May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (Hebrews 13:20-21).
You may have heard the phrase “God doesn’t call the equipped — he equips the called.” I am not sure who first coined this phrase. This truth encourages me often when I feel inadequate to face challenges or when someone assigns me something that overwhelms me. Can you relate?
Followers of Jesus have experienced this truth through the centuries, since the calling of the first disciples. The disciples were ordinary people like you and me. They weren’t the most highly educated, charismatic, or influential people of their day. They didn’t hold the highest positions with the best pedigree or resume filled with accomplishments and awards. Jesus called the ordinary and then did extraordinary things through them. He changed the world and continues to change the world!
At every stage of my journey with Jesus, he has asked me to take on assignments for which I felt inadequate. I knew that without him I would fail. I kept crying out for the Lord to make me confident and strong so I could tackle any challenge and wouldn’t experience fear or anxiety. He answered my prayers in the most surprising way. He gave me what I needed when I needed it — not before. He gave me what I needed at each stage but I didn’t necessarily feel stronger or more confident. Now I see his wisdom in not answering my prayer.
What I didn’t realize then but know now is that my strength and confidence are in him and not myself. After 34 years of following him, I still am dependent upon the Lord moment by moment to give me what I need and equip me to do what he calls me to do.
God’s Word is true
He calls whom he chooses and then equips them. He really does choose those who seem inadequate or weak in this world. In fact, in 1 Corinthians 1:26-29, Paul tells us to remember, “Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things — and the things that are not — to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.”
1 Peter 2:9 says we are chosen to declare the praises of him who called us out of darkness and into his wonderful light.
2 Peter 1:3 explains it is God’s divine power that gives us everything we need for living a godly life through him who called us for his own glory.
In Philippians 2:13, Paul reiterates that it is God who works in us to will and to act to fulfill his good purpose.
Romans 9:11-12 says that “God chooses people according to his own purposes; he calls people, but not according to their good or bad works.”
In Hebrews 13, Paul’s benediction and final greetings offer a blessing. “Now may the God of peace, who… brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus… equip you with everything good for doing his will” (everything you need for accomplishing his will). He is the One who works within us what is pleasing to him.
So what is our part?
If you are feeling weak and inadequate, ill-equipped for your assignment from God, you are in good company. All through the ages, your brothers and sisters have struggled with the same feelings. But what great hope we have! He promises to equip us with everything we need for doing his will — everything we need within and without.
First, we have to be willing to surrender ourselves to his will. Jesus said that he loves the Father and he does exactly what the Father says. We follow his example. We have to allow him to work in us and equip us. Cooperate with him. Believe him. Listen to him. Obey him. Follow his instructions. We don’t have to do these things in our own strength — he works within us by his Spirit. His is the power. He raised Jesus from the dead. His will originates with him and he is working within us to bring it to fruition.
May the Lord himself encourage and strengthen you today. May he remind you that you do need him moment by moment, but it is nothing to be ashamed of — we were designed to rely on him moment by moment throughout our lifetime. He is our very life. ******updated July 2019******
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