The Glory of Inadequacy

I Am Inadequate blog series

This is the seventh and last post in a series on our inadequacy. Read the others here.

I’ve written for six weeks about how we are inadequate in a bit of detail. Back in the first post I said this reality is gloriously freeing. How can something like this be glorious, be freeing, why do I believe that?

I don’t know about you, but I often feel like I’m under the burden of needing to have everything all together. A productive work life, changing lives in radical ways, an amazing social life where I look good all the time (at least on Instagram), the most caring and yet care free parent in the world where my kid looks and acts cooler than any other kid on the block. This is just the scraping off the top of the world’s expectations on us. Do you feel any of that? I know I do. And it’s crushing.

Living in the “everything depends on me” kind of way also means that when some achievement is reached, we can easily get prideful. Or (more likely) when all those achievements are out of reach we tumble into despair. If everything depends on us, we will accomplish some things for sure, but our lives will be small and we’ll happily lap up all the credit. But when we embrace our inadequacy and see God working through it, we more readily give Him the glory (after all He’s done all the work anyway the whole time).

But another thing happens: embracing our inadequacy actually allows us to live bigger lives. This sounds counter-intuitive doesn’t it? Embracing our inadequacy allows us to live bigger lives. How is this? If we depend on ourselves, we are the automatic limit to what can be done. If we depend on the omnipotent and omniscient God, there is no limit to what we can be a part of. A life of adequacy is a small one and we get all the glory. A life of inadequacy, depending on Jesus to come through for us is scarier, more out of control, and more glorious. He gets that glory, of course, and we get to join Him in a much bigger life.

The glory of our adequacy is us. We get the glory if we think we are adequate. We did it. The glory of our inadequacy is Christ, glorified. Christ gets the glory when we realise we can’t. He does it. It belongs to Him.

We don’t have it all together, and we don’t need to! (Secret insider tip: we will never have it all together.) For the burnt out mom, running to this thing and that thing, taking care of children, maybe the house, maybe a job on top, then, after all your energy is gone at the end of the day you flick through Instagram. And you see younger couples laughing away with the kind of laugh that you can only just remember now…How do you respond?

The glory of our adequacy is us.
The glory of our inadequacy is Christ, glorified.

With the family now on the verge of needing to care for ageing parents, and the details and the task and the money are all just overwhelming, not to mention the new kind of relationships that need to be navigated…How do you respond?

The glory of our adequacy is us.
The glory of our inadequacy is Christ, glorified.

With that co-worker that you know God is calling you to befriend or have a conversation about Jesus. With that neighbour that’s becoming a friend and you just don’t know how to start talking about the gospel. For me in a city like Manchester, where it would be amazing to find 2 Christians in a group of 100, where people live in utter darkness and yet on the outside they seem to be doing just fine. How do we respond?

Where do we start? How do we go?

Jesus chose to send the 72 workers out in Luke 10 in just this way: inadequate. He didn’t want them to be perfect, He wanted them to be dependent. Even in the mission that He was leading, He also cared for their growth and well-being. For everyone who is a Christian, Jesus sends us out as we are: woefully inadequate. He doesn’t expect us to be perfect or have all the answers or anything like that. That’s His job as God. He does call us to a life of submission and dependence, following Him above all else.

From the beginning of time itself, God has been pursuing a people for Himself. This is the mission of the Trinity: the Father sent the Son, the Father and the Son send the Spirit. And the Spirit sends the Church. Through the cracks of our inadequacies, the glory of God shines.

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