Do You Feel Inferior?
1 Corinthians 1:26-31
You’ve heard the old punch line, “You don’t have an inferiority complex—you’re just inferior”? If you struggle with inferiority, it’s not very funny. Many of us do. We feel so inferior, we’re convinced “God can’t use me.”
I hope through His Word God will remove that thought from your mind. He can use you now, right where you are and with what you have. In 1 Corinthians 1:26 and following, note some key words from the Apostle Paul:
26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in His presence.
God uses the foolish and simple (v. 27).
The word “foolish” here comes from a Greek word that literally means the nonintellectual, those who were not the head of the class, PhDs or Phi Beta Kappas. God chooses the simple to confound the wise.
God uses the weak.
The word used here literally means those who are physically weak, without strength, even sickly, to confound the mighty.
Many of us believe we’re unimportant and of little value to God and His kingdom—we're on the sidelines while the superstars get out there and do their stuff.
Not so. God takes ordinary people and does extraordinary things through them, thereby bringing more glory to Himself! God uses the non-superstars to confound the PhDs and All-Americans.
God has been looking for people just like you. In fact, God actually goes after them. You see, God’s plan, the one that brings Him the most glory, is to use the weak things of this world to confound the wise. Now, if you’re listed in “Who’s Who” or voted “Most Likely to Succeed,” God can still use you, but He'll have to work a little bit harder to do it. I’m serious about that.
God uses “base” things (v. 28).
Those the world says lack the proper pedigree—people from the wrong side of the tracks—God uses. Gideon was hiding from the Midianites when the angel of the Lord appeared saying, “Hail, mighty man of valor!” If there's anything Gideon wasn’t, it was “mighty man of valor.” Gideon was a chicken with a capital C. “Lord, my family is the poorest in Manasseh and I’m the least in my father's house. I'm the runt of the litter. You’ve hit the bottom of the barrel—you can't use me.” But I believe God was thinking, “You're just about low enough that I can use you.”
The Bible says, “and the Spirit of the Lord clothed Himself with Gideon.” God wore Gideon like you would wear a jacket, and it wasn't Gideon’s talents, it was God in Gideon who took an ordinary man and did extraordinary things. And who got the glory? God.
God uses the despised.
Those the world scorns and actually laughs at, God has chosen. Remember, young David was despised and even mocked by his own brothers when he came against Goliath, wanting the world to know “there is a God in Israel.” A teenage boy goes against Goliath, wins the victory, and everybody says, “To God be the glory.”
God uses things which are not.
Maybe you’re not even hated or ridiculed. “People don’t even know I'm here.” God uses “things which are not, to bring to naught things that are.” The Holman Christian Study Bible says it this way:
28 God has chosen what is insignificant and despised in the world—what is viewed as nothing—to bring to nothing what is viewed as something, 29 so that no one can boast in His presence.
Those who never preached a sermon, never had their name in the church bulletin, not even led in silent prayer in the nursery—can still be used. Billy Sunday, an ex‑baseball player and a YMCA clerk, won over a million men to Jesus Christ. Someone has well said it doesn't take much of a man to be a Christian, it just takes all there is of him.
Thank God for the notables who love Jesus. Paul himself was one of the most brilliant men of his generation. But before God could use him, Paul had been brought to the place where he could truthfully say, “I count all these things but loss that I might win Christ” (Philippians 3:8). He laid them in the dust before the Lord Jesus Christ
No matter what abilities you have, every nerve, every sinew must be given to God. Anything less is not enough for the Lord Jesus Christ.
It’s all by God’s power.
30 But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, (that’s where you are—in Christ Jesus) who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption 31 That, according as it is written, “He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”
You see, you are in Christ, Christ is in you, and anything you lack (wisdom, righteousness, etc.), Jesus supplies. I may be ordinary, but He is extraordinary. He is in me, and He does it through me.
One of the greatest secrets I ever learned came after I was already in the ministry: God doesn't want me to do anything for Him. He wants to do something through me.
That’s a fundamental truth: God wants to do something through you. The Bible says “It is God that worketh in you, both to will and to do His good pleasure” Philippians 2:13).
Do you know what the greatest ability is? Availability! We need to make ourselves available and say,
“Dear God, I'm tired of being inhibited. I want to be inhabited. Come inhabit my humanity and live Your life through me. Then I can say, Nevertheless I live. Yet, not I, but Christ liveth in me. And the life I now live, I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
That's what God is about: taking ordinary people, doing extraordinary things, and getting glory to Himself.
Everyone knows the name Billy Graham, but if you trace the story of how Billy Graham got saved, it goes all the way back to an obscure Sunday school teacher who won Dwight L Moody, a shoe clerk, to the Lord. Moody transformed the ministry of the great F. B. Meyer. Meyer then changed the life of Wilbur Chapman, who then transformed Billy Sunday, whose powerful revival in Charlotte, North Carolina, started a prayer group which then called Mordecai Ham to their city to hold revival, and it was at that crusade that Billy Graham gave his heart and life to Jesus Christ! Few know the name of Mr. Kimball, that obscure Sunday School teacher, but I guarantee you God knows his name.
God knows you Sunday school teachers, ushers, people in the sound booth and in the nursery. Not a cup of cold water will be given that He doesn’t take notice. Friend, God is keeping the score. He takes the nobody’s who are really God's somebody's and uses them in an extraordinary way.
Why does He do this? “29That no flesh should glory in His presence.”
There won’t be any peacocks in heaven. No human ones, at least.
That’s why He saves us by grace, not works, “lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8) and “no flesh glory in His presence.”
God will judge you on whether or not you filled that place He had for you. What is that place? It’s the highest place in the world. It’s not being Billy Graham or a Christian “superstar.” It’s being in the center of His will for you, wherever that is.
If you want to be used of God, you can be. You may not be used the way you want to be. You don't choose your place of service. What matters is, are you willing to be used the way God wants to use you?
Here is what I so often pray. Whether you are known or unknown, mighty or weak, base or noble, if you can pray this and mean it, you’ll be used mightily of God.
“Lord Jesus, inhabit my humanity. Do what You want to do in me. I am available. I yield myself to You, dear God, to do, be, say and think what You want me to.”
Don't insult the grace of God by saying God can’t use you. God has been looking for somebody just like you.
In 2020 especially, give those you love the personal touch only a hand-signed Christmas card provides. And while you’re at it, send a card that speaks to the world’s greatest need, the love and salvation found only through Jesus Christ! INSIDE THE CARD: The real wonder of Christmas is that the answer to our most difficult questions came to us as a child. Jesus is the answer. He is the greatest Love worth finding.