It’s one thing to speak an encouraging word to someone in passing, but it’s another to call their God given potential out before they can see it in themselves. I’m so grateful for the people in my life who have called me to courage before I even knew what was coming. They saw the potential God has for me and were brave enough to tell me about it.
I think we can start calling others to courage by not underestimating the potential God has given us.
Growing up in church I had always known that God had a plan for my life even though I couldn’t exactly bring myself to trust His word and believe what God says about me.
Gideon was someone who witnessed God’s courageous calling for his life firsthand. In Judges 6:11-16, we see Gideon’s story begin to unfold.
Then the angel of the LORD came and sat beneath the great tree at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash of the clan of Abiezer. Gideon son of Joash was threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress to hide the grain from the Midianites. The angel of the LORD appeared to him and said, “Mighty hero, the LORD is with you!” “Sir,” Gideon replied, “if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about? Didn’t they say, ‘The LORD brought us up out of Egypt’? But now the LORD has abandoned us and handed us over to the Midianites.” Then the LORD turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!” “But Lord,” Gideon replied, “how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!” The LORD said to him, “I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.”
Judges 6:11-16 NLT
I love Gideon because I see so much of myself in him. He was taken by surprise when the angel appeared in verse twelve calling him a “mighty hero.” As I was praying in preparation to write this message I couldn’t help but think of all the times where I’ve been surprised by what God has called me to do. I can totally relate to Gideon’s current perspective of the situation. We’ve all had times where we feel weak and unequipped to fulfill the calling God has given us.
God knew Gideon was going to be a bit surprised by his calling that’s why He sent the angel to declare that truth over him. God does the same thing for you and I.
I’ve walked through many seasons of life where I have known and sensed the Sprit pulling me in a certain direction. As much as I trusted Him there was still a tiny part of me that was doubtful. Feelings of insecurity and insignificance flourish in our moments of self-doubt. Satan adores our weakest moments. I don’t want to assign false thoughts to Gideon in any way, but I can just imagine those feelings of doubt were starting to weave their way into Gideon’s mind when he replies with Judges 6:15:
“But Lord,” Gideon replied, “how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!”
I can’t even tell you how many times I have told God this same thing. It starts when those feelings of insecurity and insignificance flourish in self-doubt.
In verse sixteen, the Lord says to Gideon:
The Lord said to him, “I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.” I just LOVE that this was God’s response to Gideon because that’s His response to me in the midst of my self-doubt.
P.S. The rest of Gideon’s story is amazing in the way he trusts God to defend his army against the Midianites! Check it out in Judges 7!
I want to close by reminding you of three key points we can learn from Gideon’s story:
- We must not underestimate the powerful potential God has given us.
- Trust His calling in your life even when it catches you by surprise.
- Feelings of doubt and insecurity flourish in moments of self-doubt.