I am not sure whose brilliant idea it was to schedule our football team to play on of the big Ft. Wayne schools, but they did. My tenth grade year we had a small team with few upperclassmen and several new to the varsity and very inexperienced sophomores. Knowing we were a 1A school (the smallest class) and they were in the upper levels we went through the week practicing with enthusiasm working hard on our game plan. Taking a line from the movie “Braveheart” we seemed “rather optimistic” until the other team got off the busses – yes, busses plural. We could take one school bus and everyone could stretch out in their own seat, they had two charter busses.
As we watched them stream out, warm up and prepare for the game our optimism began to wane to intimidation. Their quarterback was as big as our linemen and believe me their linemen were bigger than he was. Not just bigger, but faster, better equipped and very cocky. I think they had more coaches than we had players. Even knowing we were all prepared we became mentally and emotionally defeated before the opening kickoff. Hey, we only lost by 30, that wasn’t too bad considering I think I saw one of their cheerleaders suiting up for the fourth quarter.
We all get intimidated in various areas of our lives. Becoming overwhelmed with a task because of its vastness or emotionally defeated listening to hype before knowing facts we are frequently stymied to act. Feeling unprepared or believing that we don’t have the skills to face the seemingly gigantic obstacles ahead of us we quit before getting started. This happens too often in our spiritual lives as well even when striving to follow God with all good intentions. We time and again are like my high school football team that prepared effectively and quit prematurely. This has been the case for us humans from long ago; even as far back as the one whom saw God’s unveiled glory – Moses.
It describes Moses being called by God in Exodus 3. Even with God saying He would perform great miracles and deliver His people, not just by the skin of their teeth but with most of the loot of Egypt in tow, Moses was intimidated. He welled up with such creative excuses that even God was fooled – NOT! He tried to say he was not known well enough, that he did not know answers to potential questions and even if he did get them right what if they did not believe him? He tried to argue that he was not eloquent enough and finally he just told God to get someone else because the job was too big! Moses was just all things “not” right then. Think about this, God promised, “I will be with you” and “I will make you succeed” and Moses was still intimidated. Are we any less resistant to fully following God than Moses was? Do we have very creative excuses thinking God will fall for them? Do we sometimes just resort to telling God no or not? Really – what are we thinking?
We need to work boldly to break the intimidation factor that we conjure up preventing us from being fully used by God – and truly blessed by Him. We need to hold on to the passage from Hebrews 13:5b-6 that states, “…’God has said, never will I leave you or forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?’” God is going to be there with us and for us no matter what we face. For whatever the excuses regarding being intimidated and not being strong enough for a task that we can invoke – God has a succinct answer. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,” (2 Corinthians 12:9). To follow Christ, we can’t get tied up in “nots!”
This weekly devotion is written by John Key