Summary: Part 3 in series Every Thought Captive. This message explores the lie, "I’m too weak to serve God effectively."
I’m Too Weak
Every Thought Captive, part 3
Wildwind Community Church
Feb. 4, 2007
Matthew 4:1 (NIV)
1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.
Have you ever been in the desert? The desert is the place where you are no longer surrounded by things that bring you comfort. It’s the place where you are perhaps tempted in extraordinary ways. It’s the place where you are more aware than usual of your weakness, your humanity, your emptiness, your sin. And if you understand the desert well enough, it can be the place where you learn to serve God not because it feels good, not because of the highs, not because of immediate reward, but simply because that is what you have decided to do and – come hell or high water – you’re going to do it.
Susan Muto wrote: When we follow Jesus into the desert, we are likely to experience what could be called ego desperation. Basically this means acknowledging that our life is not nor ever will be completely under our control. In the desert the pillars of human power, pleasure and possession are smashed. One feels powerless, miles away from sources of immediate gratification, the owner of little or nothing of material value. One cannot barter one’s way out of loneliness and silence. One can only wait until it passes on the wings of faith and hope.
The desert is a time when we are supposed to feel our weakness. We are supposed to feel inadequate. We are supposed to doubt ourselves because it is in doubting ourselves that we are able to focus our faith squarely on God. That’s the point of the desert. The desert is given to us, as it was to Jesus, as a blessing. Notice our text says Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert. God took him to that place. God desired that Jesus spend time there and endure the difficulties he faced there. Sometimes in your life, God will lead you into a desert. You will face seasons of extra difficulty, extra suffering, extra temptation. During those times you will have to call on all your discipline, all your faith, to get through. And still you will find yourself coming up short. You will realize that only God is sufficient. My friends, there are times in our lives when we need to be reminded of our weakness and insufficiency.
The problem is that many Christians today are living desert lives. Like, always! “I’m weak. I stink. I can’t live this life. I can’t follow God. I can’t do anything right. I’m a loser. I’m a mental case. I’m just too weak.” Do you know what this misses? It misses the important truth that God has chosen YOU. You. In all your weakness. In all your lack of confidence. God has called your weak, stinky, can’t-live-this-life, can’t-follow-God, can’t-do-anything-right, loser, mental case self to not only follow Him, but to do great things for Him. And you think, “Who am I? Why would God choose me for these things? I’m nobody special.” My friends, hear me, please. God does not choose special people. He just doesn’t. God chooses ordinary people and gives them opportunities to exercise extraordinary faith. The Bible and the pages of history books are full of nobodys who became somebodys for no other reason than the fact that God chose them. Had God not chosen them, they might have lived the same selfish, quivering-mass-of-needs lives most other people live. The Apostle Paul was on course for that kind of life. So was every one of the disciples Jesus called. So was practically every person Jesus encountered in the gospels.
I want to talk to you today about the lie that you are too weak to serve God. The lie that your flaws are too profound for God to be able to do anything with you. The lie that nothing holy, nothing spiritually worthwhile, can ever come from your life. This is a lie, my friends. Some of you are Christ-followers here today and you are listening to this lie and as a result you are spiritually weak and flabby, less available to God than you need to be, and completely lacking in spiritual power and authority. Some of you here today are not Christ-followers, have never made that commitment with your lives. And I’ll bet for at least some of you that’s because you believe this lie. You think you can never be good enough, you are too bad of a person to serve God, God can’t really do anything with you. I’m glad you’re here today. Thank you for coming. And if it’s okay for me just to say this gently, I think you are wrong today. You are wrong if you think that God can’t use you. You are wrong that your life can never be more than it is right now. You are wrong that you can’t break old habits, wrong that you can’t change, wrong that what you’ve done is too bad even for God to deal with, wrong that your sin and your mistakes are unredeemable. Let’s look at the rest of our text today and I want to spend time addressing this lie that keeps so many Christians from living spiritually powerful lives, and so many others from ever surrendering their lives to God in the first place.