COMPETENCE is the Achilles Heel of the Christian faith. The more COMPETENT a person is the greater the temptation for that person to take care of things on his/her own. If I am generally COMPETENT in ABILITY, perhaps I have talents that enable me to accomplish much with little concern for God’s will.
If I am COMPETENT with LIFE CHOICES, perhaps I can put off the air of having things together, managing the exterior space of my life, the space that everyone sees. If I am COMPETENT in KNOWLEDGE, perhaps I can maintain the illusion of wisdom and counsel. If I am COMPETENT in WILL, perhaps I can most often make the appropriate choices, willing myself through great difficulty and trial while standing on “my own two feet.”
Unfortunately, COMPETENCE is an OBSTACLE to faith. The longer I cling to my own capabilities, the less I turn to God for the POWER and SUBSTANCE of GRACE that infuses all I do with HOLY POTENTIAL. The COMPETENT PREACHER speaks well, relates to his/her audience, can be considered relevant and funny, offers engaging content with thought-provoking illustrations, but often lacks the PRAYERFUL ANNOINTING that comes on a person when they’ve been CALLED BEYOND their capabilities and into a space of complete DEPENDENCE on GOD. The COMPETENT CHRISTIAN can fulfill all the exterior expectations of religious practice, being in the right places, reading the right things, often choosing the right moral direction at life’s little intersections, but often misses the FULL outpouring of GOD’S SPIRIT that TRANSCENDS our NATURAL ABILITIES and empowers us to live LIVES pointing to GOD alone. THE COMPETENT CHURCH conducts its business well, EXCELS in its programs, hangs its hat on its staffing, and celebrates its EFFECTIVENESS in engaging it TARGET DEMOGRAPHIC, but often NEGLECTS the kind of KINGDOM-minded ministry that LEADS us into the UNCHARTERED WATERS of faith where we are utterly DEPENDENT on GOD every step of the way.
COMPETENCE treats PRAYER as a last resort once all other OPTIONS have been tried and found wanting. COMPETENCE treats GOD as a solution to a PROBLEM rather than the SOURCE of all LIFE.LORD, may we never SUBSTITUTE our COMPETENCE for DEPENDENCE and FAITH in you.