Written by cycleguy on April 1st, 2013

Feelings of inadequacy strike us all from time to time.   I spent way too many years trying to preach like some of the “big guns” and feeling inadequate when I fell short.   It was easy to think with all the resources available that I could do research and prepare and present the message just like them.


Why?  Because God never intended me to be a cheap knock-off of someone else.  It took me awhile but it finally got through my thick skull:  BE. YOURSELF. AND. WHO. GOD. INTENDED. YOU. TO. BE.

I just finished John Burke’s new book, Mud and the Masterpiece, over the weekend.  His final chapter dealt with advancing the cause of Jesus by multiplying, by passing along what we know to others, who in turn will pass what they learn on to others.  His case in point was the Chinese house church movement that was rocked when Mao made Christianity illegal in China.  The churches went underground after he expelled foreign missionaries, killed all the senior pastors of the church, and imprisoned the volunteer leaders.  For the next decades the church went underground.  In the early 80s, after Mao’s death, the new regime was more tolerant and allowed foreign missionaries back into the country under strict guidelines.  They were shocked!  The church flourished from two million people to over 80 million in those years.

One house church leader tells about when Western Christians would visit China and asked what seminary the leaders attended.  he said:

We reply, jokingly yet with underlying seriousness, that we have been trained in the Holy Spirit Personal Devotion Bible School (prison) for many years.

Sometimes our Western friends don’t understand what we mean because they then ask, “What materials do you use in this Bible school?” We reply, “Our only materials are the foot chains that bind us and the leather straps that bruise us. “

In this prison seminary, we have learned many valuable lessons about the Lord that we could never have learned from a book. We’ve come to know God in a deeper way. We understand his goodness and his living faithfulness to us.  (p.275)

You know…in all my comparison issues, I never once even thought about a situation like this.  We often put a premium on our learning and knowledge, when here is a great example of little of both, and yet the church flourished.  It sure gives new meaning to  God giving us the right words to say when they need said.

What else can you take away from this story?  Have you ever felt inadequate?  Why?  How did you deal with it?


21 Comments so far ↓

  1. Wow!!! It makes you wonder what would happen if we all put in the time like our Chinese brothers.

  2. Zee says:

    The story reminded me of another book that I read a while ago – Safely Home by Randy Alcorn. It sure helped me to gain perspective.

    Thanks for the post 🙂

  3. Dan Erickson says:

    When I first started blogging I felt inadequate because I only had one hit per day… my own.

    • cycleguy says:

      That is funny Dan. When I first started I couldn’t even get the folks from the church I pastor to read my blog. They are still few and far between.

  4. Daniel says:

    When I feel inadequate in personal/relational matters, I withdraw and make myself small. In professional circumstances when I feel inadequate, I educate myself and work to gain the experience necessary to overcome. Well, that probably says much about me.

    • cycleguy says:

      It says you are much more comfortable in a work environment where you excel Daniel. Nothing to be ashamed of at all. Every one of us is different. You already know that.

  5. floyd says:

    Isn’t that how God works? He does the impossible and we too often miss it. While I’m not in remotely the same life and death circumstance, I’ve been involved in some pressing business issues that God has used to draw me to Him. It has dawned on me that if and when this scenario gets resolved and I lose any closeness with our Father, I will have lost the best thing in life, even though most would regard it as one of the worst… Funny how we struggle to see the big picture and His perfect will. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak…

    • cycleguy says:

      I’m working harder at recognizing when He works so I don’t miss it Floyd. I am one you are talking about in your first two sentences.

  6. Betty Draper says:

    Years ago when Ace was a youth pastor we went to a retreat designed for those who work with teen. One of the men said, if they teens do not flock around you you probably were not called to be a youth pastor. It really discouraged Ace at the time because they did not flock to him like they did with the former man. That former man left his wife for another woman. Comparison kills the joy of what ever ministry God has brought us into. Integrity is more important then education. How many would used the people God chose to bring His message of hope to a dying world. A few minutes in the Word will put comparison to rest.
    I believe our prison is ourselves…we just need to get over ourselves. God never intented those testemonies to stall us with comparsion but fuel us into obedience. Great post brother, you have fueled us today by the reminder. It makes me want to hide more of God’s word in my heart in case our bibles are taken away.

    • cycleguy says:

      That has got to be some of the most cock-eyed advice I have ever heard Betty! You are right about the comparison and especially about the prison. Freedom from self is a powerful gift.

  7. Jan says:

    God works in all situations and His word cannot be stopped….that’s what I thought as I read that story. Ummm, I believe inadequate is my middle name….but I’m working on this, through reading & prayer, trying to remember that God has gifted me and is using me where He wants me…..inadequacy is just one of the things satan loves to use against me. Good post Bill.

    • cycleguy says:

      Jan, you have heard me say this to you before many times: you are an incredibly gifted individual. Your love for all kinds of children, especially those “lost” ones, is nothing to shake a stick at. You make kids feel worth something. Not everyone can do that. 🙂

  8. Lots to make us feel inadequate, but I know what you mean about finally being able to be yourself. It seems like it wouldn’t be a big deal, but it is! I’m so thankful for the work of His Spirit that continues in my life so that I can express Him as He made me to. And what a story about the Chinese pastors- incredible. Thanks Bill.

  9. Ike says:

    The Church flourishes because it is God who grows His Church. I’ve said this before on your blog….if God could cause an ass to speak….He can use even me.

  10. I’m really feeling inadequate at the moment to do everything I would like to do. Inadequacy for me is always a tell-tale sign that I’m trying to do things in my own strength.

    Is it the psalmist who asks God not to give him too much or too little? I’m afraid the church in America has too much.

  11. Susan says:

    Just a thought. Maybe. Perhaps… the power of the Holy Spirit works better when we are inadequate. I’m not sure that Moses ever got over feeling inadequate. For me, it keeps me dependent on Him. “God uses Craced Pots.”