August 26, 2003 ē By Ed Wrather
And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling (Another translation indicates that Paul felt inadequate and was scared to death at what he was facing.). And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. - 1 Corinthians 2:1-5.
The feeling of inadequacy affects every person to some degree at some times. Being inadequate for a task or tasks is a common human trait. It is also a common human trait to bluff, fake, and appear that we are not inadequate for whatever task or event is facing us. How many of you have started a new job and acted as though you knew much more than you really did? Or, have you been in an advanced class, which was beyond your abilities and tried to appear to be at the same level as everyone else? Have you ever had to give a speech or present a program before a group of people and been uncomfortable at the thought of having to do such a thing? Have you had to learn something new like operating a computer or even learning to drive a car and felt inadequate and even fearful that you might not be able to learn what you needed to learn successfully? If you are or were in any of the above groups - you fit in well with nearly everyone else of the human race including the apostle Paul.
Even though inadequacy is a common condition of mankind it is however the causal factor for countless negative effects upon our lives. Inadequacy can lead to our trying to compensate by lying, deceiving, developing addictions, overworking, and materialism (I am sure there are many others.). Inadequacy also leads to psychological problems and can aggravate existing problems. In its worst manifestations, psychologically there is the fear of public speaking or even being around people much less trying to talk to anyone. Many have become so fearful that they are even afraid to leave their homes. Inadequacy can be and is for many people a devastating condition.
The apostle Paul in facing his own fear and his own human inadequacy gives us an example of how to overcome this problem. Paul did not come to the Corinthians depending upon his own human wisdom and excellency of speech even though he was an extremely well educated person. No, Paul came to them and faced his inadequacy by trusting in not his power but in the power of God. He did not try to impress them with his great learning and skills of oratory but instead he laid his fears (1 Peter 5:7) upon Jesus and through the power of God communicated the Gospel with great effectiveness.
How many times have I thought moments before standing to speak that I am inadequate for what needs to be said? How many times have I felt so physically ill just before I must stand to speak that I thought I should simply dismiss the service or ask someone else to speak? How many times have I felt fearful of sharing my testimony with someone or visiting someone or talking with someone who I know can be very difficult? Too many times for me to possibly remember and I have yet come to a point that I do not continually feel inadequate for what I need to do and be as a Christian, as a father, as a husband, grandparent and especially as a pastor and in the fulfillment of Godís call upon my life.
How can we face and overcome our inadequacies? Only as Paul did. Only through the power of God standing on the power of our Lord (Philippians 4:13). That is how we will make it through another hour, another day, another week, another year. That is how we will be steadfast (1 Corinthians 15:58) and know that our labor no matter how inadequate we may believe it is will never be in vain and will through the power of God accomplish its eternal purposes.