Following Through: What’s Your Excuse?

By on October 11, 2011

cartoon image of Moses pointing his finger towards the promise landBy Karen Jordan –

“ … I refuse to sit around and wait for someone else to do what God has called me to do myself” (Josh Wilson, “I Refuse”).

Are you ever tempted to just sit back and wait for someone else to do something, instead of doing it yourself?

Delayed Obedience. I told my children, “Delayed obedience is disobedience.”

I never wanted my children to be afraid of me. But I knew delayed obedience might even be dangerous and harmful at times. And my instructions were motivated out of my love for them. I wanted them to learn obedience as children, so they could learn to obey God and their God-given authorities as adults.

I remember many times when I just sat back and waited on someone else to do something that I knew I needed to do myself. And I can always come up with an excuse.

Excuses One. I may get away with some things—like making my bed every morning—but what about the things that God calls me to do? What excuses can justify my disobedience? Here are just a few of the lame excuses that I have told myself in the past: That’s not my “gift.” I’m not trained to do that. What do I have to say? I’m not a “good” speaker (writer, teacher, cook … whatever).

As I searched God’s Word out of conviction to try to find some answers to my problem of delayed obedience, I found that I was in good company with my questions. Just look at Moses, who God chose to lead His people out of bondage.

Question. When God called Moses to lead, he responded, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11).

Moses knew that this assignment was way out of his area of expertise and experience. In fact, it seemed to be an impossible task to him. Moses knew he couldn’t do this awesome task in his own strength or with his limited wisdom. But this awareness of his own limitations proved to be one of Moses’ greatest leadership qualities—it forced him to become totally dependent upon God for everything.

Promise. God promised Moses, “I will be with you …” (3:12).

Do you think that God was shocked by Moses’ question? God responded to Moses with the assurance of His presence, not His judgment.

I don’t think my questions surprise God either. And I can be confident that He will be with me, and He will provide all that I need to do what He calls me to do. (Philippians 1:6)

Excuse 2. Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” (Exodus 3:13 TNIV)

Has anyone ever questioned your authority? How did you respond?

In Exodus 3:13, Moses addresses his fear of his identity and authority being questioned and judged as he dealt with God’s call on his life to lead the people of Israel out of the bondage of slavery. He asked God what to do and say if someone questioned his authority.

Have your fears ever tempted you to run from a challenging opportunity? As I prepared to walk into my first teaching experience in a college classroom, I felt the weight of this fear. What if someone questions my authority? Who am I to be teaching college freshmen to write? I’m still a student myself!

When I finally had the nerve to express my doubts and fears to my husband, Dan, about teaching, he responded, “Why are your doubting yourself, Karen? You’ve got the credentials to teach these classes.”

After Dan’s encouragement, I decided to face my fears. I walked into the classroom prepared and confident that I had the ability and authority to do the job I was hired to do.

Promise. God responded to Moses’ question about His identity, “I-AM-WHO-I-AM. Tell the People of Israel, ‘I-AM sent me to you'” (14 MSG).

Moses had the assurance that God was on His side, and that He would support him every step of the way.

Reflection. A few years ago, I shared a “God moment” with an intimate group of church friends. And in the middle of my story, one of my “friends” rolled her eyes and started humming the theme to the Twilight Zone.

When the religious leaders of Jesus’ day tried to intimidate Him, Jesus responded by telling still more stories” (Matthew 22:1 MSG).

So, even though I’ve experienced the questioning of my “spiritual authority” quite a few times now, my confidence grows as I face my fears, step out in faith out of obedience, and tell my faith stories.

 

Karen Jordan is best known for telling the stories that matter most. Karen’s writing workshops have been popular in multiple venues and she has written for several publications and book compilations. As a CLASSeminars certified speaker, Karen is available to address topics about faith, family, and writing. Website: http://www.karenjordan.net

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Following Through: What’s Your Excuse?