Are You Inferior?

Are you winning in life or are you losing? Is it you or your circumstances? Is it bad luck or bad you? Are you inferior? 

carracerI recall a clever story from my youth:

Seymour had an inferior car. 

He determined to enter the auto race and prove to naysayers that he had what it takes as a driver with great skill and nerve. He vowed to prepare his car with optimized fuel, customized parts and accessories that would overcome anything his competition could put up against him. He prepared himself mentally for the grueling challenge of the twists and turns of the long road race. He carried a new gritty determination as he climbed into his auto on the day of the race. With his foot on the pedal and his steely eyes focused, he kept this keen intensity all throughout the race until he roared across the finish line in last place.

For Seymour had an inferior car.

It only strikes me now, decades removed from my monthly devoted reading of the now defunct but very humorous Mad Magazine, that many of us feel like Seymour. We work very hard and have great intentions, but we come up short. We lose the race, perhaps many races. All the time.

We feel we are inferior.

Inferior at work, school, at home. Inferior in our neighborhood, team, city. Inferior in our looks, health, intellect. Inferior in our actions, behavior, results. Loser all around. All around loser.

Add Inferior Theology
This feeling of inadequacy can be compounded when we add our own homemade dose of theology or human rationale about God and how things work in the world. For instance, consider the following perspectives:

  • God hates sinners, I’m a sinner, so God hates me
  • My life is bad, so God must not care
  • Others are better than me, God only cares about others
  • I’m insignificant, so God doesn’t bother
  • God is needed in other places of greater need, not here with me
  • God made a mistake with me, I’m no good
  • God left me a long time ago, I’m too far gone
  • I accept my fate, this is what I deserve
  • God is mad at me, I don’t blame him

These are colossal lies and distortions that swirl in our heads and psyche and do great damage to ourselves and others. Worse still, they create blockage in our relationship with God.

In fact, twisted theology can be more harmful than no theology at all.

What is Biblical about our Inferiority?
Actually, truth is, we are inferior. Like Seymour’s car. No superficial fixes or even heartfelt will and determination can change what we are in real essence. We were once made perfect by a Holy and Loving and Almighty God, but our original ancestor, Adam, failed (as we most likely would have too). That failure (see Genesis 2) kicked in a Redemption Plan (see Genesis 12) whereby all the nations and peoples of the world would be blessed; that is, saved and restored to original perfection and relationship with Holy, Loving, Almighty God.

The entire Old Testament reveals the story of that reconciliation. From Abraham, that non-special, hand-picked man who would be the father of the Jews/Israel, that special but failed nation, who would be the people set-aside from the rest of the failed world to usher in the ultimate sin-atoning sacrifice: the Lamb of God, Son of God, Jesus Christ.

The entire New Testament reveals the Savior of the world, Jesus, (see 4 Gospels) and provides instructional guidance for the “new Israel,” that is, the Church, made up of inferior failures like all of us, Jews and Gentiles.

It’s quite a story, and if we read it we can see our inferior little selves all over it.

But There’s Hope for us Inferiors
The Bible is replete with assurances that though we are broken and lost inferiors, there is great hope and opportunity for renewed and restored strength and purpose in our lives. But it is not without a catch:

  • For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)
  • And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
  • Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. (James 1:2-3)
  • For He makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
  • Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (1 John 2:15)
  • Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and he will act. (Psalm 37:5)
  • For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (Romans 8:18)
  • For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. (1 Corinthians 13:12)
  • There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1)
  • I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)
  • Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. (Job 1:10-13)

The “catch” is that this broken life is not without hardship, but there’s hope, a plan even, for the enduring faithful and steadfast, who commit their life and trust to the Lord in the midst of an alluring world; who even through suffering can see past this present darkness to a future goal, strengthened, loved, even protected and blessed for God’s own purposes, not one’s own.

We, those in Christ, in God’s eyes are therefore really not inferior. We are worthy, valued and have purpose for now and the rest of our lives, as directed by God, who created us and can live and thrive within us.

Are you inferior in your thinking?
_______________________________
But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. – Acts 20:24



Categories: Abundant Living, Faith, Purpose, Theology

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