Feeling Ill-Equipped?

ImageHave you ever felt ill-equipped for something?  My daughter is preparing for a once-in-a-lifetime trip with some friends.  Part of her adventure will include hiking in Nepal, and the friend who invited her, gave a mandatory assignment— a book to read called Trekking in the Everest Region.  Having gone on only one other fairly significant hiking trip, and nothing like Everest, and after reading part way through the book, she remarked at how very grateful she is and how much more equipped she feels with the knowledge she’s been given.

I was reminded of how so many of today’s Christians feel ill-equipped, and I think it’s partly the church’s fault.  Yes, we, as individuals, are responsible, too, to read the Book and equip ourselves with knowledge, especially if we live in a country in which we are free to own a Bible and freely worship.  But the purpose of Christ’s gifts of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers is to equip “the saints for the work of the ministry and for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11, 12).  (Some translations use the word perfecting rather than equipping, but the sense of the Greek word is to make a person complete or adequate for what is required.  2 Timothy 3:17 uses the same root word when it says, “That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works”.)

I have often heard Christians say, “Why haven’t I ever heard that taught before?” or “I didn’t know that was in the Bible.”  A few people have even said, “You’ve helped me understand more in a short of amount of time than all the years I’ve been in church.”  On one such occasion we were discussing the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man— not a simple subject and one I don’t fully understand myself.  So hearing a number of pastors and teachers over the years say, “People just don’t want to hear the Word of God anymore,” —a comment invariably made when attendance begins to dwindle, hearing it is discouraging, because blame is being laid squarely on the people.  While I think the assertion may be true to some degree, when I consider people I’ve talked with and some of the churches whose leaders are breaking away from three-points-and-a-prayer sermons and doing more teaching than preaching, as well as practicing and encouraging discipleship as part of the Great Commission, rather than primarily encouraging church attendees to be a witness and invite people to church to hear the gospel and get saved— when I consider these things, I have observed people who do want to hear the Word of God and become better equipped, effective and more confident to walk and journey through life.

If you’ve been feeling ill-equipped, don’t wait for someone to equip you.  Read the Book.  And if you have questions or there’s something you don’t understand, ask the Holy Spirit and find someone who has already been there, like my daughter’s friend.

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About Rene Yoshi

Just a transplanted Okinawan-French Southern girl with a wee bit o' Irish, sharing photography and what I'm learning about spiritual things, including putting off legalism and religious traditions, and embracing God's matchless love, tender mercy, and amazing grace! View all posts by Rene Yoshi

13 responses to “Feeling Ill-Equipped?

  • Carina Paula Arias de Méndez

    Dear Rene, the way I see it, is there are basically two kinds of people in church: the sheep and the goats. The true converts and the false ones. True converts may be very immature and hypersensitive on some issues, but they will always welcome a word that causes development, even if it comes in the form of correction. True converts may have a problem with pride, but still they are humble enough to accept that there are many things they need help about, things they need to change, new things to learn, old things to abandon. In short, true converts understand that we need to deny our old selves, take up the Cross and follow Christ. True converts want to be more Christ-like every day. Even if they’re not always victorious in their battles against sin in their lives, they still fight, and they keep fighting even if they fall many many times.
    A false convert wants his or her ears tickled, wants to hear nice things. A true convert wants to hear TRUTH. A true convert guards his or her salvation with fear and trembling, because this is a person who knows how costly it was for Christ and how precious it is.
    I’ve left two churches (three, if I count the Roman Catholic system) in my life, and in all cases it was for the same reason: the Gospel was becoming watered down. The teaching was more like: come to church, follow these simple steps and God will bless you than “Come to Jesus and DIE! Get a NEW LIFE, not simply a remake of the old one!”
    I’m not perfect in any way but as a true born again believer, I CAN’T sit under the teaching of another Jesus, another Gospel, a Jesus and a Gospel that makes no demands, that allows me to live in sin and attempts to make me feel less guilty when I’m in rebellion against the clear teachings of the Bible.
    To sum up, I believe a Christian who aims to mature and develop in solid Christian principles gets bored, frustrated and finally enraged at any preaching that is NOT challenging.
    I love the OUCH feeling… The moment during the teaching when I feel God is speaking straight at me about something SPECIFIC I need to deal with and repent of. No actionable part? No growth.

  • Randell Bell

    I agree with both of you, Jesus said pick up your cross daily and follow me so be prepared for some pain & hard going; my cross like His is rough hewn and heavy and difficult to carry and I don’t like churches to water down the fact that discipleship is hard, not unbearable and each of us has different burdens that we carry, but it is the only way to build Christian character. Rene I love the picture of the Bible and the compass – I have always explained to my class that the Bible is like a map of where we need to go and the compass is the Holy Spirit which tells us how we need to go. A map without a compass is of little use and a compass without a map is not much good either but together you you can find your way anywhere. So the Bible is with the Holy Spirit – what I am learning lately is that the Holy Spirit is much more than a compass, but is more like a sherpa guide who is willing to lead you if you are willing to follow. Gal.5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

  • heavenlyraindrops

    I have never yet figured out how anyone makes it without His guidance!!

  • Heather Mertens @ 40YearWanderer

    {Sorry about the partial comment! Haha! My Wordoress app leaves a lot to be desired. 🙂 }

    I think you are spot on with these observations. There are so many churches finally seeing the light – so to speak. We always are led to teaching churches when we move – have moved a lot and always trust God to land us in a church solidly on teaching His Word.
    Also too many Christians stop at becoming saved. It saddens me. That is the major reason I’m called to write… To encourage. To encourage the true FOLLOWING of Christ. Live it out!
    Great post. It’s nice to connect with like minds… Or should I say like hearts.
    🙂
    – Heather
    40YearWanderer

  • gwennonr

    Thank you so very much, Rene, for this good teaching. Keep up the good work. I pray God blesses your writings. You are a blessing to me.

    Best Regards,

    GwennonR

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