So often, the word “equip” reminds us of something we have done, are doing, or need to do to prepare for a task, assignment, or goal ahead. And a lot of times, we own our “equipping” responsibilities for the sake of being qualified. If I am going to run a marathon (which is not on my bucket list, by the way), I need to start training. If I decide I want to become a doctor or pilot (also not on my list), some pretty specific education and practice will be required before I am entrusted with real people. When our family began camping, we decided that in order for it to be enjoyable and peaceful, we had to get prepared with the right equipment and accessories. In all of these scenarios, we need to do the work of getting equipped. Many things in life require our efforts, our planning, our training, and our diligence.
However, our self-sufficient tendencies often get in the way of God is trying to do with us. We have forgotten that God is GOD and will equip us for whatever He calls us to do. Sometimes He uses our education to equip us for the task He’s assigned to us, sometimes He uses our experiences, sometimes He uses our failures, sometimes He uses our interests, but often He uses our weaknesses so that He can be glorified:
“Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor. 12:9-10, NLT)
Last year around this time, our family read Katie Davis’ book Kisses from Katie. If you haven’t read her story of complete surrender to what the Lord has called her to do, I encourage you to read it. In short, she is a young woman, 26 years of age, who has said yes to the Lord and is living out the life He called her to.
She writes, “Today, I am living the desires of my heart and I cannot imagine being happier; I cannot imagine living any other life than the one that unfolds before me day by day. But believe me, I am by no means living my plan. I thought that I wanted to go to college with my high school boyfriend, get married, have a successful career and children, settle into a nice house down the road from my parents, and live happily ever after. Today, I am a single woman raising a houseful of girls and trying to teach others the love of Jesus in a land that is a far cry from my hometown and my culture. This is not a life that I dreamed up on my own or even knew I desired. I am watching God work, and as I “delight myself in the Lord” by doing what He asks of me and by saying yes to the needs He places in front of me, He is changing the desires of my heart and aligning them with the desires of His. As I go with Him to the hard places, He changes them into the most joyful places I could imagine. It sounds beautiful, adventurous, even romantic in ways, right? It is beautiful. And the crazy thing is, it is so simple. Don’t misunderstand; it is not easy. But it is simple in that each and every one of us was ultimately created to do the same thing. It will not look the same. It may take place in a foreign land or it may take place in your backyard, but I believe that we were created to change the world for someone. To serve someone. To love someone the way Christ first loved us, to spread His light. This is the dream, and it is possible. Some days it is excruciatingly difficult, but the blessings far outweigh the hardships.” (pp. XX-XXI, Kisses from Katie).
Saying ‘yes’ to the Lord does not come without difficulties: It means we will be questioned, misunderstood, and perhaps ostracized by those who think we have completely lost our minds. Others may be disappointed by our choice(s) because they wanted something very different for us, whether they say it to us or not. However, saying yes to the Lord means that we trust Him and believe that He will equip us with everything necessary in order to be victorious. It means pleasing Him is far more important than pleasing anyone else (Gal. 1:10). Being equipped means having faith. It is impossible to please God without it (Hebrews 11:6). And faith means action.
“What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.” (James 2:14-17, NLT)
Let me not be misunderstood: Good works are not going to secure a spot for us in heaven. We are clearly told this:
“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” (Eph. 2:8-9)
However, our actions show Him (and the world around us) that we are all in; that we believe He is big enough to equip us for what He’s asking us to do, big or small. That we are willing to risk our pride, our reputations, our relationships in order to follow Him into the unknown. Our actions can bring Him glory.
Truth: I am equipped.
My actions need to show that I believe I am!
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1, ESV).
From ancient times all the way to present day, those who have stepped outside themselves to do what they seemed (or seem) so ill-equipped to do yet were (or are) victorious had (or have) one thing in common: They had (or have) hearts that said (or say) “yes” to God. They were (or are) open to the impossible because they looked (or look) beyond their own self-equipping and saw (or see) the power that comes when God equips. When He equips, it comes with a spirit of power, and love, and clarity. Fear is not in the equation. (2 Tim. 1:7, NKJV)
When the Lord called our family to homeschool, I was the first one to question my abilities: “Am I equipped to do this? It seems kinda crazy, Lord.” Yet, I heard Him clearly asking me to step into this call anyway, despite my lack of qualifications. It would require faith to do something I felt extremely ill-equipped to tackle and do well.
“You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” (Matt. 17:20, NLT)
Six years later, we remain fixed on the Lord’s call for our family and trust Him with it continuously. I never imagined this would be part of my life story or the story in the lives of our girls, however, it is one He is writing. His is so much better than mine could ever be. His faithfulness in equipping me started the minute I said yes to Him and hasn’t stopped since. He has blown my mind so many times over with His perfect timing. He has shown me that the smallest of requests are not at all small to Him. When we are so dependent on Him for our equipping, there are lots of requests. I claim this truth often: “In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” (Psalm 5:3, NIV)
I know, that I know, that I know: The Lord is faithful to ALL of His promises (Psalm 145:13). He is faithful to equip us for the places in life He calls us to and is simply waiting for us to say “YES.” When we do, we will be able to say with confidence, “When I am weak, He is strong!”