Sunday, July 31, 2005

Facing Limitations

Facing Limitations


A major portion of our text today will come from Exodus Chapter 4

As you turn there allow me to read our …

Key Scripture: Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me. (NKJV)

In another place, specifically the Gospel of John 15:5,

Jesus said “ … without Me you can do nothing.”

Further yet in the Apostle Paul’s writings we find that he likens the church to a ‘A body with many members’. Just as our body is made up of fingers, arms, legs, toes and we have eyes, ears and other parts, so the body of Christ is also made up of many members, each one having a specific place and function to make up the whole.

We have need of one another to be the complete work of God. Not one of us is sufficient in ourselves to fulfill the task of accomplishing God’s will.

It was this way from the beginning. In order for Adam to keep the primary command of God for his life, he needed a partner in the work God had called him to do. Left to himself, Adam’s limitations were just too great. Without a partner, there would have been no way that Adam could have multiplied and filled the earth with people.

Both in the big picture of God’s will for all mankind and in the small day to day challenges of life which each of us face, we often find ourselves insufficient to the tasks.

Yet God has a plan which includes us and even though He knows our limitations, He has nonetheless, planned for us to participate and to succeed in these noble attempts.

It is for that reason that we today need to know our limitations.

Exodus 4 NKJV

10 ¶ Then Moses said to the LORD, "O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue."

11 So the LORD said to him, "Who has made mans mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the LORD?

12 "Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say."

13 But he said, "O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send."

14 So the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and He said: "Is not Aaron the Levite your brother? I know that he can speak well. And look, he is also coming out to meet you. When he sees you, he will be glad in his heart.

15 "Now you shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth. And I will be with your mouth and with his mouth, and I will teach you what you shall do.

16 "So he shall be your spokesman to the people. And he himself shall be as a mouth for you, and you shall be to him as God.

Moses was not in any doubt about God.

* He heard God’s voice - and -

* He knew God’s will

But he also knew his own limitations.

* First he was older - he was already 80 years old by this time

* He was a fugitive from justice in the land of Egypt

* Chapter 3, verse 6 says that Moses was even afraid of God

* Verse 11 tells us that Moses had a poor self image

* He didn’t think the people would accept him

* Chapter 4, verse one, shows Moses as a pessimistic person

* Verse 10 suggest Moses even had physical limitations

Moses offered all of these excuses why his limitations disqualified him from serving God.

With each one God answered Moses. God told him just how He had planned to overcome each limitations with miraculous supernatural intervention. It would not be Moses alone, but God working through Moses.

Still Moses argued, and finally, with a bit of anger, God gave Moses one more thing to help him --- a partner for the ministry.

You see, God has a plan, He will succeed and we have a chance to participate.

When God decided to use us in His plan, He knew our limitations and had already calculated what we would need to make us successful.

* If you need the strength of a younger and stronger person, God is willing to supply it.

* If you need forgiveness from your sins or pardon from your crimes, God has already started that process for you.

* If you have insecurities, God has the answer and He will supply you boldness and courage to press through to success.

* If you are a negative person who always sees the glass half empty and borrows trouble worrying about bridges you may never cross --- God already has a plan in place to help overcome your pessimism.

* Think you have physical limitations which disqualify you from serving God and accomplishing His purposes - think again! God will not be defeated by some physical limitation. It is God who created the blind, the sighted, the deaf, the hearing, the lame and the mute.

He knows your limitations and wants you to realize that He has already factored them into His equation and has come up with the decision that you are still the best candidate for the job He has called you to do.

We may not be His first choice, but we are His current choice.

Lets look into the New Testament and read what the Apostle Paul said concerning himself.

2 Corinthians 12 NKJV

7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.

8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.

9 And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christs sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

In closing allow me to elaborate on three key steps to dealing with our evident inefficiencies.

#1. Recognize your limitations.

* Inefficiencies, shortcomings, weaknesses, vulnerabilities …

* Like Moses did

* Like Paul did

* It is not a lack of faith to face your limitations and understand where it is that you need God’s help … it’s a lack of wisdom not to!

#2. Refuse to allow your limitations to limit your success

* Do not frustrate God like Moses did by continuing to champion your limitations.

* Instead of becoming a spokesperson for your limitations, become the voice of God’s limitless powers available to you.

* Stop praying the problem and start praying the promise

* Give more credit to God than to your weaknesses

* Paul said that he boasted and took pleasure in his limitations

* Why? Because he understood that:

2 Corinthians 12:10b “For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

* What does this mean?

* Our sufficiency is in God and when we recognize our limitations and then refuse to let those limitations overshadow God’s plans for us, we position ourselves for step #3.

#3. Receive God’s grace.

* His grace is sufficient.

* Whether you need a miracle touch from God or need Him to send you a partner to stand with you and help carry the vision, God is already at work and help is on the way.

Today I ask you to consider taking these three simple steps toward greater fulfillment in life. It may seem too simple … too easy … how could something so easy accomplish anything.

This is the way Naaman the Leper (2 Kings 5) felt. He refused to accept anything so simple, anything so easy as dipping in the waters of the Jordan River as able to cure him of leprosy.

Naaman’s servants asked him the question: “If the prophet Elisha had asked you to do something hard would you have done it? Well, why not go ahead and do this simple little thing - take the steps and follow the counsel and see if this might work.”

You know the story, Naaman agreed and went to the Jordan and humbled himself. He dipped down into the water seven times and on the seventh time he rose cleansed, cured and completely free.

Will you refuse this simple request. This is my counsel for you. Will you take these three simple steps.

#1. Recognize your limitations

* Don’t hedge - identify your weaknesses, shortcomings …

* Give them a name so you can know who you are defeating

#2. Refuse to allow these limitations to limit you

* Don’t let these things control you any longer.

#3. Receive God’s grace

* It may be a miracle

* Or it may be a partner supplying what you do not have

* But whatever God gives - you can surely trust what Paul said:

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me. (NKJV)