Sometimes I don’t feel qualified. The voice in my head says:
- You don’t have enough experience with kids to be a good mom.
- You don’t have the skills to be a supervisor at work.
- You’re not holy enough to be a pastor’s wife.
- You don’t belong. You’re weak. You’ll never measure up.
But here’s the thing: God put me in the situations I’m in. I may not always have the qualifications on paper, but He’s going to give me what I need when we get there.
This is something we see in Acts.
Our Assignment as Witnesses
In the beginning of Acts, Jesus is still hanging out with the disciples. Then He tells them it’s time for Him to go, but to stay in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit comes upon them. In Acts 1:8, Jesus tells them:
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
You’re going to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth. That assignment sounds a little intimidating to me!
The Disciples’ Qualifications
In Acts Odyssey, Rene Schlaepfer points out something I didn’t think about before: the qualifications of who Jesus is talking to (Peter, Mary Magdalene, John, Thomas). He wrote (page 12):
As Max Lucado puts it, “You hillbillies will be my witnesses. You uneducated simple folks will be my witnesses. You temperamental, parochial net casters and tax collectors. You will be my witnesses. You will spearhead a movement that will explode like a just-opened fire hydrant out of Jerusalem and spill into the ends of the earth…”
And here’s the point. If he used them, he can use you. No matter how small or unqualified you feel.
God uses everyone, no matter where you were born, what your family life was like growing up, or what your profession is (or isn’t). The disciples weren’t the most qualified religious elite; they were fishermen, tax collectors, women in a culture that didn’t respect them, etc.
What Are Witnesses?
So how does He use us? We’re supposed to be witnesses. What is a witness, exactly? According to Merriam-Webster:
- One that gives evidence.
- One who has personal knowledge of something.
As Rene puts it (pages 12-13):
You don’t have to defend God. You don’t have to judge for God. You don’t have to prosecute others for him. All God wants you to do is be a witness.
What’s the witness? Simple. Someone who tells you what they’ve seen. That’s your mission. Be honest about what you see happening in your life. What God’s doing. Be willing to share it winsomely and openly. When you and I do that, it spreads.
If you think about it, judges and lawyers need to go to school and have special training to do what they do. But witnesses are anyone. And cases hinge on what witnesses attest to seeing. Witnesses play a vital role!
So do you and I. I may not always feel qualified, but I can tell people–my kids, my coworkers, my neighbors, or anyone else I cross paths with–what I’ve experienced and seen.
We’re Not Witnesses Alone
There’s more good news: we don’t have to be witnesses alone. We have the Holy Spirit to help us. One of my prayers is that God speaks through me and gives me the words He wants me to say when He wants me to say them.
There are a lot of used words to describe the Holy Spirit: Helper, Counselor, Teacher, Comforter. But I want to focus in on that last one: Comforter.
Sometimes people call the Holy Spirit “The Comforter.” That word goes back to one of the very first English translations of the Bible by John Wycliffe in the 14th century. But in Wycliffe’s time, the word “comforter” had a different meaning than now. It comes from the Latin fortis, which means brave. The Comforter is the one who fortifies, who fills people with courage! (Acts Odyssey, pages 13-14).
I really like that. I don’t always feel strong or brave, but I don’t need to. The Holy Spirit fills us with courage so we can tell people what we’ve seen and experienced.
Where We Have Influence
We don’t need to have a huge sphere of influence. Jesus reached a lot of people during His time here, but focused heavily on his core group of 12 disciples.
Going back to Acts 1:8b, Jesus gives us a model of different groups we have influence in. They’re almost concentric circles, with the most influence being in the middle/smallest group and then moving outward.
…and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
I like how Rene provided context around Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria to help me understand how to apply this (pages 19-20).
- Jerusalem: The center of the Jewish world.
- Judea: The Roman province Jerusalem was part of.
- Samaria: The province next door, where sentiment against Jews ran high.
- Ends of the earth: These were frontiers filled with cultural and racial and religious barriers.
And then to personalize it:
- My Jerusalem: Your home, the place you feel most centered and comfortable.
- My Judea: The place is most connected to your center (your work, gym, hobbies).
- My Samaria: Those places close to home where you feel a little out of place.
- My ends of the earth: Supporting missionaries through prayer, encouragement, or finances.
We’re Witnesses in the Day-to-day
God is working in all of us, usually in ways we don’t even realize. We don’t need a certain skills, education, or work experience to tell others what He’s doing in our lives. We’re witnesses wherever we end up during the day!
Where is He helping you grow? How has He transformed your life (sometimes subtly or dramatically)? What have you seen Him do that was unexpected but better than you could have imagined?
Keep an eye out for Him, and ask the Holy Spirit to fortify you and speak through you when the opportunities come up!