For a long time I heard believers humbly share their qualms about God ever truly being able to use them. If truth be told I wasn’t sure if I connected with that statement on a personal, experiential level. Because I could see God was using me. I could see Him use my personality, my vernacular, my experiences and my abilities to touch lives around me. I could see lives being impacted through the God in me. Yet I thought about that statement often – certain there was treasure in it that I was yet to grasp.
Then finally I got it. You see the more I fell in love with Jesus the more I began to see the inadequacies of my heart before God. The more He unveiled His beauty to me the more I discovered the ugliness of my soul…the inequity of my heart…the pride…the self seeking, the judgement and self righteousness. I saw how my flesh could so often get in the way of God and interfere with what He wanted to do through me. I saw my impatience and lack of grace. I saw the limits I placed upon love. I suddenly realised that God had used me thus far, by His grace for His plans and purposes - but that by no means warranted me usable because of anything I could boast in. Wow! Suddenly I understood what all those before me had meant when they had humbly questioned God’s capacity to use them - I realised that it had never been about my ability, my experience, talents or giftings. It had never been about the outside. It was always about what was on the inside. It was always about the condition of my heart – it was always about whether God could use this impure heart of mine to achieve His pure, untainted purposes.
I was so deeply convicted. So deeply aware of the shortcomings of my heart…so truly broken as I sincerely pondered how God could ever use someone like me. It’s so ironic isn’t it that the more we become like Jesus the less we are convinced He will be able to use us. The more we see our frailties in the light of God’s incredible goodness the more we question our usability as a vessel of Almighty God. Yet this is why I am convinced he can use us. Because the more we see His amazingness the more we recognise that none of it is our doing anyway – all of it is by His grace. The Message sums it up beautifully in Ephesians 2: 7 - 10:
Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.
And so in His incredible love Father God tenderly shapes us each and every day through the work of the Holy Spirit making us more like His Gorgeous Son - and the more we become like Jesus the more we lean into Him recognising that without Him we are nothing, we have nothing, we can do nothing – yet with Him we have gained all things and are able to do all things - despite our shortcomings and cock ups we have right standing with God. That fills me with delightful confidence no end – to know that in spite of my inadequacies and the frailties of my heart, despite my tendency to repeatedly get it wrong and to fail Him again and again - with unconditional love and unceasing good thoughts towards me God is somehow able to use me by His grace, for His glory…with incredible results that will kick hell’s butt and impact all of eternity!!! Maaaan…how seriously heavyweight is this unfathomable grace we have stumbled upon?! Like WOW a million, gazillion times, right?!
"We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.” 2 Corinthians 4:7 (NLT)
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