Why I’m Not Qualified to Serve the Lord (but I’m going to serve Him anyways!)
Question: What are my credentials?
The first email I read asking about this, I laughed to myself.
I’ve been asked this question before when I’ve gone to speak at churches, and my simple answer is always the same. None. I have no credentials. According to the world’s standards, I am not qualified to serve the Lord by teaching His word because I do not have a degree. Sadly, even some Christians and/or churches will take this viewpoint, but it’s not biblical.
The Apostles Peter and John were uneducated men, yet, look at the impact they made on the world.
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus. Acts 4:12
Mary, the mother of Jesus, and John the Baptist were uneducated too. Yet, God used them in spite of their lack of education. They were two ordinary people who submitted their wills to the will of their Father.
The Apostle Paul, who was educated, felt what he pursued in the flesh he counted loss for Christ. In fact, he called it rubbish! When I first read this passage as a new Believer, it made me laugh out loud! It defies all of what the culture embraces in regards to status and education.
…rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ…Phil. 3:3-8
What mattered to the Apostle Paul was knowing Jesus, and what matters to me is knowing Jesus.
As people, we naturally desire human commendation, but this is short-sighted. Paul argued that Christ equips believers with divine resources and thus makes us sufficient vessels to be used by the Lord.
We are confident of all this because of our great trust in God through Christ. It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God. He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life. 2 Cor. 3:4-6 (NLT)
Personally, I have nothing against formal education, in fact, before I got saved, I attended a Christian University. Isn’t that ironic. It didn’t turn out too well for me, though. I spent 2 1/2 years on that campus but I couldn’t get saved to save my life. Literally. During my freshmen year, my roommate was a drug addict who set my room on fire. Later that year, my new roommate was a Pastor’s kid. Boy, was I confused by what I saw in the name of Christianity.
I even asked someone how could I get saved. They just looked at me, gave no response, and walked away! I was 19 at the time. I eventually left the university and later became an atheist.
I continued on with other universities to get my degree because that was just the thing to do. But eventually, I stopped.
Today, I’m one semester shy of getting my degree, but when I got saved in 1996 and then married in 1998, I soon realized that I wanted my ‘career’ to be spent as a wife and future mother. For me, I didn’t believe that finishing my degree would prepare me for my new roles in life. So I didn’t pursue formal education. However, I still pursued learning, more specifically, God’s wisdom.
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Prov. 9:10 (NKJV)
A few years later, I mentioned to my husband that when I was done raising the kids (they were only 4 and 5 yrs. old back then) that I might want to go back to school to get my degree in Marriage and Family counseling because I liked ministering to women.
My husband didn’t feel I needed to do this. You don’t need a degree to impart the Word of God, he said.
Hmmm, his statement caused me to ponder.
More than a decade has since passed from that earlier conversation, and my husband was right. I didn’t need a degree to teach the Word of God because Truth doesn’t need to be validated by man. Truth is truth regardless of one’s education, age, gender, social status, etc.
Bottom line: the Holy Spirit holds more power than a college diploma.
Question: What denomination am I affiliated with?
None. I’m a born-again, evangelical Christian who attends a Bible-believing and Bible teaching, non-denominational church. If you’d like to know more about my church, you can do so here.
Funny story, when I got saved on July 6th, 1996, I didn’t even get saved in a church. I was coming back from a trip and I asked the Lord to come into my heart while I was traveling in a car on the highway!
At that time, I knew absolutely nothing about the Bible. The book was big and it was hard to understand in my early years, but I just kept reading and sitting at my Master’s feet. I was hungry for truth and direction for my life, so I sought it from the pure Word of God.
If your heart is surrendered to your Father, and if you steep yourself in the Bible, you will eventually grow in wisdom and knowledge. In due time, you’ll learn what your spiritual gifts are, too!
For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. Romans 12:8
Colleges hand out diplomas, not spiritual gifts. It is God alone who determines the spiritual gifts He’s going to give to His children.
The goal in the life of a Believer is to do God’s will and to bring Him glory, whether we have degrees or not.
Every believer is called to go make disciples. (Matt. 28:19)
Every Christian woman has a biblical mandate to impart biblical guidance to the younger women. (Titus 2:3-5)
And every believer has spiritual gifts that should be unwrapped and used to edify the church. (Romans 12:8) (1 Cor. 12:4-10)
I am a bondservant to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, so I will be doing all of the above until my work here on earth is finished.
Are you ready to step out in faith and serve the Lord? Let me leave you with this prayer…
…may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen. Hebrews 13:21 (NLT)
Live a poured out life for Christ,
If you want to read my Statement of Faith, you can do so here.
No need to justify yourself to others, Jolene. Just keep doing His work. Many of us are blessed by it!
“For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty.”
1 Corinthians 1:26–27
God Chooses The Weak
God’s ways are often opposite from the world’s ways. According to 1 Corinthians 1:26, “not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.” Isn’t it fascinating to discover that while the world looks favorably upon the wise, mighty and noble, God does not? Let’s see in the next verse what God chooses instead: “God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty.”
