Unqualified vs qualified….finding I am in you.
Exodus 3:1414 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.[c] This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”
For Easter service our pastor in his sermon said he was going to preach to himself and in preaching to himself he hopes he can touch the lives of anyone listen. So here I am preaching to myself. So I started reading a new book, after reading the book I was inspired to write this, for I felt the words of preaching to myself and the contents of the book answered a question that has been lingering for quite some time. So here I am preaching to myself, hoping in doing so anyone reading this can gain something.
The book is entitled Unqualified – How God Uses Broken People to Do Big Things By Steven Furtik. This book got me thinking not only about the many questions I have had recently, but also about my own self-worth, and my purpose in ministry. It also got me thinking to God’s response to Moses. “…‘I am has sent me to you.’”
Maybe I am headed in the right path. It feels like my own personal questions are being answered or shall I say are continuously being answered.
A few months ago I started a Christian leadership course…Passed with flying colors and received my Christian leadership certificate, then I began taking other courses to expand in my own personal discourse with God, and maybe someday I can utilize this to be a better servant of Chris in any way he deems fit.
A few weeks ago a conversation came up with two members here (you know who you are) about more active participation. Now it seems like it is all starting to fall into place, my prayers being answered. Maybe the same I am who sent Moses to Egypt is also trying to communicate with me, it seems like I am listening to I am in various conversations and modes (preaching’s and via literature). He didn’t send a burning bush to tell me he is I am instead he used people around me, circumstances and the books to communicate to me.
So now here it goes the bigger question….am I Qualified or Unqualified? The same question Furtick asked, the same question Moses and many others throughout biblical history have probably asked, and what many people continue to ask today. Am I qualified?
Who can answer that? You? Me? The council? God? Ahh God deciphers that, but we already knew that, but for some reason we still search for several forms of validations, us humans love to be validated/ acknowledged for some reason. I’ve never liked the lime light, I have organized charity work, political venues, helped ran campaigns, have partook behind the scenes in secular and non-secular events, and I have always kind of liked not taking the credit for a lot of the civic and non-civic work I have done. Though many feel I am qualified to do many things, I have always felt a sense of unqualified in many of my works, despite the blood, sweat, tears and time I spend in all my projects.
In reading Furtik’s book, it highlighted historical figures who were unqualified by man’s standards but god qualified them because they met the need he needed for that time. He also highlights our own self perceptions of how we qualify or un-qualify ourselves based on societies qualitative and quantitative means.
Here are a few Biblical examples, of people whom society deemed unqualified but God qualified them to their destined callings that have shaped Christianity as we know it today. We know there are many more but here are just a few whom have been qualified despite being unqualified:
Jacob – cheater/ deceiver
Isaac – day dreamer
Moses – stuttered
Noah – got drunk
Jonah – ran from god
David – had affairs
Simon (Peter – Petros- in Greek means rock…go figure he became the rock of Christianity) – had a temper
Paul – murderer
Gideon – insecure,
Miriam – a gossiper,
Martha – a worrier,
Thomas – a doubter,
Sara – impatient,
Elijah – moody,
Rehab – a prostitute,
Samson – he liked prostitutes.
Isaiah – preached naked for three years,
Jeremiah – way too emotional,
Abraham – old
Lazarus – dead.
I – am human, I un-qualify myself daily and I am subject to sin
You? – (you don’t have to answer this to me, maybe here is a good point to stop for a few seconds for self-reflection…I know I have)
God doesn’t call those, whom we think are qualified, He qualifies those whom are called! Don’t doubt yourself. You all have a calling. Are you willing to wake up and let him use your talents?
I am waking up; I want my talents to be used.
He qualified a deceiver, a drunk, a prostitute, a womanizer, the uneducated…. Why wouldn’t he be able to qualify you and I in all our faults and lack thereof to be a blessing upon someone else in his name? He can and he will if you open up, if you use your weakness and make them a part of your strengths. .
Stop comparing yourselves to each other. This one is smarter, prettier, thinner, nicer eyes, better dressed, more eloquent, sings better, this one doesn’t acknowledge me, that one hasn’t noticed me…. None of that truly matters… Your heart, deeds walking in Christ, overcoming the sins you constantly battle are what counts, using your weakness to help strengthen and encourage others.do not fall back with gossip, bad mouthing, etc. that leads to nowhere. We all have our roles to play, some get the leading roles, and some have minor roles. It’s what we do as a collective as the church and body of Christ that allows us to grow.
When Jesus called the 12 disciples, most of them were not even educated. Yet, Jesus equipped them and they changed the world. They each had 12 different roles to play.
