Crossing the Line
I don't know about you, but I often walk the line between confidence in what God has placed in me and asked me to do, and the uncertainty that I am the right person for The Job. (I mean, does He even know me? What if the "real me" slips out?)
Maybe I'm the only one, but I don't think I am.
So often, we beg God to use us in part of His plan but we forget that He invited us long before we desired to be included. Once we get a glimpse of our part, though, we fail to move forward because we get tripped up by our lack--our lack of resources, our lack of knowledge, our lack of courage. We let our deficits lead our decisions.
Paul could have very well walked this same line. If you are not familiar with who Paul is in the Bible, let me briefly introduce you: he was probably the smartest and most religious Jewish man of his time and he hated Christians to the point of hunting them down to murder them--that is, until he encountered Christ Himself. He went on to spread the truth throughout most of the known world, planting churches, suffering hardships & persecution, and eventually writing much of what we now call the New Testament in the Bible. He gave all he had to showcase who Christ was and how Christ's followers should live. He is definitely someone I admire.
However, in Ephesians 3:8, Paul claims that he is less than the least of all the Lord's people.
Well, I certainly didn't see that coming. To be honest, it's probably the closest thing to "something in common" I could ever have with Paul--this feeling that I'm less than the least.
But, his claim doesn't stop there. In fact, if you read the whole verse in its entirety, you see that he doesn't really walk the line between uncertainty and confidence. Instead, he crosses over the line by admitting that, "Although I am less than the least of all the Lord's people, this grace was given me..." and goes on to list the difficult things he has been called and equipped to do, admitting in essence that while he lacks the power to do these things on his own, he has been given a source of power than cannot be denied--the grace of God.
He follows this declaration with a mighty prayer for the church he is writing to, and I think it's so appropriate for believers today, spelling out just how you and I can cross that same line:
"When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.
Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen." Ephesians 3:14-21
When we understand the love that God has for us, we begin to believe that we can do the job God has called us to do, because He loves us too much to let us falter or fail. He shows this love, in part, by empowering us with an inner strength which allows us to--despite our own deficits--get The Job done. And, in the end, because of His power in us, we not only complete our assignment with confidence, but we do so much more--more than we could ever ask or imagine!
So, will you stop walking the line today and commit instead to crossing over it?