Isn’t it amazing? God has chosen the foolish and weak things to qualify for His abundant blessings. But the verse does not say that the foolish and weak things will remain foolish and weak. Instead, by God’s unmerited favor, they will put to shame the so-called wise and mighty things in this world. In His hands of grace, the foolish and weak things become even wiser and mightier than the wise and mighty things of the world.
My friend, God is interested in your success. Even if you are not the swiftest, strongest, wisest, most knowledgeable and most skillful in the natural, God can still bless you with good success when you depend on His grace. You can rise above the system of meritocracy and survival of the fittest through His undeserved, unearned and unmerited favor!
Yes, God definitely chooses the weak. I love the 1 Corinthians 1:26–27 verses. Thanks for sharing!
I love it, my husband would say the same thing yours did. Keep on, Jolene!
Thank you, Anastasia!
Very well said. Amen and may God continue to bless you, your family and your ministry. You blessed me today!!
Wonderful to hear you were ministered to, Stacey!
“For it is his boundless mercy that has given us the privilege of being born again so that we are now members of God’s own family.” (1 Peter 1:3 TLB)
God says your salvation is no accident. HE CHOSE YOU LONG BEFORE YOU CHOSE HIM. He took the initiative. The Bible says in 1 Peter 1:2, “You were chosen according to the purpose of God” (TEV).
Why would God choose you or me to be a part of his family? Because he is a God of love. He is a God of grace. The more you understand grace, the more you’re going to be amazed by it. God chose you. Did you deserve it? Not a chance. Do you deserve to go to Heaven? No way! Are you good enough to be in God’s family? No. He just chose you. And that’s good news!
On what basis did he choose you? “For it is his boundless mercy that has given us the privilege of being born again so that we are now members of God’s own family” (1 Peter 1:3 TLB).
God chose you based on his mercy, not your performance. You’ll never earn it. You’ll never deserve it. You couldn’t work hard enough for it. You couldn’t be perfect enough. It’s only because of God’s grace and mercy that the Creator of the universe says, “I want you in my family.”
If that doesn’t encourage you, you’d better check your pulse.
It’s wonderful being a part of God’s family, isn’t it! Thanks for sharing this Bianca.
This is JUST the encouragement I needed today. For the first time ever I am teaching/facilitating an adult Ladies Bible study. Starting tonight. I have three degrees but absolutely no credentials to teach Bible as far as I’m concerned – I’m only following His will and submitting to the call of how I believe He wants to use me next. It’s exciting and I’m still wondering how, then asking forgiveness for doubting….and I’m doing this! Thank you for sharing all these shinney, and wonderful gems Jolene!
Oh, I just loved reading your story, Gwen! You can do all things through Christ, my sweet friend!
Thanks!! So….21 ladies came and were stuffed into a hot little room! We’re doing Jennie Allen’s”Restless”. One of the prayer requests from our ladies was that she needed to find God in her life – YES!!!
I think they’ll all be back!
Amen…I’m so glad you made everything clear! There’s not a requirement mandated to do the work of the Lord. There are many with degrees & the know-how that are doing absolutely nothing or should I say aren’t using ‘their spiritual gifts.’ I would like to encourage you to stay steadfast & unmovable because you’re making a positive impact in the lives of many Christian Women..especially mine!
God Bless You.,
God has prepared you for this work…that is all that matters. I am thankful that you share your gifts and God’s Word with all of us. You are a true inspiration!
Keep it moving Blessed Woman of God…The Anointing destroys yokes and sets people free…You Daughter of Zion are walking out the call of God upon your life…Degrees don’t define who we are in the Lord…you’re walking under the Unction of the Holy Spirit’s University with your Master’s in Jesus Christ and a PH.D in the Presence of a Holy Daddy!!!!!
Blessings to you Always,
I am so encouraged by this, Jolene! Thank you for sharing, thank you for serving.
Wow! Two years ago my life (and to a small degree, my faith) fell apart. Things are finally coming back together, we’ve found a new church home, and things are looking up. This post and especially the scripture you quoted are exactly what I would have asked for, had I known I needed it. THANK YOU for your obedience to our Heavenly Father. You have encouraged me greatly.
I’M Blessed Beyond Words ! Thank you LORD JESUS for these words spoken. For this is the desire of my heart is to serve the Lord Jesus. We are to be a willing vessel . And God will do the rest. Amen
Amen! Absolutely! I thank God for your obedience to share the Word and encourage others using your God given gift! May God continue to bless you and your family!
Hi. I’m Eliana from Argentina. This is the first post that I read here and I love it. I was looking for friends that encourage me in my relationship with God because I haven’t any friend that really knows him. I was fighting with anxiety attacks and so much fear for three months and that complicated my time with God and my service in church. Thank you so much for your words. It’s feel like a mother’s advice. I bless you.
Jolene, what can I say? I admire you and you inspire me that’s all. Thank you for sharing this.
I just love how transparent you are. It’s so inspiring.
I could not identify more with you. I don’t have any formal education, but feel the Lord leading me to write and teach. With the mind of Christ, we can do anything.
I so needed this today and where I am in my own journey with our Father!! Thank you for sharing the truth so boldly and in such a way that administers hope, casts out darkness by the Light you share!!
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