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Is Your ‘Competency’ Robbing God?

2 Mar

I read this grandmother’s story and laughed out loud!

“I didn’t know if my young granddaughter had learned her colors yet, so I decided to test her,” the grandma said. “I would point out a CrayonPieces_croppedcrayon and ask what color it was. She would tell me, and she was always correct.

“It was fun for me, so I continued,” she said. “But when it was time for my granddaughter to leave, she turned and said, ‘Grandma, I think you should try to figure out some of these colors yourself!” *

That sounds like something my granddaughter would say … while rolling her eyes! But in this story, the granddaughter only wanted her Grandma to become more competent, instead of leaning so hard on her.

I want to confess something. That is how I used to picture my relationship with God.

I thought that God wanted me to become so competent I’d stop leaning on Him for everything. I viewed spiritual maturity as “not needing God” so much.

Was I ever wrong!

God does expect us to strive for excellence. (Slackers and deadbeats don’t honor Him.) But if we think we can ever do anything without God’s help, we’re believing a devilish lie.  The enemy wants us to become self-sufficient and independent from our Creator and His plans for us.

I think it’s part of our culture to view self-reliance as a mark of success; and it’s tempting to carry this over into our walk with God. But we can’t fall for that lie. We’re never going to stop needing God; we will always need to depend on Him.

Anything less than total dependency on God leaves room for PRIDE.

The heart of pride believes (or acts like), “I can do this without you, Lord” … or “I’ll take it from here.” We rely on our own strength, our own perspective, our own resources. We shrink our lives to the size of our own capabilities, our own competence. And that’s not living a supernatural adventure with God, is it?

I used to think my life would glorify the Father when I finally got strong enough to move forward in faith without pestering God with prayers for His help. The problem was, functionally my faith was in myself. I was operating as if there were no God, because I didn’t ask Him for His input, wisdom or strength. Now, I understand that God is glorified in my childlike trust, in my utter dependence on Him. Instead of self-confidence, He wants me to cultivate God-confidence!

God wants to show Himself mighty in us and through us. Anything less robs God of the glory He deserves.

It’s not about my strength and agenda, it’s about His (Job 42:2; Proverbs 3:5-7). It’s not about building my self-centered kingdom, it’s about seeking His Kingdom (Matthew 6:33).

Being competent is not wrong, but our competency must be in Him. Only the Lord is sufficient to meet our needs and enable us to accomplish His purposes (2 Corinthians 3:5). His all-sufficient grace, operating in us, becomes our sufficiency, our competence for the good works He calls us to do (2 Corinthians 9:8; 12:9) as ministers of the new covenant of the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:6a).

This competence in the Spirit—depending on Him for everything—does not rob God; it glorifies Him.

Do you struggle with “competency” in the flesh? Where does this show up in your life? How can you cultivate God-confidence?

* Story is adapted

Confidence in Christ and Nothing Else!

16 Jan

I’m a big fan of Sharon Jaynes‘ writing, and her book, Listening to God Day By Day*, is packed with simple truths for deep meditation; but as I read one devotional, I burst into laughter!

Sharon wrote in the devotional “Confidence to Bank On” of her attempt to act confident as she went into a bank to buy traveler’s checks. She didn’t know what to do, and admitted that she didn’t even know what they looked like!

“I walked in the bank,” Sharon wrote, “and confidently, as though I had done this a million times, announced to the teller, ‘Excuse me, I would like to buy some traveler’s checks.’

“Without looking up, she asked, ‘What denomination?’

“I thought that was a strange question,” Sharon said, “but answered, ‘Presbyterian. We go to a Presbyterian church.’

“The teller looked up, the corner of her lips curled into a sardonic grin as she said, ‘No, honey. I mean, do you want your checks in twenties or fifties?'”

Sharon’s confidence plummeted, and later, as she sat in her car praying, she heard God’s still, small voice speak to her heart:  “Sharon, you will never have true confidence until you understand who you are in Me.”

I have to confess that when I read those words, my eyes filled with tears. They reminded me of a turning-point moment when I heard God’s voice ~ a moment that changed how I speak.

As I spoke to a group of young women, I waved my arms and knocked my notes from the podium. That might not be a biggie for some speakers, but for me ~ overly dependent on notes ~ it was a catastrophe.

I bent over to pick them up. And you know how, when you bend over, the blood rushes to your head? I almost fell off the stage, and the audience didn’t know whether to laugh or lunge forward to help.

Finally stabilizing behind the podium, I looked down at my out-of-order notes, and then, wide-eyed, shot hopeless glances across the audience. Some women were still grinning; others shook their heads with their mouths open. A few had their heads bowed ~ either embarrassed for me or praying.

“Well now,” I said, leaving the notes on the podium and walking toward the edge of the platform,  “I wonder what God’s going to do with the mess I’ve made of things.”

I prayed for a miracle, and it turned out to be one of the best messages I ever shared, because as I tried to remember what I’d written, the Lord filled in the blanks with fresh messages of His own choosing. I remember thinking, even as I spoke ~ Dawn, who you have become in Christ is more powerful than any words on a page. 

That day, I had amazing God-confidence in a crazy, messed-up circumstance. I learned that “I can do everything through Him (Christ) who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:19). I discovered ~ though I often forget ~ that my true confidence is always in Christ and nothing else.

Friend, do you need a reminder of who you are in Jesus and all that you have because of what He accomplished for you? This link, titled “In Christ: Identity, Security, Dignity,” has a list of truths to consider. If you let them sink in, they will change your heart; and meditating on them will certainly boost your confidence level!

I want to close with the simple prayer Sharon offered at the end of her devotional. Will you pray this with me?

“Dear God, You are my confidence. I know I can do very little on my own strength, but because of the power of the Holy Spirit that You have placed in me, I can do everything You have called me to do. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

* Sharon Jaynes, Listening to God Day by Day: A 15-minute Devotional (Harvest House Publishers, 2008/2011), pp. 69-70.

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