Am I doing enough as a Christian and why won’t God use me now? These two questions have plagued the lives of Christians including myself on a daily basis.
Being myself, an extremely fearful and insecure Christian early in life, I typically always held a sense of dread that I had somehow ‘fallen behind’ as a Christian. Never quite reaching the same levels of spiritual enlightenment or achievement that my peers got to.
The more time I spend in the Church environment, the more often I saw others doing as I did, attempting to ‘catch up’ and prove their salvation to God and others through serving and putting on the aesthetics of righteousness. Yet becoming devastated and disillusioned when failing to meet the requirements.
Where is my Aaron?
A common temperament within Christian circles is that blind faith and belief is enough to overcome a lack of knowledge or ability in a particular arena. More specifically that a heart to serve is the first and only requirement for serving God.
Afterall is this not the story of Moses? A man who in his own words was;
“not eloquent… but slow of speech and tongue,” (Exodus chapter 4, verse 10) questioning “who am I that I should go…” (Exodus chapter 3, verse 11)
In light of his inability, God provides Moses with Aaron, who will speak to Pharaoh for Moses until he is ready.
It is easy to turn this story in particular into a justification for serving regardless of circumstance. Yet God’s story with Moses is not proof that he will always work miracles with the ill-prepared, nor is it a story of a man being able to convince God to bless what he feels like God’s calling should be for him.
It is the story of God taking an individual who was resistant to God’s calling and through him achieving what God wanted. God is the miracle maker and it is on God’s authority that Moses has influence. It is the great “I Am” (Exodus chapter 3, verse 14) who ultimately decides our path, not where we or others feel we should be.
Yet Christians often jump into areas of service that they’re not ready to shoulder the burden of because of misguidance from others or their own feelings. Often this leads to burnout and disappointment.
Long term growth
Known as the original master of anatomy, Leonardo Da Vinci’s paintings are masterworks to behold. While famous for his ability to depict human form naturally, he was as infamous in his inability to complete projects.
Hence the incomplete existence of his painting St. Jerome in the Wilderness, whilst stunning, is of no surprise to us as a whole. Yet one tiny detail in our Saints neck gave the world and art enthusiasts an insight into Da Vinci.
Whilst the painting was originally begun in the 1480s, Da Vinci did not know the correct anatomical depiction of the sternocleidomastoid (originally painted as a single muscle rather than a group of muscles in the neck) until the 1510s, meaning that Da Vinci came back to and corrected his mistakes once his knowledge had grown accordingly.
Leonardo it appears held something at the early stage of his art career that many young Christians don’t have. Walter Isaacson writes in his bio of Da Vinci that he “knew that there was always more he might learn, new techniques he might have mastered, and further inspirations that might strike him.” (Leonardo Da Vinci, 2017)
As Walterson notes, Da Vinci used this understanding to temper the frustration and deep depression he felt when faced with his own limitations. Us Christians are faced with a similar problem as Da Vinci but often our response lacks the restraint he held.
We’re not equipped for all of life the moment of our salvation. Although salvation grants us the greatest security, we do not develop complete patience, joy, peace, love. Nor do we develop into great public speakers with a complete grasp of theology.
Romans chapter 12, verse 2 states that when we have offered ourselves as living sacrifices and resist the world then we will be;
“transformed by the renewal of your mind.”
Renewal takes a life time and the playing ground is often uneven leading to growth looking different for each and every Christian. Thus we must not allow ourselves to be so disillusioned by our inabilities that we undermine the reality of the situation as Da Vinci managed to avoid doing.
The Gospel remains regardless of our feelings, Christ overcame and made us righteous before God and any of our shortcomings are reflections of the magnitude of Christ’s work on the cross.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to serve”
These were the best words a pastor has ever spoken over me, as not only did it instantly bring peace to the anxiousness of the need to prove myself before God but it has also led to another equally important realization.
That the more we come before God with honesty about our shortcomings and pride, the more we’re willing to humble ourselves before God and come with “ears to hear” (Mark chapter 4, verse 23), the greater our motivations and capacity to serve God are refined.
Christians cannot ‘fall behind’ in our faith, but often we can slow ourselves down by loving the idea of serving or using that as a means of salvation and sanctification rather than simply resting in the work of Christ.
“Those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” (Romans chapter 8, verse 30)
Isaac Claasen is originally from Christchurch but grew up in Auckland on the North Shore. If not studying, spending time with friends or watching NBA he is most likely reading a book pretending to be an intellectual.