A sense of inadequacy can be your best friend. In today’s world, our society sees itself as a modern culture complete with all of the conveniences of modern life, and for much of the western world, comforts afforded by freedom and prosperity. As a result, we have very little need for God’s help or assistance, much less companionship and relationship.
This independent and self-sufficient attitude unfortunately trickles over into our spiritual lives. We often treat God as a consultant who is available when a need for Him arises. Most of our everyday lives we can handle on our own.
John 15:5 says:
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
I love the illustration about abiding in Christ and bearing fruit. Here Christ gives us a beautiful picture of what it means to be connected to God and Him living His life in and through us. The “problem” that I have with this verse is that I really want to be able to make fruit on my own. There are a lot of things I can do on my own. Certainly, I don’t have to depend on God for everything.
But that is really the point of this passage. We really can’t do anything without him. He gives life and breath, provision for food, housing, and health. He is the source of peace, joy and love. He is a companion and friend. He is our savior and redeemer. My salvation is totally dependent on Him.
Yet Christ didn’t come to bring us a sense of inadequacy. He came to live his life through us. It is possible to overemphasize our inabilities and live paralyzed by fear and defeat. There are many passages of scripture that would speak to the contrary including Phil. 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” and 2 Tim. 1:7 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind”.
However, it is important to be reminded that our strength is from Him and it is though Him that we do what we do. I remember the first time I led chapel here at Cedarville University. There seemed to be some unrest and nervousness that accompanied the occasion. While some of it was a normal reaction to new circumstances, there was also some pressure of my colleagues watching me lead chapel for the first time and others who might be evaluating me as the new church music and worship professor.
Although I was very prepared, I decided to embrace the feelings of inadequacy and be reminded that I needed God for everything–even a relatively short chapel worship set. I also prayed that God would remind me of this feeling often and remind me of my need for him.
We are singing this great old hymn Sunday. May it help us recognize our inadequacy!
I need Thee every hour, most gracious Lord;
No tender voice like Thine can peace afford.
I need Thee, O I need Thee;
Every hour I need Thee;
O bless me now, my Savior,
I come to Thee.
I need Thee every hour, stay Thou nearby;
Temptations lose their power when Thou art nigh.
I need Thee every hour, in joy or pain;
Come quickly and abide, or life is in vain.
I need Thee every hour; teach me Thy will;
And Thy rich promises in me fulfill.
I need Thee every hour, most Holy One;
O make me Thine indeed, Thou blessèd Son.