This week at church we were challenged name ourselves as we perceive ourselves to be. Much like Thomas the Doubter, or Marvin the Stingy, or Lois the Lazy. What we often don’t claim to be true, is the fact that when we are in Christ Jesus, we are a new creation! The old has passed away! Yet we cling to our old name. We refer to ourselves by a name that is dead, and pass by the new name God has given us. I am Amy the Quitter. When things get too hard, I give up. When circumstances seem impossible, I tend to doubt God is really in it. When I’m tired of doing something, I stop doing it. I’m still fitting into my new name of Amy the Doer. Even when things get tough, impossible or no longer fun… I must keep going.
In Judges 6, we’re introduced to a man named Gideon. Threshing wheat in the wine-press he is hiding from his enemies. God calls out to Gideon and meets Him right where he is: lonely and fearful. He reassures him: The Lord is with you. Then He names him: mighty man of valor! Gideon doesn’t respond very valorously. He doubts– a lot. He complains some. He whines a little. He makes excuses. He even tries to convince God that He has named the wrong guy. At last, he puts God to the test, to see if He really is who He says He is.
When Gideon finally perceives he was indeed speaking face-to-face with God Himself… a Theophany of Jesus in the form of the Angel of the Lord… he is afraid. Again. The Lord comforts him with the perfect words: Peace be with you. Do not fear, you shall not die. Gideon builds an altar to the Lord and calls it, appropriately, The-Lord-Is-Peace. Gideon’s story continues and he does go on to do what God told him He would accomplish. He occasionally slips back into his old identity of fear, but God is so gracious to remind him of how He sees Gideon– able to fight victoriously.
God uses our weakness not to define who we are, but to magnify His strength and power in our life.
He doesn’t pick at us, like we so often do ourselves. Are you fearful? Let Him be your courage. Are you tired? Let Him be your strength. Are you weak? Let Him be your power. Are you believing the lies of the enemy? Let His truth fill your mind. Is your life feeling rather chaotic? Let Him be your peace.
For Gideon, being a mighty man of valor didn’t mean he never felt fear again. He did, but he consciously claimed God’s promise of being with him, and he actively stepped out into fearful situations, relying on God’s power for victory. For me, being a doer doesn’t mean I will never feel like giving up again. I must consciously rely on God’s strength to step out and finish tasks He has told me to do. I can’t keep drifting back to my habit of giving up. I know He is gracious and will provide His own power to will and to do His good pleasure. He also provides people to come alongside and encourage me to keep going.
So, off I go to DO what needs doing today! I have been given the gift of today, and the incredible power of God to DO things… both great and small.