“One day the angel of God came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, whose son Gideon was threshing wheat in the winepress, out of sight of the Midianites. The angel of God appeared to him and said, ‘God is with you, O mighty warrior!’

Gideon replied, ‘With me, my master? If God is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all the miracle-wonders our parents and grandparents told us about, telling us, ‘Didn’t God deliver us from Egypt?’ The fact is, God has nothing to do with us—he has turned us over to Midian.’

But God faced him directly: ‘Go in this strength that is yours. Save Israel from Midian. Haven’t I just sent you?’

Gideon said to him, ‘Me, my master? How and with what could I ever save Israel? Look at me. My clan’s the weakest in Manasseh and I’m the runt of the litter.’

God said to him, ‘I’ll be with you. Believe me, you’ll defeat Midian as one man.’

Gideon said, ‘If you’re serious about this, do me a favor: Give me a sign to back up what you’re telling me. Don’t leave until I come back and bring you my gift.’

 He said, ‘I’ll wait till you get back’.” Judges 6:11-18 (MSG)


For months, I could never get in a specific door without having someone else unlock it for me. It always seemed like a hassle and an inconvenience to ask someone with a key. One day, the thought occurred to me that I had a key, and I had never tried it on that door. It was made for a different door, but it seemed that it might work. When I slid the key into the lock, it fit. With a twist, the door unlocked. I had the key all along, safe in a pocket. In life, God gives us the key to the door unlocking our potential, but many times, we just stand at the door, waiting for permission to unlock it.

When the Angel of God came to Gideon, he was not ready for the request. Gideon was working and going about his business. In the midst of God sending him a message, Gideon wasn’t quite ready to make a move. Even after God said that he was the chosen one to deliver Israel, he had questions and needed more confirmation. How could he be the one chosen? Wasn’t there someone else more qualified? He viewed himself as the least of the least. Gideon had been given the key but was standing at the door, negotiating himself out of his potential. Gideon was referred to as a mighty warrior, but he couldn’t see it in himself. As Gideon’s story unfolded, God gave him many signs to confirm His direction in Gideon’s life. Yet, time and time again, Gideon stood at the door, hesitant to unlock it. Although we might be tempted to be hard on Gideon for his response, many times our response to God’s leading is similar. You might feel God asking you to take a leap of faith and do something significant for His glory this year. And while God is planting the seed of the dream inside our hearts, we can stand at the door, negotiating ourselves out of God’s plans for our lives. We think that there has got to be someone else who is more qualified and ready. There has to be someone else who has a better background and has served the Lord longer. We reduce the calling that God is placing on our lives to a request that can be randomly transferred to someone else. God is looking for someone who is available and willing to respond. As God places God-sized dreams in your heart this year, don’t negotiate yourself out of your potential. If God has called you, then He has already given you the key. Now, it’s your turn to unlock the door.

Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002.  Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.