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.