And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.
(2 Corinthians 9:8 ESV)
What’s holding you back?
Too many times we believe the idea that we need to “level up” before God uses us. That we need to look a certain way first, make a certain amount of money first, figured out this or that first, get (insert a major goal of yours) first.
And trust me, I’ve been there, too. We live in a world that demands certain qualifications before the job, the school, the opportunity, the next step. We often base our value on our resumes or the amount of likes we get on Instagram.
But what if none of these things really mattered?
When we focus more on our status than on Christ, we fall into pressure and out of purpose. We work hard to prove ourselves, we base our value on our achievements (and as a result, we get wrecked by our failures), and we place our identity in opinions. You are worth way more than that.
What has God put on your heart to do? Are you afraid to do it?
When it comes to God’s purposes, He’s not looking at your earthly qualifications, He’s looking at your heart. You don’t need to prove yourself. And yet, we often feel like we need to get to a certain point before we follow God’s leading–especially when it’s outside of our comfort zone or looks impossible.
So, here’s another question: Would you obey God even if you haven’t “made it” yet? Even if you were “unqualified?”
Today, we’re going to look at Paul’s example in Acts 27. While just a prisoner on a ship, he is used by God in a mighty, unbelievable way. Again, as a prisoner. Through his story, I pray that you discover one important truth:
Your purpose has nothing to do with who you are and what you do–but it has everything to do with Who has called you.
Here are three qualities Paul displays in this passage that we can take on for ourselves:
1. Unqualified but Called
Accused of heresy by religious leaders for preaching the gospel, the apostle Paul once again endures persecution for Christ. He’s imprisoned on a ship bound for Rome to appeal before Caesar I for his innocence.
Nevertheless, as a seasoned traveler, Paul senses a storm ahead:
“…Paul advised them, saying, ‘Sirs, I perceive that the voyage will be with injury and much loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives’” (9-10 ESV).
Currently a prisoner headed to trial, Paul is in no position to lead others. In fact, his warning is ignored. Verse 11 states, the centurion “paid more attention to the pilot and to the owner of the ship than to what Paul said.”
In a similar way, others may believe that you don’t have the background or status to be taken seriously. However, when God calls you, earthly qualifications no longer matter.
Paul doesn’t let others shake his identity. He understands his call by God to be a witness for Him (Acts 9:15-16). In the following events, his confidence in God results in his boldness to stand as a leader wherever he goes.
2. Faithful in the Storm
When the storm emerges, Paul again stands and gives a powerful word to those on the ship:
“…Paul stood up among them and said, ‘Men, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from Crete and incurred this injury and loss. Yet now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship’” (21-22).
In Acts 23:11, in the midst of Paul’s accusations, God promises Paul that He’ll bring him to Rome to be a witness. Now, Paul declares, “I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told” (Acts 27:25). He believes God will carry the ship through the storm to arrive in Rome as promised.
God’s purpose for you always stands. Do you hold onto God’s promises despite rejection? Before the miracle, favor, or promotion, God can use your voice to minister to others.
3. Responsive in Every Opportunity
In the middle of the storm, Paul publicly acknowledges God. After encouraging those on the ship to break their fast, he displays his trust in God’s protection:
“And when he had said these things, he took bread, and giving thanks to God in the presence of all he broke it and began to eat. Then they all were encouraged and ate some food themselves” (35-36).
Although imprisoned, Paul thrives in God’s purpose for him. He acknowledges God and encourages a crowd of 276 on the ship! He makes the most of where God has placed him.
In verse 44, all are brought safely to land; God delivers His promise to Paul, who has remained faithful throughout the entire voyage. Yet beforehand, Paul honors God and acts as a witness to everyone aboard, including fellow prisoners–and those who hold him prisoner!
When God places you in front of others–whether a small or large audience, friends or enemies–you can use the spotlight as an opportunity to honor Him and bring Him glory.
So, what are you waiting for? Really?
God can still use you even if you haven’t “made it” yet. Even if you don’t know the outcome. Even if you’re nervous. Even if you’re intimidated. Even if you feel unqualified.
Paul doesn’t wait for the miracle to happen. As a prisoner–not even a free man–he still declares God’s promises and ministers to a large crowd.
Are you willing to be an example despite the season you’re in? Are you ready to share your victories and setbacks with others? Are you ready to obey God’s leading to step into your next step?
…No matter what?
Don’t compare yourself to those around you. God has a spot that only you can fill. Just because someone looks, sounds, or acts important doesn’t mean they have the right heart to lead. Looking like a leader doesn’t make you qualified but having a heart of surrender and humility, ready to give your all to God, does.
Remember: You don’t have to wait for others to qualify you to do what God has called you to do. If He’s leading you, He will equip you. God can do the impossible through you for His kingdom. So, go forward. I’m rooting for you.
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 God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
(1 Corinthians 1:26-31 ESV)
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