“‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit’ says the Lord Almighty” (Zechariah 4:6).
Excuses! Excuses! Excuses! Since sin entered into humanity during the Fall in the Garden of Eden, we have become experts at making excuses for not listening to God’s voice and answering God’s call in our lives. Excuses are self-crippling defense mechanisms that we use to justify our refusal to respond to God’s call. On the surface, the excuses we make can seem reasonable and right. But make no mistake, excuses are the enemy from living a life of Christian excellence.
Did you know the Bible is full of stories of people God used for His glory who started out by making every excuse imaginable in order to keep from answering God’s call in their lives. From rationalizing their disobedience to simply refusing to answer their call, our Eternal Excuse Exterminator overcame every objection, every plea, every excuse and used these excuse-making individuals as “inspired instruments” of eternal change in His Mighty Right Hand. Here is a very brief overview of just four of those biblical characters that I pray will encourage and empower you to forsake any excuse standing in your way today.
Moses was born a Hebrew and was raised an Egyptian. But when Moses was forty as a prince in Egypt, he tried to free his people from bondage to slavery in Egypt. But his people did not receive him as their deliverer, and he spent the next forty years as a fugitive on the back side of the Midian desert. You see, God had to do a work in Moses before He could do a work through Moses. At eighty, God called Moses to return to Egypt to deliver His people out of their slavery, and he responded to God with every excuse in the book:
- I don’t know who I am!
- I don’t know who You are!
- The people will not believe me!
- I have a speech impediment!
- Please just send someone else!
God was patient with Moses and after he had exhausted every excuse he could think of, God exterminated every excuse and replaced Moses’ fear with faith and the rest is HIS-STORY.
When God calls Gideon, he is threshing grain secretly in a winepress, hiding from the Midianites who were oppressing God’s people. God wants to use Gideon to free his people from the Midianites who had incorporated much of their pagan culture into the way of life for God’s people. Gideon tries to excuse himself with one fearful response after another, from family obligations to time constraints. Then he even puts God to his “fleece test,” which God gladly accepts. In the end, God uses Gideon and only 300 men to defeat the Midian army of 135,000.
God calls Jeremiah to be a prophet to the nations, not a priest like his grandfather or father. God wants to use Jeremiah as His spokesman to declare the truth of God’s Word to the people. Jeremiah gives one of the same excuses that Moses tried to use on God, “I do not know how to speak” (Jeremiah 1:6). He adds to that the fact that he is only a youth, lacking the experience and expertise for such a call in his life. But God is having none of it. God promises to be with his prophet wherever He sends Him and promised to give Jeremiah His words to speak to the people. As with Moses, God did not need his oratory skills, simply their obedience.
God told Jonah, “Go to the city of Nineveh,” the capital of the Assyrian Kingdom, and preach His Word against their wickedness. Jonah said “No” and boarded a ship that took him in the opposite direction of God’s call in his life. The Ninevites were an idolatrous, proud, cruel and wicked enemies of God’s people and Jonah hated them with a passion. Jonah did not share any of God’s concerns for this lost people. He could not conceive how God would want to be gracious to them in any way. Jonah did not understand the “missionary” heart of God. So God chased down His reluctant prophet with a storm and a great fish, and in the end empowered Jonah to go and preach to this pagan people and the entire city became believers in the One True Living God.
Ben Franklin once wrote, “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” Excuses are designed to keep us in our comfort zones. Yet, the end of every excuse can be found in one faithful fact – God was with them. You see, God does not call the equipped. None of these biblical characters were equipped and none of us are equipped for the call God places in our lives. God simply equips those He calls and promises to be with them every step of the way in order to live out their call for His glory and the expansion of His Kingdom in this world.
Are there any excuses still standing in your way? Perhaps you see some glaring weakness in your life or lack of education or experience. We will always have two choices in life as it relates to God’s call: we can make an excuse to God or make an impact for God. It is either one or the other. Remember, following a God-inspired call in your life requires that you step out into the unknown. Coming up with excuses for not answering your call is lurking deep within our natural self. But God is calling you up out of the natural and into the supernatural where He will overcome every excuse and use you for His glory and the expansion of His kingdom.
Are you ready to answer God’s call in your life today? If not you, who? If not now, when?
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!
For more articles by Dr. Tommy Boland, visit goodnewsfl.org/tommy-boland.