¡°FEELING INFERIOR?¡± By Pastor YAU
Text: 1 Kings 19:1-8 October 27, 2013.
1) Lincoln's guiding force: The guiding force of the legendary US president Abraham Lincoln was his belief that: ¡°All men were created equal.¡± This belief of equality motivated him to set his political policy to abolish the slavery system in America inherited from Europe. His belief led him to wage the civil war against his opponents mostly from the south. It is also this belief set him apart from all other American presidents in history.
2) Were we all born equal? Many qualifying words could be added to the slogan by Lincoln such as dignity and value before the Creator to justify his claim of equality. But in real life there are too many factors that segregate all of us into classes of all kind. Why was Prince George born with all the luxury non of us won't even dream to think? Why are some people so smart, so good looking, so talented, endowed with all possibilities to be successful? Some of us would naturally feel inferior when we compare ourselves with them. So feeling inferior is part of life few is able to conquer. We may be equal when God created us, but we were not that equal when we were born.
INTRIQUING FACTS OF INFERIOR COMPLEX: Just to list a few
1) It has little to do with your IQ: According to studies, those who have their IQ over 130 are more likely to feel inferior. Most ordinary people (from 85-115) are less to feel inferior, the reasons are many and complicated. If you are in the mid-range of IQ, you may feel lot better than the genius.
2) There is no set sign to identify: Signs of inferior complex is personal and it varies from person to person. Some may have visible signs, expressions in words and actions while others may just hide on the inside. Still other those will show unfounded pride to cover up their true inferior feeling. Others may express it in being extremely critical to balance their fear of inferior.
3) It happens to all kinds of people: It happens to Christian and non-christian, rich and poor, talented or ordinary, educated or illiterate, people in all levels of position, power and privilege. Because none of us was born perfect, there is always part of us, our life, our ability, we don't have but we see them min others. The higher we want achieve, the more we may feel inferior because of our inability or failure.
YOU ARE IN GOOD COMPANY: If you feel inferior, you are not alone.
1) Moses wasn't any better: When Moses refused to answer God's call to lead the Israelis out of Egypt, he wasn't just being humble, he was feeling inferior: I can't do that. He didn't have parental care at his own home when he was a baby and became an adopted child by a foreign woman. When he tried to help people of his own, he was rejected, mocked and had to run for his life. He was lucky to be taken in as an adult but he never had his own home or his property¡ªhe was tending flocks not of his own. He was at the lowest point of self-esteem when God called him to do something he was certain he could never do it, much less do it well. (Ex 3-4) When we are feeling inferior and inadequate, we certainly don't feel capable to serving God well.
2) Elijah wasn't better either: The test of today's message is the story of his feeling so inferior when he was running for his life and compared his life to that of his ancestors. He was feeling so bad and so low that he didn't even want to live. Sometimes, we only see Elijah and his courage, power and faith but neglect to see what is actually on his inside: his inferior complex, lacking self confidence and feeling numb and dumb that he actually asked God to let him die right there. Sometimes, great men as we see them have their breaking point and they snap when they look at their inside.
3) Jeremiah wept through his life: Jeremiah wept for the sins and rebellion of his people while he was kept in the dungeon as a prophet he never want to be. In fact, he presented to God he wasn't qualified because he was only a child, didn't know much about life, didn't have the gift of speech and didn't know what or how to say. (1:4-5) But God won't let him go, like he didn't let Moses go in Exodus. God promised to give him extra grace or ability to do his work. Anytime we feel inadequate or face a challenge, we always want to remind God that someone else is better than us. But God just want you or me, not someone else.
4) Do you know this guy Amos? Amos was a herdsman from a small town of Tekoa. He was not a man of the court like Isaiah or a priest like Jeremiah. He lived in Judah, but God sent him to announce God's judgment on the northern kingdom, Israel. Amos didn't have any qualification, background, education as student or children of prophets of the court. He had no experience of any kind in speech to people, much less to the powerful. If anyone could feel bad and inferior about himself, Amos should be the one. But he served faithfully to God's call without giving any excuse like othres.
BIBLICAL TEACHING ON INFERIOR COMPLEX:
1) God created us for good work: ¡°For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.¡± (Eph 2:10) The saying: ¡°God didn't create junk¡± is so true in all cases. When God created us as we are, he knows what he can do in us and through us. We never have to doubt how God may use us on what. All we need to do is being obedient to his call and do all we can with His grace and power.
2) God continues working in us: ¡°Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion.¡± (Phil 1:6) I believe with all my heart on the statement of a bumper sticker: ¡°God isn't finished with me yet.¡± God will continue his work in us to polish us, purify us, correct us and energize us to meet the needs of the task he assigns us to do, the kind of life he wants us to life. All we need to do is be willing to place ourselves in his hands to let him work on us and in us. He will see it through to accomplish his purpose.
3) God created us all different: ¡°But God has arranged the parts in the body, everyone of them just as he wanted them to be.¡± (1 Cor. 12:18) God created all parts of the body, big and small, more honorable or less honorable, to be placed to fit the needs of the body. So, you may feel you are less honorable than another guy, but you are as important as that guy in terms of fulfilling the assigned function in the body. We don't have to be like another guy but still are very important in God's body.
PRACTICAL STEPS TO HANDLE INFERIOR COMPLEX: 4 Rs
1) Realize that you are special: ¡°I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully created; your works are wonderful, and I know that full well.¡± (Psalm 139:14) Regardless how you feel about yourself, you are certainly a special person created by God. God has a special purpose to create you the way you are to fulfill his purpose. He knows who you are and how you may fulfill his course in your life.
2) Remember the process continues: Although God has his perfect purpose in our lives, we do not have the full capacity to understand or cooperate with God to fulfill his purpose in us. The process to grow, understand, obey and pursue take time to perfect. God will never give up on us even if we feel like to give up on God. Great man like Job even need time to refine, how much more we need to allow God time to improve us better fit his purpose.
3) Refuse to compare with others: This may be the hardest to do because we live among others and it is a natural tendency to compare us with others in many areas of life: the build, the look, the talents, the abilities, etc. can't list them all. Usually we will compare us to those who are higher or better than us and we feel inferior and are sadden. We may become jealous and blame God for not giving us all we want. In fact, God never anyone perfect, never!
4) Reenforce your endowment: God provides us the endowment, potential. It is up to us to use, develop, energize and sharpen the God given potential. Just as in the parable of the ¡°talents¡± in Matt 25:14-23, God expects us to utilize the gifts he has given us to the greatest extend to advance his kingdom. We certainly not to bury his endowment and complain that God didn't give us as he has given to others. Paul encourages us to be faithful in using whatever God has given us to the best of our ability. God didn't ask we to be productive as another guy, but he certainly asks us to be productive as he assigns us to.
APPLICATION OF TRUTH: