Here’s a sad story. After surrendering to the gospel ministry, I had no desire at all to return to school to get a degree, but God amazingly changed that desire. In the process of getting my associate degree, I applied to attend Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. My wife and I attended a day tour of the seminary with several other prospective students. During this time, my desire to get my education didn’t just change, it went from one extreme to the other. After starting school and actually enjoying it, I thought to myself, “I’m going to go for it all and get a Doctorate degree. So while we toured the Seminary campus, I distinctly remember this thought being entertained in my mind. I even remember when and where the thought came. We had just looked at the student apartments and were crossing the street to go back to the main campus. The thought was, “If I can get my name on a piece of paper with this seminary’s name on it, I will have it made in ministry.” Even in writing this, I’m reminded that God records the very thoughts we think. With this thought, I was building myself up in self-confidence in what “I” could attain and on a piece of paper, rather than placing my confidence in the Living God for my future. The apostle Paul was against self-confidence, but he was not against having a God-confidence. Here’s part of what he said in his letter,
Philippians 3:3-4 “For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so”
In our self-centered society, so much confidence is placed on a piece of paper or in our religious efforts. What a mistake this is and an insult to the power and place of God in our lives. Jesus said, “Apart from me, you can do nothing.” What are you trusting in today? What is giving you confidence? Is it your church attendance, or your serving, or your giving of of tithes and offerings? God in heaven wants us to depend on Him. There’s nothing wrong with getting a degree—get your degree—but don’t let that degree take God’s place in your life.
A few months after that visit, God spoke to me and said, “You are not going to that seminary.” That broke my heart, but the Lord very gently reminded me of the thought I had when crossing that street. Paul said, “have no confidence in the flesh.” Today and for the rest of your life, trust in God’s ability and not your abilities. Blessings in Jesus Christ!