God gives us what we need in order to mold us into the image of Jesus. He uses our limitations to shape us and to guide us. He also uses them to bless us and others through us.  Our boundaries are not impenetrable walls where we must stop, they can be open doors for us to experience God’s intervention and His invitation to go further than we can imagine.  God specializes in bringing beauty out of the ashes and rubble that are our trials, disappointments, and sufferings. He makes us productive beyond our capacity to produce. It is not conventional wisdom, but it is true that God makes us weak to make us stronger by His power and for His name.

The Bible is full of men and women who are unworthy and weak and useless, bound by their limitations, yet these same people are the ones chosen by God to do great things. God chooses the weak to shame the strong (1 Corinthians 1:27). The wisdom of God takes our “not enough” and makes it “more than enough.” The world does not get it, but God shames the wise to exalt the weak.  God makes no mistakes – He knows our limitations! He created us!  Every limitation was established by Him, and He is good and loving and just.  Every good and perfect gift comes from Him, and He will not call us where He will not go with us.

I think some people misapply this concept of limitations and try to justify cruising past the end of their abilities and resources like a hungry 7 year old who decides to drive himself to McDonald’s. We have all been around people who do this.  Like the girl who thinks she was born to lead worship but can’t play an instrument or carry a tune in a bucket – she has the passion, but lacks the discipline to serve in this manner. However, when “the Spirit moves,” she reaches for the microphone every single time.  How about the guy who always shows up to restaurants when everyone goes out together and orders a Faith Coke, not telling anyone he has no money, but being real vocal about how he already ate and just wanted to hang out. He will eat anything offered to him and snatches up anything left on anyone’s plate, then hits the door before the check comes so “the group” can absorb the cost of his $3 Faith Coke.  Or maybe you know someone who planned an event that would take 100 volunteers to set-up and clean-up, and would cost enough to blow-up the annual youth budget, and then nobody even bothers to show-up!

I do not mean to imply that students have to be professional level to be called by God to lead worship, or that a poor friend can’t join everyone at the restaurant and enjoy the experience, or that an event has to always be a homerun when maximum effort is required.  I am saying we should ALWAYS consider our limitations and ALWAYS consult and honor God above all else.  The key to working within our limitations is not to be found in our own strength and determination. The key is in placing our faith in our Heavenly Father and going where He leads!   Knowing your limits allows you to operate in a manner that is healthy and appropriate, but it also demands that you invite the Holy Spirit to fill you up and direct your actions in a way that magnifies the name of Jesus – especially when you need to operate outside of your limitations!

If you regularly operate outside of what is healthy and appropriate based on your gifts and resources, be sure you are not relying on the Faith Coke principle.  If you trust God, ask before you act on His behalf!   If you aren’t sure if you are operating in His will, remember this – “He must become greater; I must become less.”  If the opposite is true, you are serving yourself and on a collision course with your limitations!

Chris Coggins
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