Feeling Unseemly, Uncomely, Unpresentable?
by Pastor Gene
All of us have inadequacies. Many of us have insecurities. Perhaps you feel like you’re unimportant to the Kingdom of God, that there’s little you can do that will matter for God. Perhaps you feel too fragile and frail. You may lack social graces or talent in certain areas. You may be awkward around people, quirky, insecure. You may be inarticulate or nervous. You may have been bullied or laughed at, ridiculed and teased. You may lack the deep knowledge of the Bible you feel you need to stand as the Lord’s witness. You may be poor, or may struggle financially. You may lack the confidence you wish you had. You may have a poor memory and be unable to recall Scripture on demand.
You may ‘honestly’ feel that one or more of these things disqualifies you from being effective as a man or woman of God. If you do, please understand that such a notion is both unbiblical and untrue.
Consider 1 Corinthians 12:12-27. I know it’s a bit long, and probably familiar, but please read it carefully. Paul writes:
“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require.
But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.
27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.”
There are a few wonderful lessons here. First, each individual part of the Body really does matter! Question: Is the Word of God true? Of course it is! And Paul could not have made this point more clearly! We are all necessary. D.K. Lowery writes: “In the diversity of the bodily parts there was a corresponding mutual dependence. A person with a seemingly greater gift should not imagine that he could function alone since a bodily member cut off from the natural body would cease to exist.”
Secondly, God has placed each member of the Body in the place He so desired. He did this by individually giving us the spiritual gifts He wanted us to use in helping the Body fulfill His purpose.
Third, He made every part of the Body unique to the other parts. The eye is not an elbow and the toe is not an ear. Each part has a job to do and no part is supposed to do everything!
And, finally – and this is for you if you think you’re a “less than” – “the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable!” Really? Yes! And notice God’s sensitivity here: “On those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require.” In other words, while every member of the Body is equally important, some require special sensitivity and care.
I find this astonishing! O the wisdom of God in fashioning the Body of Christ!
Never feel like a ‘less than’ – you are exactly who God made you to be. So, use your gifts to serve the Lord and find your place in the Body. And let’s celebrate the wonderful unity that God has fashioned from such wide diversity!
To consider …
- Do you ever feel like a ‘less than’? How does a careful reading of 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 challenge your self-assessment?
- Satan is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44). While he can’t steal our salvation, he can certainly try to neutralize our effectiveness as children of the day and of the light. 1 Thessalonians 5:5: “For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.” How might focusing on the spiritual gifts you lack rather than the ones you have be the work of the enemy?
- The essence of faith is believing God at His Word. I know you’ve heard the old saying, ‘God said it, I believe it, that settles it.” That’s true, at least it should be. How about taking this ‘Word’ in 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 seriously and simply believing what it says about you? Perhaps you need to confess your insecurity as unbelief and embrace the truth of God’s declaration of who He’s made you to be.
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All of us can come up with some reason why we couldn’t be used by God. But remember what Paul says in 2 Cor 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have past away; behold, the new has come.” It Becomes a question of, do we believe this? It always becomes a question of, do we believe what God says even though it goes against everything we’re feeling. That is the “faith walk”. Remember what God told Moses in Exodus 3, “But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I sent you; when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain”. The sign God gave came after Moses did what He was told. That my friends is the faith walk. Now the question is, are we going to believe God first and then watch Him bless us? Just something to think about.
I know that I’m not alone in having felt so inadequate, unqualified, unprepared, unseemly, uncomely, unpresentable, at times in my life. I’m so thankful that I have been surrounded by people that God has placed in my life to remind me of what God sees when He looks at me. (Hmmm, could that be YOU, that used your God-given gift of encouragement on ME??) Let’s face it. It’s not a secret. HE actually TELLS us, in written form, (so we can’t say we didn’t know or that we forgot!…AND gives us brothers and sisters to remind us) of what He thinks of us and the promises He made to us!
When we feel the “nudge” of the Spirit to step up and be used for a particular purpose and we’re feeling inadequate, he tells us: “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” UNBELIEVABLE!! How can we “fail”? It reminds me of a song we sang in Sunday School from Ps. 20:7.. “some men trust in horses, some men trust in chariots..” HA! I can hear you singing it! That will be stuck in your head for a while, and that’s a GOOD thing!!
Hmm other than serving as greeters I do feel like a “behind the scenes person.” Sometimes I feel I am not doing enough. But the Lord has shown me over and over again that people find me approachable and that my gift is a encouraging others. God has given me a decent memory to remember scripture so I can encourage my sisters in Christ that way! This is no small thing so I rebuke The enemy when he lies to me and tells me that I am not important.