When Paul wrote to the Corinthians, he told them 1 Corinthians 1:26 (ESV) “For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.” But they were chosen, by who me? The gentiles? No by God! They were chosen despite their lack of education, besides of their status, they were chosen not based on society’s standards but God’s alone. Don’t let society’s standards take you back. It is easier said than done, we do always seek acceptance every which way to that we turn its only natural. As children we seek acceptance from our parents and our peers. As adults we seek acceptance from our partners and our children. The only acceptance that is worthwhile is God’s (though knowing my spouse accepts me for who I am is also good).
When God spoke to Moses he referred to himself as I am. Back in verse 14. I am. How many would ask or would wait… Ok I am…. you are what? What do I tell those Egyptians? Can you please finish the sentence? I am…… What? Who? Don’t make me look foolish, do I fill a third word for you? Do I say the burning bush sent me?
Come on wouldn’t you be asking those questions? First time encounter to the supernatural, I would be like hey who is out there messing with me? It happens but here is the truth God didn’t need to finish that dialogue. God simply just is. I AM, he simply just is. He didn’t need to elaborate the way we justify and qualify ourselves, and each other using more words. He didn’t need to say I am God, I am …. That’s all. We justify and validate ourselves because of our insecurities. I am Rosemary. He didn’t need to do that to Moses.
In Furtick’s book he lists a bunch of categories that we get to add a third word or a few words after the IAM in our own self-analysis, how do we see ourselves? Ready for a few more seconds of self reflection?
Here are the Categories: feel free to mentally document your I am’s. as I mention the categories ill describe my I am’s
Personality – I am shy, I am vocal, I am passionate, I am faithful, I am stubborn,
Character – I am loyal, I am helper I am hardworking I am compassionate, I am smart, I am weak, I am strong, I am a feminist, I am sensitive, I am a leader, I am a fighter
Conditions/circumstances- I am sinful, I am unworthy, I am asthmatic, i am blind, I am pained
Physical traits- I am tall
Education- I am educated, I am an advocate
Family- I am a daughter, I am a wife, I am a sister, I am a mother,
Ethnicity/ culture – I am Puerto-Rican I am American, I am Latina, I am Hispanic, I am brown, I am Caribbean
Sexuality – I am straight
Occupation- I am a counselor, I am a mother
Spirituality – I am Christian,
Labels which limit: – notice I used a few of them myself.
Sinful – Unfaithful – Addicted – Disgraceful – Unworthy- weak.
We all have negative I am’s it’s whether or not you acknowledge them. Use them to strengthen you. 2 Corinthians 12:10 “English Standard Version For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Now let’s ask ourselves. If God Refers to himself as I AM, and we accept him become a part of him, what are we saying about him when we describe ourselves. For every I am we say we are saying God is, we have God in everything we are doing. In every aspect of life, the same way two become one in holy matrimony, we become one with God when you accept him. So I ask, Are we calling god sinful, he who is free of all sin? No, for he is without sin, but our actions are a reflection of what we are not in God sometimes. Our actions may not be a reflection of him but a reflection of how we view ourselves. We are a part of him and for every negative I am we are bringing down ourselves. He doesn’t see us the way we do. He doesn’t rationalize, qualify nor quantify us the way we do. His scale of how he judges and measures our worth is on a whole other level that we could ever comprehend or ever begin to calculate.
He saw greatness in the biblical figures listed earlier despite their weakness, despite their sins and short comings, despite that society frowned upon them. He saw and shed light to their fullest potential. Jacob went from cheater/deceiver to his name being changes by God after he wrestled with himself and wrestled with God, after he received his blessings only after he saw that he needed to face the battles he had within; God saw great things and named him Israel – which means triumphant with God. He saw Jacob triumphant in God. Jacobs I am became Israel. He wants our I am to also be “I am Israel” ” I am triumphant in God”.
That’s what he sees in you and me. Despite our battles, our sins, our short comings… He sees greatness. Your light will shine bright. He will qualify you despite your feeling unqualified. We all have weaknesses. It’s time to view our weakness as a form of strength.
He is I am. Let’s take strength in our weaknesses. Turn our negative views of the I am of ourselves into something positive. Your weakness is your strength. Turn your I am into I am victory, I am Israel. I am in God.
The same way he saw these men and women in biblical history as qualified he is looking at us saying ‘hey, you my dear sweet child listen, listen you have great potential you are more qualified than you realize. My standards are different than yours. Your not unqualified, you are qualified and I want to use you. I want to work wonders in you and around you. Listen to me, have faith in me. ‘
Dear lord I do.
I want to proclaim to be Israel (triumphant in you God).
I hope you do as well.