Question: “I’m Not Ready To Serve God”

Anonymous asked: (Edited)

My church likes to do mission trips with the teens ministry … Ive had such struggles with faith, and depression lately, I don’t know how I can go and tell others about how good God is when, because of my stupid lack of faith, I haven’t seen Him in my life in a really long time … I need help.

Hey my dear friend.  I totally understand you on this one and I only got love for you.  I’ve probably heard similar statements millions of times, so let’s break this down.

Essentially what you’re saying is: “I’m not ready to serve God because I’m not ready to serve God.”

Besides the fact that this is a circular logic fail — do you know who else feels this way?

Pretty much everyone.

And it is a lie straight from the devil’s mouth.

If we all waited until we felt “qualified” to serve God, then we’d all be benched on the sidelines until we meet Jesus in our underwear.

So we’re not falling for that.

The truth is: No one is ever ready to serve God, and that’s exactly the point.  God qualifies those He calls before we ever do a single thing.  No job history, no application, no references, no experience — just our availability to say, “Here am I, send me.”

The entire Bible is a catalog of unqualified people who were chosen by God, because God is often in the habit of working through broken beat-up busted-down vessels for His Glory.  He’s always doing things like that.  As if to say, “This right here is a God-thing, and it cannot be no other thing.”  Check out 1 Samuel 16:7 or Deuteronomy 7:7-9.  Essentially God says, “I didn’t pick you because you’re awesome.  It’s because I’m awesome.”

About your depression: I understand it’s an extremely difficult battle and I’ve dealt with it my entire life too.  But admitting depression does NOT make you a worse Christian.  It only makes you an honest one.

About your struggle with faith: Everyone, and I mean everyone, runs into a crisis-valley with their faith.  I myself doubt God pretty much every single day.

We forget that spiritual dry seasons can last days, weeks, months, or even a lifetime.  The church often tries to duplicate our emotional highs with all kinds of tricked-out worship services, but that’s never the point of our spiritual lives.  We spend too much time trying to stay spiritually high when we’re actually called to remember the Most High in our lows.  Certainly God wants to give us a robust faith: but a few of us are faith-weaklings, and those of us with mustard-seed hearts are just as loved and accepted in God’s Upside-Down Kingdom.

In the Kingdom of Christ, there has never once been a moment when Jesus looked at a person and said, “Not good enough.”  Instead, he says, “Follow me.”  Jesus’s death on a cross means no sin is too big for Him, and Jesus’s resurrection means there is no power not available to you.  It will not be easy, and we will sacrifice a lot, but “Those who are last will be first, and those who lose their life will save it.”  It’s hard — but my friend, it’s so very worth it.

All that to say —

All that you’re going through does not exclude you from joining the purposes and people of God.  The invitation to His work on the earth is always open to outcasts, rejects, rebels, and the worst of the worst.  Look no further than the people Jesus regularly hung out with: beggars, the blind, the lame, the demon-possessed, prostitutes, racists, lepers, murderers, and snot-nosed tax collectors.  Jesus even saw a dead guy in a tomb and said, “I can work with that.”

I would also say that what you’re going through is even more reason that God has called you into His Kingdom to do some of that Kingdom Work.  Your struggle is part of the story, and no one wants a perfect storyteller.  They want the dirt, the grit, the hurt — and the moment you trusted Him.

Maybe what’s really holding you back is that you’re scared of embarrassing yourself, or the actual serving is hard work, or you’re worried what others might say, or it’ll take time out of your week, or some other real motive that you’re unwilling to admit.  I don’t want to presume your motives here, but this could all be an excuse from complacency.  I get it, because people (including me) naturally drift that way.

But you know, we can come up with a million reasons not to do something.  We can also come up with a million reasons to do something else.  They all become the same thing: just external qualifiers and disclaimers and loopholes and exit doors to squeeze our way out.  If we follow these external reasons, we’re really just being pushed around, and you don’t want that.

There is really one simple reason I can tell you to follow through with following God.  Because this is what God made you for and created you to do.  It is intrinsic to your design.  It is inherent to your blueprint.  It is how you work.  And when you follow Him, this life begins to make sense.  Anything else would be settling for less, and neither I nor God want that for you.

Whatever the reason is that’s holding you back: take the step anyway.

The last thing I’ll say is: Quit waiting for some “standard of maturity” to follow God.  No one can simply wait until their heart changes first before following Him. Otherwise you’re determining your faith on feelings, and that only goes in circles to nowhere.  But as you step with God regardless of how you feel, your heart will start to change.  The inner-struggle will actually decrease in volume (Galatians 5:16). Because now you’re not merely trying to avoid sin, but you are running towards something greater in Him.  And just maybe, you will feel His pulse in you once again, and just maybe, you will see Him in a way you never have before.

Go find out.  Do not waste another minute.  You were made to pursue Him.  I know your life has probably not been easy, and neither has mine, so I understand.  But forget everything — your past, your pain, your record, your reputation, your fears — and take the leap of faith.  Go on that mission trip.  Go serve on a team.  Go share Christ.  Go to that unwanted corner of the universe.  All you need is that one step, that twenty seconds, that one teetering moment of hanging in the balance where only God can catch you: and He will catch you.

He loves you, my friend.  He is rooting for you, even now, to pursue Him.  You will see He has been pursuing you all along.

— J.S.

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