Philippians 4:13 (NKJV) – “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
I’ll do it tomorrow. I’m tired right now. I don’t think I have the talent or skills to do the job. I’m not smart enough. I don’t have the money. I don’t have enough support. I’m not qualified to do this. What if I make a fool of myself?
If you are like me, you have used an excuse like the ones above. What were we facing? What goal were we trying to reach? Who were we trying to impress? What were we trying to avoid?
All of us have used an excuse to get out of doing something that we thought of as an unpleasant task. Sometimes we might have used excuses to cover up our true feelings or to spare the feelings of someone else. Then, there have been the times that we used excuses to lie to ourselves. Were we doing ourselves a favor? Or were we slowly destroying ourselves? Were we preserving our lives or stunting our growth?
Sometimes, we need to stop and listen to ourselves; to take the time to really pay attention to what we are thinking and saying. If we are to be successful and bring honor and glory to God with our lives, we have to understand that God will stretch us and challenge us to grow. Growth will include times of discomfort, uncertainty, maybe even panic and fear. But we have to stand on His word and know that nothing is too hard for God (Jeremiah 32:27) and that with God all things are possible (Luke 18:27).
What task is God is calling us to do, but we are making excuses as to why we can’t do it? We aren’t the first to make excuses, and we won’t be the last. God understands our doubts and fears. He will answer us just like He answered the great men and women of faith in the Bible:
Moses offered one excuse after another – Pharaoh, the Israelites’ doubt, his speech (Exodus 3 and 4). What was God’s answer? Sending Aaron to speak for Moses and giving Moses specific words to prove to the people that he was God’s messenger and answer to their prayers.
Gideon was afraid and needed reassurance. God didn’t turn his back on Gideon, but assuaged his fears with tangible proof. God’s view of Gideon as a mighty man of valor was in direct opposition to Gideon’s view of himself (Judges 6 and 7).
Rahab and had heard of the fierce power of God. Her people knew that their land was the promised land of Israel. When the spies came to her for help, she needed courage to help them escape (Joshua 2).
Our excuses can hinder us from accomplishing mighty works for God. Will we succumb to fear and doubt, hiding behind excuses so that we won’t have to face our disobedience? Yes, disobedience. It was hard for me to accept the fact that when God requires me to do something for Him and I give an excuse, then I am really walking in disobedience. We may not comprehend why God challenges us, but if we refuse to surrender any area of our lives to Him, we are in fact denying Him lordship over our lives. That’s something to really think about.
Eve used excuses to avoid taking responsibility for her sin. She went against the will of God, yet she refused to see her decision as a conscious choice. When confronted with her actions, she looked for a source to place the blame (Genesis 3).
Rebekah coerced her son, Jacob, to steal his brother’s blessing. When the deceit was uncovered, she made provisions for Jacob to escape by using the excuse of finding a wife. The excuse saved her son’s life, but cost her the privilege of knowing her daughter-in-laws and grandchildren (Genesis 27 and 28).
Martha used the excuse of preparing a large meal for Jesus and the other disciples as a reason to blame her sister, Mary for not helping with the housework. Martha’s decision to place priority on the housework frustrated her when she saw Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus
Quite often, it is hard to own up to our mistakes. It is so much easier to place the blame on others or even on situations that are “outside our control.” Why is it easier to make excuses instead of taking responsibility for our actions and decisions? When we get into the habit of excusing the choices and mistakes that lead to sin, disruption, trouble, or chaos, we set ourselves up for a life of pain. Relying on excuses to make our errors more bearable is just a way of lying to ourselves and leaving the door wide open for the enemy to take control. Do we really want that to happen?
No matter when or why we use an excuse, we have to be careful not to let our comfort levels keep us from doing God’s will or from taking ownership for ourselves. The next time that we feel tempted to offer an excuse, let’s pause to analyze the reason why. Are we trying to avoid something that God is calling us to do? Are we running from our own mistakes, wanting to blame something else for our shortcomings?
We know that we aren’t perfect. God chose each of us and wants us to thrive (John 15:16). Only He can help us to be the men and women that He wants us to be. We have to relax and let Him have His way in us. Only then will we be free from the excuses that hinder us and the work of the Lord.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for choosing us to be Your representatives. Help us to believe and trust in the transforming power of Jesus Christ in our lives. Give us the courage we need to do the jobs that You are calling us to do. Amen.