Am I Qualified to Serve God?
Do we need qualifications to be a follower of Jesus? In this week's blog post, our Curate Charles explores Paul's 'C.V.' in Philippians 3.
During our training for ministry, Miriam and I had to go through multiple selection panels, pass academic requirements and demonstrate that we can carry the responsibility of Church leadership. It is good that this process is so rigorous. But one temptation we must avoid is to see ourselves as qualified for our role as ministers because of the content of our C.V. rather than the calling that Jesus placed on our lives.
Paul the apostle seems to have had a similar C.V. of his ‘reason[s] to be confident in the flesh,’ which he lists in his letter to the Philippians:
5 'circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless.'
Yet what he says next shows how he does not find his qualification to be an apostle in these qualifications:
7 'Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ.'
He seems to regard this C.V. as ‘rubbish;’ better to be shredded, thrown in the bin, and left in landfill (or better, recycled!) since his confidence is no longer in himself but in Jesus Christ who loved him and gave himself for him.
Embracing the same relationship with our 'reason[s] to be confident in the flesh' may, paradoxically, be a way into a greater sense of self-worth.
This is because the process of becoming accepted by God as his child is not a kind of job interview where we must measure up to a certain standard in order to be accepted. Instead, we come to God with nothing but empty hands, open to receiving the gift of Christ!
No normal job interviewer would accept someone for a job they weren’t qualified for, but this seems to be exactly how God has chosen us to be his children: accepted without qualification!
So, let's consider this Summer, as some of us have time off from work or normal patterns of life, how our identity is shaped by this surprising mercy. Our identity is not primarily founded on our qualifications, expertise, education, wealth or status or any other 'reason[s] to be confident in the flesh' but on the gift of Jesus Christ who loved us and gave himself for us. Every blessing Charles Curate
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