How spiritual qualifications didn’t affect the Samaritan woman
It was a just over a year ago when I was chosen to be a leader in the church. I told my Pastor I couldn’t do it. I have a hectic job. I have a family to take care of. I’m already struggling with work/life balance. How could I add one more commitment to my already full plate.
Deep down inside however, the Holy Spirit showed me the root of my unwillingness to lead- what l was really thinking was ‘I don’t have the spiritual qualifications’.
I believe that God wants to use women to do great exploits in His Kingdom. But I’ve also realised that a lot of us women don’t believe this. We let fear and lack of spiritual qualifications affect us and stop us from doing what God has impressed upon our hearts to do, whether in the church or in the world.
Here are just 5 spiritual qualifications that you may regard as necessary to be used by God (I know I do sometimes):
- Being able to fast for a long time (3 days and 3 nights, 7 days, 21 days, 40 days)
- Being able to pray for hours and pray all night long
- Consistently reading the Bible every single day
- Being able to quote verses from the Bible spontaneously
- Being a church leader
You may even add more to this list as well…
Now these qualities are great in and of themselves. In fact, the Bible wants us to do these things. We should desire to do all of them but God is not holding a checklist of all the things you need to do before He uses you in His kingdom.
Can I be honest? I struggle with doing most of the above and I believe a lot of great Christian women (and men) pastors, preachers, teachers struggle too. Do I desire and keep striving to do them or even get better at it, yes I do. But I’ve learnt that waiting to be qualified before God uses you can stop you from experiencing what God has for you.
So why do Christian women let spiritual qualifications affect them so much?
- Comparison trap-we compare ourselves with the other Christian women in our church or the ones we see online who seem more spiritually qualified than us
- We don’t know God’s word- we limit ourselves to what we hear from other people and we don’t search out the Scriptures to hear straight from God
- We don’t believe God speaks to us- we are waiting for the audible voice of God. We don’t realise that God is speaking to use daily in His word, through people, nature and circumstances
- We don’t believe God’s grace-we still believe we have to work to be qualified. We don’t understand the concept of grace-God’s unmerited favour in our lives
Newsflash: The rules of God’s kingdom and the world are different. In the world, you are qualified first then you work. In God’s kingdom, you are called to work first then you are qualified while you work (it’s on the job training).
Introducing the Samaritan woman who didn’t let spiritual qualifications affect her and was used by God to save a city:
In John 4, Jesus was alone at a well, after His disciples had gone into the city looking for food. And He asks a Samaritan woman who came to the well for a drink. John 4:9 says ‘Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.’
Jesus was asking her to do something (give her water) and she believed she was not qualified.
- She was a woman
- She was a Samaritan
- She was a sinner
Something happens in the conversation however, and her eyes are opened. Jesus tells her about her life- she was a side chick who had gone through 5 divorces. Jesus also revealed to her that He was the long awaited Messiah, the Living Waters. (Read John 4:15-26)
But then the disciples came back, with their list of spiritual qualifications for those who could talk with Jesus:
John 4:27 says ‘And at this point His disciples came, and they marveled that He talked with a woman; yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why are You talking with her?”
My guess is while the disciples might not have said anything, what they were thinking was written all over their faces and the Samaritan woman could see it. They deemed her unworthy and unqualified to be talking to Jesus.
Do you have people like this in your life? People who look down upon you and believe God can’t use you and maybe even tell you so-because of your past sins or even present circumstances, your educational background, your leadership position in church or how many years you’ve been in church.
Take a lesson from the Samaritan woman, she didn’t let the disciples’ response affect her. Rather she focused on the experience she had had with Jesus, the change in her heart, the words He had spoken to her. That’s what ultimately matters. What God says about us, not what people say about us or what they think.
John 4:28-30 ‘The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men,“Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” Then they went out of the city and came to Him.
And because the Samaritan woman allowed God to use her in a mighty way to share the gospel and didn’t let spiritual qualifications affect her (or any other qualifications like gender and ethnicity for that matter) this is how the story ends-a WHOLE CITY WAS SAVED!
John 4: 39 ‘And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.”’
Wow! What an amazing story! Can we go back to the 5 qualifications we spoke about earlier? I believe the Samaritan woman wasn’t a woman who fasted, quoted verses, prayed for hours, she was probably not a church leader and didn’t read her Bible daily. She was a side chick. But she didn’t let her lack of ‘spiritual qualifications’ imposed by anyone affect her.
The Samaritan woman shared her testimony, that’s all she did and God did the rest. God is the one who worked on the rest of the people’s hearts to believe in Jesus and be saved.
Ok, so what action can you take today:
- Have you ever disqualified yourself from being used by God in a big or small way? Write a list of those qualifications you think you need to have. Then, I challenge you to read the story of the Samaritan woman’s story and see which of those qualifications she had-probably none. According to people, she was unqualified but in God’s eyes she was very qualified.
- Believe God’s Word, after all it’s the ultimate truth.God is looking for an open heart, that’s all. A heart that is willing to follow, let Him lead and be the Shepherd. People may tell you that you’re not qualified but don’t choose to let their words affect you if it’s contrary to what God says in His word
- Remember this popular saying which is very true: ‘God does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called’.
- Rely on the power of God. God is the One who enables us to do His work not our spiritual qualifications. Don’t give yourself pressure to do it all in your own power and strength.
My encouragement to you:
Is God calling you to do something today? It could be sharing your testimony at church or sharing the Gospel with your non believer friend, starting a business or starting a Bible Study, going into full time ministry or becoming a Sunday school teacher. What I know for sure is God equips us when we obey Him.
As for me, I’m now a leader in our church. No, I don’t think I’m qualified but I’m no longer allowing that to affect me. I choose to trust God and He has been faithful. My relationship with God has grown deeper since I became a leader. I imagine I’d never have got to the point where I felt ‘qualified’ to lead anyway. I don’t think you ever do.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the Samaritan woman’s story. Thank you that she is an example of someone who didn’t let spiritual qualifications affect her. Thank you that You use even those who are unqualified by human standards to show Your Power through them. I know you’ve been calling me to ___ (fill in the blank) and while I feel unqualified, I choose to trust you and obey you. Help me to act according to the leading of the Holy Spirit today in this area.
In Jesus name I pray. Amen
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