Judges 6, describing Gideon being called to become leader of the Israelites, tells us a lot about us and God. Firstly, God can use even the weakest person and transform them into a powerful leader. Gideon didn’t think he had much ability, asking ‘how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh [one of Israel’s 12 tribes], and I am the least in my family’. What he did have, though, was availability; he was open to God using him, which was much more important. To me, this shows that anyone can stand up and make a massive difference in the situations God puts them in – if He can work through Gideon, He can work through us too! However inadequate you think you are, God sees your potential; ‘Go in the strength you have’, He says, and He’ll equip you with everything you need to succeed en route.
Secondly, our identity isn’t based on the stuff we do, it’s based on who we are. For example, the angel refers to Gideon as a ‘mighty warrior’ before he’s done anything even remotely mighty or warrior-like, showing that our identity is fixed and God-given, not depending on good works to be created or sustained. Ultimately it is constant because it’s in Christ, based on what He’s done for us and the eternal truths He reveals to us through His word, and because He never changes, our identity is stable and secure too.
Finally, Gideon’s victory in Judges 7 makes it evident that he actually is a mighty warrior. Obviously this is because God’s with him and he’s trusting in His strength – if this wasn’t the case, Gideon and his 300 men would have been absolutely slaughtered! However, it’s also a reminder that God’s promises always remain true, even when your circumstances suggest otherwise. What He says about us is the absolute truth: no matter what, we are loved unconditionally by the God who created the universe – amazing! – and we are incredibly valuable to Him. This is true whether you’re a Christian or not, by the way; He loves us ALL equally, something Jesus showed by sacrificing Himself on the cross, paying the same price for everyone. Furthermore, God sees who we are becoming; people can only make judgments on you based on your past and your present, but God, the One who sees the bigger picture, knows your future too, making what He says about us sooo much more accurate than comments people make to limit us or hold us back.
The Bible is full of men and women God used who were essentially imperfect vessels; what they had in common, though, was obedience and a willingness to serve Him. This is what we need to have as Christians, and if we trust totally in Him we’ll be secure and confident in our God-given identity, determined to do His will and being well on the way to becoming powerful, effective and influential ambassadors for Christ.