well you don't deserve it. Neither do we. No person's ever deserved, listen, no person's ever deserved the saving grace of God that comes through the shed blood of Jesus Christ at the cross. None of us deserve that. You will not deserve it. You'll never deserve it. You'll die and be lost if you wait until you deserve it. We come just as I am without one plea, but that Thy blood was shed for me. That's the way all of us got saved. And therefore, if you wait till you feel adequate, I can live the Christian life. I can handle it. It'll never happen.
So two major areas, number one, when He calls you for salvation. And secondly, when He calls you for service. If you reject Christ in those two areas, you will never have a life that is fulfilling no matter how much money you make; how much notoriety you get. You'll never feel, you'll never be satisfied with yourself. Think about it. You know people as well as I do who've got everything, everything you can imagine. If they don't have the thing, they've got the money to buy it. They're miserable. They go from one wife or one husband to the other. They've got to make more money and nothing satisfies them. Why? The only satisfaction is to be in the will of God, trusting Him, believing Him. And I think about men whom God has called to preach the gospel, and for some reason, they've rejected Him. I've never met a single person called of God who rejected God's call, who had any happiness, any peace or any success in their life, never. And I've met a lot of folks, and never. There's always some excuse.
So listen, feeling inadequate is okay, if you're willing to deal with it and recognize you have a Heavenly Father that can handle anything He calls you to do. Now, more than likely, you've thought about something that you feel inadequate about. So I ask you a question. What are you going to do about it? You're going to say, Oh yes, mm-hm. That's the way I feel. Or are you going to trust Him no matter what. And if you've never trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior, friend, you're lost. And you know what? You're living in this, you're trying to do it on your own. If you've never trusted Him as your Savior, I know that you feel inadequate about things. Sure you do. No matter how much you have; how much you own; how many marriages you've had; how many things you've accomplished in life, without Jesus you still feel inadequate, because there is only one thing that, listen, gives you that feeling of completeness and wholeness. And that is the Son of God living within you because you confessed and repented of your sins, trusted your life to Him and let Him begin to work in your life.
Well, if you've never trusted Christ as your Savior, let me ask you a question. If you haven't, can you give me a better time than right now? You say, Well, maybe tomorrow. You could be dead. Well, I'm going to do it one of these days. Who says you're going to have one of these days? The wisest thing you can do is say, Lord, I've sinned against You. I'm asking You to forgive me not because I deserve it, but because I need forgiveness and cleansing. I surrender my life to You right now; receive Christ as my personal Savior; thanking You for His death on the cross. And Lord, here's my life, by Your grace would You save me? And His answer is yes. And that's my prayer for you. Until you do that, you're going to always feel something's not there. You know why? Because you can't fill up with things that which only the Spirit of God can fill in your life. He's available. He's ready, if you're willing to ask Him to forgive you of your sins and place your life in His hands and watch Him work. It's amazing what God can do with so little, if we'll let Him. Amen?
Father, we love You and praise You and thank You this morning. Thank You, dear Father, that You take that which is so inadequate, so little, so ill-equipped, so undeserving, and turn it into something that You would bless again and again and again. We thank You that You've blessed all of us here who were saved. You've blessed us with the most valuable thing You have to give; and that is our salvation. And with that comes Your presence every single moment of our life. We love You. We praise You, and we bless You today. In Jesus' name, amen.