Day 1: No Excuses
“Ah, Lord God,” I said, “I don’t know how to speak because I’m only a child.” —Jeremiah 1:6 (Common English Bible)
We, too, make our fair share of excuses when it comes to obeying God. I know I have come up with some good ones. I’m both too old and too young, I don’t have time, and I am not qualified. These are just a few of the excuses I made to the Lord when I felt Him calling me to write this study. At other times I’ve felt nudges to do something big for God and then talked myself out of it. In Christian circles, ambition to do something big can be labeled as pride or self-promotion. Somehow we convince ourselves that humility means staying under the radar and not attempting anything great for God. Like Jeremiah, we want an “out” to disobey.
What are some excuses you’ve made when God has called you?
You may be thinking, I’m not sure God has ever called me to do anything, but God has a calling on each of our lives. Let’s look at what He asked of Jeremiah:
The Lord responded, “Don’t say, ‘I’m only a child.’ Where I send you, you must go; what I tell you, you must say. Don’t be afraid of them, because I’m with you to rescue you,”declares the Lord." —Jeremiah 1: 7-8
God asked Jeremiah to speak His messages. God’s mission for us as followers of Jesus is very similar to Jeremiah’s call. God wants us to go when and where He sends, speak His words, and prepare for action without fear. How many people do you know who live like this? Often we are prone to give up with the least amount of resistance. Insecurity and fear of failure can keep us from trying new things. We wonder if others will think we are prideful. We question if we really heard God correctly. God knows following Him can be scary for us in our humanness. He told Jeremiah twice, in verses 8 and 17, “Do not be afraid.” He wants us to face our fears and trust Him.
Dr. Jennifer Degler, author of No More Christian Nice Girl, says, “Many times we find that women get a pass on not being courageous…. We want to call that ‘having a gentle and kind spirit,’ but really it can be timidity or fear that’s holding us back.” We also fail to encourage others to step out in faith with bold moves. The success of another—or even the potential that another might be greatly used of God—threatens our own worth, so we talk each other down. Instead we should be encouraging each other to listen to God and then step out in obedience.
God knows His callings can be scary. He doesn’t give us marching orders and a slap on the back and then fling us out to figure things out on our own.
What did God do and say to encourage Jeremiah?
"You must prepare for battle and be ready to utter every word I command you. Don’t be frightened before them, or I will frighten you before them. Today I have made you an armed city, an iron pillar, and a bronze wall against the entire land—the kings of Judah, its princes, its priests, and all its people. They will attack you, but they won’t defeat you, because I am with you and will rescue you," declares the Lord. —Jeremiah 1: 17-19
What is God calling you to do in this season of your life (family, career, ministry, evangelism, using your gifts and talents)?
What big dreams or aspirations surface in your thoughts from time to time?
Meet author Melissa Spoelstra in this video segment from Lesson 1.