J. Vernon Mcgee once told the story of a young seminary student who was about to preach his first real sermon. The young man was quite accomplished in his studies, and he felt more than equipped to communicate God’s Word. As a matter of fact, he was overly confident. When the time came for him to deliver the sermon – he walked boldly, even arrogantly, to the sacred desk. He arranged his notes before him, then gazed over the congregation. As he began to preach, his memory and his tongue betrayed him. He couldn’t remember his illustrations, his words shaky and weak. What he thought would be a 30-minute sermon was over in 10 minutes. Sheepishly he descended the stage after the concluding prayer.
The Senior Pastor of the church was an experienced minister who had seen this sort of thing many times before. He placed his arm around the young seminarian and said, “Son, if you had walked onto the stage the way you came down, you would have come down the way you went up”.
King Ahab of Israel gave similar advice to Ben-Hadad in 1 Kings 20:11 (ESV), “Let not him who straps on his armor boast himself as he who takes it off.” No matter what you are attempting to accomplish today – remember that victory belongs to the Lord. He gives you a mind to think and arms to work. As Jesus said, “apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). May this thought sober you and humble you as you strap on your armor.