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A Sign of Spiritual Entropy

If you want to see a key sign of spiritual entropy, just look at Gideon.

Judges 6: 12-16 (NIV): “When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.”

Gideon’s eyes were only on himself.  When God called him to a great task, all he could see was his own inadequacies and weaknesses. He could not see God’s power that was available to him.  Like Gideon, we also tend to look at ourselves and wonder if we have what it takes to accomplish God’s purposes.

When we face challenges in life and when God calls us to difficult tasks, we need to look to God as our source of power and confidence. Unfortunately, we often limit what God can do through us because we look at our abilities and resources and not God’s.

Here are some of the questions we tend to ask ourselves:
  • Do I have the strength and power to accomplish this?
  • Do I have enough money in the budget?
  • Can I manage it?
  • Can I handle it?
  • Can I do it?
These questions are not inherently bad, but if we are not careful, our answers to these questions can cause a lack of faith and lead to spiritual entropy. When we only look at our abilities, resources, and strength, we will never have the confidence to move forward and take big risks for God. If we operate with this mentality, we will never truly walk in faith. This mind-set has two pitfalls: (1) it will lead us to look at ourselves as the source of strength to accomplish God’s calling; (2) it shows a lack of faith that God can accomplish far more than we ever could.  

“Whatever God can do, faith can do; and whatever faith can do, prayer can do when it is offered in faith. An invitation to prayer is, therefore, an invitation to omnipotence, for prayer engages the omnipotent God and brings him into our human affairs. Nothing is impossible to the Christian who prays in faith, just as nothing is impossible with God. This generation is yet to prove all that prayer can do for believing men and women.”  A. W. Tozer

Like Gideon, we also tend to look at ourselves and wonder if we have what it takes to accomplish God’s purposes. When followers of Christ look at themselves, what are some of the common excuses they come up with for why they can’t serve God? How do you react to life’s challenges, is your focus “in my power first, and then God if that doesn’t work”? What differences would your life show if you truly relied on God and not on “me”?

© 2014 by Zondervan. Used with permission. All rights reserved. Visit JohnOrtberg.com for more about John Ortberg's work and ministry.

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