God's Power in Weakness (2): God Chooses Those Who Are Not- Shades of Grace | Natalie Nichols

God’s Power in Weakness (2): God Chooses Those Who Are Not

God's Power in Weakness (2): God Chooses Those Who Are Not

Has God called you to do something, but you feel totally inadequate for the task? Perhaps you’ve responded saying:

  • “I’m not qualified…”
  • “I’m not capable…”
  • “I don’t have the proper training…”
  • “I’m not smart enough…”
  • “I’m not outgoing enough…”
  • “I’m not articulate…”
  • “I’m not confident in front of people…”
  • “I’m not….”

You’ve answered God with a litany of excuses citing everything that you’re not.

“But I’m not __________.” If you’re like me, you’ve filled in the blank with a host of vital skills and talents you’re lacking—all seemingly legitimate reasons you’re the wrong person for the job.

But these weaknesses show why you’re precisely the right person—God’s chosen person—for the job.

“Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29so that no one may boast before him” (1 Corinthians 1:26-29).


When the angel Gabriel came to Mary, he told her she would give birth to a son whom she was to give the name Jesus. Mary replied, “How can this be, since I have not been intimate with a man?” (Luke 1:34, HCSB)

Mary didn’t have the qualifications or prerequisites necessary for being a mother, let alone the mother of the Messiah.

People had expectations for the coming Messiah…and they didn’t include his mother being an obscure teenager of low estate who’d become pregnant outside of marriage. No, in others’ eyes, Mary wasn’t qualified.

But even in her own eyes, Mary wasn’t qualified. She didn’t have the one necessary prerequisite: having been with a man. She was a virgin. For intimacy to have been right in God’s eyes, she would’ve had to have been married.  This was an additional strike against her. Mary was engaged but not married. There was no natural means by which she could conceive. What the angel was telling her sounded impossible.

How Can This Be?

Do you reply to God as Mary did to the angel? Do you ask, “How can this be? Because I don’t have_____. I’m not_____.”

The angel told Mary how it would happen. She would conceive by God’s power through the Holy Spirit. It would happen supernaturally—the same way God works through you and me in our inadequacies.

“The angel replied to her:  ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the holy One to be born will be called the Son of God…For nothing will be impossible with God.” (vv.35, 37).

Like Mary, we first look to natural means (I don’t have this ability or that prerequisite) while God plans to supernaturally supply.

Responding in Faith

After Gabriel explained that the Holy Spirit would come upon her, Mary responded in faith:

“And Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word’” (v.38, ESV).

Mary essentially said, “My purpose for being alive is to serve the Lord, so I make myself available to Him. What His word has said of me shall be become reality in my life.”

Doubt vs. Faith

What if Mary had said, “I can’t! Maybe after I’m married. But then I still wouldn’t be the best choice to be the mother of the Messiah. Not me! No way! Let me out of it. I can’t do this! Matter of fact, I can’t do anything! I’m a failure…”

How melodramatic! Sadly, it’s similar to the way you and I sometimes respond to God. Even worse—this isn’t just a response of exaggerated emotions, it’s a response of doubt.

David Wilkerson explains why this isn’t mere humility, it’s unbelief:

When we complain of our inabilities and weaknesses, we’re not just putting ourselves down. We’re putting down our Lord. We’re refusing to believe His Word.

The Israelite spies were so focused on their inabilities, they were ready to quit. They even talked about going back to Egypt. What was God’s response to their fears and unbelief? “The Lord said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? And how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them?” (Numbers 14:11). God charged them with one sin: unbelief.

Today, the Lord is asking his people the same question he asked Israel:“When will you believe what I promised you? I said my strength would come to you in your times of weakness. You’re not to rely on the strength of your flesh. I told you I would use the weak, the poor, the despised of this world to confound the wise. I am Jehovah, everlasting strength. And I’ll make you strong through my might, by my Spirit. So, when will you act on this? When will you trust what I say to you? [1]

Chosen as an Are Not

I’ve done this. I’ve responded in doubt, focused on my weaknesses and inabilities. In fact, choosing to trust God and focus on His ability rather than my inability is a constant choice I have to make.

Although I speak publicly and am a guest on radio and television programs, I feel articulation is one of my greatest weaknesses. Due to Lyme Disease, I’m a slow thinker. I have trouble with word recall. My cognitive processing is weak.  As a college student, I was an occasional guest on TV programs because of my involvement with the Miss Texas pageant. I was sometimes given a list of talking points while walking onto the TV set . Within seconds I had them memorized and was then able to work them into the conversation on the program. But when I’m a guest on programs now? I am utterly helpless apart from God. He has to speak through me, bring things to mind, and supply my responses.

And this is just one of my weaknesses. Chronic Lyme Disease—an illness that can even reduce the IQ of people who have it—can leave you feeling totally inadequate, physically and intellectually. The days I have interviews or speaking engagements are often the days I am the most physically sick and weak. I’m not just foggy brained and challenged cognitively, I struggle with lack of bodily strength and energy.

I already feel completely inadequate…but when I begin noticing all the servants around me who are seemingly better qualified, I instantly compile an endless list of reasons God shouldn’t choose me.

One time, I couldn’t seem to find a “Yes sir” in me when responding to a specific call from God. I could only think of everything I wasn’t. As I mentally listed my inadequacies—I’m not this, Lord; I’m not that—He surprised me with His reply.  He took me to 1 Corinthians 1:26-29…and agreed with me.

“Yes, Natalie. You’re an are-not. That’s exactly the type of person I choose to use.” That ended my debate. I had no further response except, “Yes sir, I’ll do it.”

God chooses the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are so that no one can boast before Him.

My vast weaknesses didn’t get me out of the calling…they got me into it. God chooses the are-nots! Why? So that we can have no pride in our own ability! So that He gets all the glory!

Our weakness requires His resurrection power to function in its place. So not only can we not boast, but our service carries spiritual unction and anointing that wouldn’t be present otherwise. If we could fulfill God’s call on our own, it would be mere performance of the flesh—but because God’s strength is being completed, accomplished, and fulfilled in our weakness, it’s a presentation of His power (see 2 Cor. 12:9-10). Flesh doesn’t touch hearts or change lives. God’s power does. It’s part of His plan, then, that His power is a requirement to fulfill the calling!

We see it over and over in the Bible. God is attracted to weakness.

Now Therefore Go

Perhaps you feel like Moses. The one skill he thought was essential to God’s call was apparently his greatest weakness. Notice how God responded to him:

“But Moses said to the Lord, ‘Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.’ Then the Lord said to him, ‘Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak’” (Exodus 4:10-12).

God knew He was going to call Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Yet He created Moses with a weakness in a necessary ability. He planned to be Moses’s supply and ability.

Beloved, God will be your ability. He will be your sufficiency. Whatever God has called you to do, He will do it through you!

Fill in the blanks in Exodus 4:12 below. Insert your weakness or perceived shortcoming for the task to which God has called you. Hear God’s heart, and His directive, to you today.

Now therefore go, and I will be with your ____________and teach you ______________.

Now therefore go. God will be with you and give you His ability.

A Closing Confession

My purpose is to serve the Lord, so I make myself available to Him, even in my weakness. What His word has said of me shall be become reality in my life. God works through the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chooses the lowly things, the despised things—the things that are not—to nullify the things that are. His power will be accomplished in my weakness. Now therefore, I will go.

Questions: What list of I’m-nots do you routinely rattle off to God? Are you willing to forsake your list of inadequacies and follow Him in faith today?




[1] David Wilkerson, Faith for the Supernatural, http://www.worldchallenge.org/en/node/1128


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