Have you ever felt like you weren’t good enough for God? Or even qualified to be used by Him? I know I have and most, if not all, of the times that I entertain these thoughts it is because I see myself and the decisions that I make and I realize that there is nothing good in me. There really is nothing, aside from Jesus, that is good enough, in me. So, when I’m faced with opportunities to speak with others or help others (what many of us would call ministry), I hesitate. Not because God is not great, or mighty, or deserving, but because I feel inadequate as a vessel for Him.
Recently, I’ve been reading through the Bible and I am currently reading Leviticus (“Really?” You may be thinking. Yes! and there are some pretty fascinating things), and though there is jargon and ritual language that can at times pass over my head, I read Leviticus 8 and it really spoke to me. Leviticus 8 details the ordination (dedication-to-ministry ceremony) of Aaron and his sons. It’s very interesting because previously God had instructed Moses to make very special clothes for Aaron and his sons who would be priests, Gods representatives among His people. And now was the time that Aaron was going to try on his “new clothes.”
Can you remember a time when your parents bought you new clothes and how excited you were to try it on? Clothes hand-picked and prepared for you, but the only caveat is that you couldn’t put it on yourself. “What!? That’s crazy,” you might be thinking, but that is exactly what happened with Aaron. In Leviticus 8:6-9, 12-13, Moses was tasked with washing and clothing Aaron and his sons. Aaron and his sons had no part in dressing and preparing themselves with the clothes that they would wear for their ministry. Interesting huh?
Moses did everything. Aaron and his sons were just there and accepted the change.
Similarly, Zechariah had a vision which he recounts in Zechariah 3:1-5, about Joshua the high priest (the same responsibility/job that Aaron had). In his vision Zechariah sees Joshua, dressed in filthy garments, standing before the Angel of the Lord, who we understand to be Jesus, and next to him was Satan, accusing him (presumably of all his wrongs and sins). In this beautiful scene, The Lord rebukes/silences Satan and orders an angel to remove the filthy clothes and dress Joshua with fine garments. While the angel undresses him of his filthy garments and dresses him with clean clothes, Jesus speaks and says, “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you” (3:4). Interesting, right? Joshua’s filthy clothes were symbolic for his sin, so that must mean that this new garment is something that Joshua himself cannot put on or attain himself, which is righteousness and justification.
Again, the Angel did everything. Joshua was just there and accepted the change.
In both situations, Aaron and Joshua were priests and were of the highest office in ministry, but even they were unworthy of their responsibility.
And it is very interesting how in both of these very similar stories the main subjects were the actual objects of someone else’s care and attention. They did not bring about their own cleansing and dressing but rather allowed someone else to do that for them. And it is not because they didn’t want to do it themselves, but because they couldn’t – they were unworthy.
Only He who is worthy can make us worthy. Only He who is holy can make us holy. Only He who is love can help us love.
Justification by faith means that we have no part in our being made right with God, except for believing (having faith) in the One who makes us right. Jesus is the one who is tasked with justifying us. Our sole duty is accepting God’s work for us & in our behalf.
And this is where the rubber hits the road, ministry is not about you! Somehow, we have come to think that God’s mission and work depends on our efforts and abilities, but it has never been about what we bring to the table, but about God. In these stories, it is evident that both the one who forgives and makes us righteous is solely God, we are tasked with accepting what He has given us.
When we understand this quintessential point, our life will be changed because we will realize that we are never to look at self, but rather constantly to Christ. And in so doing, we will understand that it is not about how we feel or how qualified we believe we are, but it is indeed always and forever about God and His choosing of broken people like you and me, who are tasked with serving a perfect master. As the Bible paints, we love and serve God not to earn salvation of His love, but because we are saved and loved. Let God work in you so that you may work for Him. Not looking to yourself, but looking unto Him, the author and finisher of our faith (Heb 12:2).
Sebastian Lopez has been involved with Enspire Productions since 2010. He is currently enrolled in the MDiv. program at the Andrews University Theological Seminary.