You would think after a decade working the same job I’d feel an unbroken stream of confidence that I am exactly where I need to be, doing precisely what I am called to do, and able to meet the challenges of each day with conviction. There are certainly days like that — praise God! But, more times that I’d like to admit, nagging concerns distract me.
Will my kindergartener survive my rookie parenting skills? Is my work helping others? What could I be doing to be and do better? What if I mess it all up? Are all these problems because I am the way I am? Will this decision unravel all our progress? What if I’m just not up to the task?
Thanks to personality tests, parenting podcasts, and Instagram accounts dedicated to the enneagram, I know how to talk myself into enough courage to get through a day — sometimes even a whole week. But my truest freedom from self-doubt, worry, and imposter syndrome has been through the apostle Paul’s teachings to the Christians living in Corinth.
According to the Scriptures, we are competent because of God.
Isn’t that the best news? By the power of the Holy Spirit, I’m hopeful that truth will change me. If we would only let God’s sufficiency determine our confidence levels.
The book of 2 Corinthians is one of my favorite books of the Bible. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul articulates the ups and downs of life and, more specifically, a Christ follower’s highs and lows. His brutal honesty is refreshing and endearing. He opens his letter by addressing some of the most pressing issues of his life and then poses a question about who is qualified to share the Gospel, to serve God as one of His ministers. And I think his rhetorical question is designed to remind us, all of us, that no one is really qualified to carry on Christ’s work here on earth.
And yet, Paul finds confidence enough to live through terrible circumstances, the betrayal of friends and colleagues, and physical challenges that might take anyone out of his or her calling. But he doesn’t find his fortitude or aptitude in his methods, his resume, his experience, or even the testimony of others (although he’s the first to point out he’s got that resume in check). Instead, he chooses to believe his qualifications come from God, through Christ, and by the Spirit:
Such is the confidence we have through Christ before God. It is not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God. — 2 Corinthians 3:4-5 CSB
What a relief to hear Paul say we are not competent in ourselves. We don’t need to fear that truth. Instead, our adequacy comes from God Himself. Now that’s what I call freedom.
The word competent in this passage means “enough, sufficient in ability, and/or the right fit.” Where would the enemy tempt you to believe you are not enough, your abilities fall short, or that you are just not the right fit for __________? Well, maybe you’re not — in and of yourself. But with God, we can unreservedly embrace our position as image bearers of God and heralds of the good news that Jesus is alive.
Maybe that’s why Paul follows up his thesis about our calling with this statement:
Therefore, having such a hope, we use great boldness. — 2 Corinthians 3:12 HCSB
I can see how assurance in our callings could produce great boldness in our lives.
Working for a boutique marketing company, I spent several seasons in tech support for our web-based clients. On a daily basis, I received calls from frustrated website users desperate for answers. On a few occasions their questions would stump me, but, thankfully, I sat right next to the genius architect of the whole system. Anytime I’d admit I didn’t know the work-around to a specific problem but mentioned that I was a few steps away from the expert’s desk and he was available to help us, the callers didn’t mind a brief hold for answers.
Using my experience in tech support to illustrate God’s supernatural ability to compensate for our deficiencies feels a little trite because God is so much more than a cosmic help desk. But you get my point.
What if we started asking God to help us with our daily needs as if He’s willing and able? What If we started to believe we can call on God anytime, for anything, and He will have what we need in that moment?
According to Paul, we will find newfound boldness because our hope in God’s sufficiency changes everything.
Written for Devotionals Daily by Kat Armstrong, author or No More Holding Back.
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Are you walking in boldness even if you may not have the answers, may not have the necessary skills or abilities? God has your back! Be bold in your calling! Come share your thoughts on our blog. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily