Devotional by Stephen Estock

February 17, 2014

How do you respond when you feel inadequate?

In May 2013, Mike Kennison preached a sermon on 1 Cor. 4. His explanation and application challenged me in specific ways. He mentioned that a common response in dealing with inadequacy is to flee. I encounter a tough problem at work, and I procrastinate. Tensions develop with another person, and I begin to avoid them. My wife “nags” me about a problem that I’m not sure how to solve, and I pull away from her emotionally with my short temper or silence.

Our culture does something similar. Athletes no longer produce the way they did in the past. The crowd responds to the athlete’s inadequacy by “roasting” him in the press or marginalizing him on the team.

There are two things to keep in mind about dealing with inadequacy:

  1. Inadequacy is part of life in this era of redemptive history – we still wrestle with the effects of the Fall. (1 Cor. 4:9, 11-13) We are weak because 1) we are opposed by a powerful enemy; 2) we are kept in a state where we must rely on God rather than self, 3) we are continually reminded that the current state is not worthy of being our final home.
  2. Though others may pull away, God is still present to strengthen. In 1 Cor 3:16, Paul reminds them that they are God’s Temple in whom the Holy Spirit dwells. In 2 Cor 4, we refers to believers as jars of clay in whom is a great treasure – to show that the power to work comes not from ourselves, but from God. In Php 4, Paul refers to living in adequate circumstances when he says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

When feeling inadequate, we pull away because we see the bankruptcy of our strength. We must turn our eyes to God who leads “fools” in parade, and uses them for his purposes.