Can God Use You?
Long before you were born, before you were a dream in your parents’ minds, God specifically designed and prepared good works for you to accomplish. These correspond to His plans for your life, and now it’s your responsibility to discover and accomplish them. What are you doing to fulfill your God-given potential? No Christian has the right to sit and soak up all the benefits of the Lord’s gift of salvation yet never lift a finger to serve Him. You've been purchased with Christ’s blood and now belong to Him (1 Peter 1:17-19). And what’s true for you in that regard is true for all believers.
In spite of that, many Christians still think serving the Lord is optional. Yet Scripture teaches otherwise: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). Our physical characteristics, personalities, abilities, and temperaments were all fashioned with this purpose in mind. We are perfectly suited for the tasks the Lord has chosen for us.
Perhaps you've been told you’re worthless and you’ll never amount to anything. Maybe this is something you secretly believe about yourself but have never admitted to anyone else. I want you to know that in God’s eyes, it couldn't be further from the truth. You have something valuable to contribute. He’s created you with specific skills and capabilities to bring Him glory. There is a reason to keep hope alive. Don’t give up on yourself, no matter what’s in the past. With God, there is always a future.
When the Lord assigns a task, He also supplies His strength to accomplish it (1 Peter 4:11). That’s why Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to His disciples (John 14:16). The same Helper who enabled them to spread the gospel throughout the known world of the first century lives today within believers—including you. His desire is to continually guide you each step of the way, providing the divine energy to accomplish whatever service you’ve been called to do. Once you open yourself to God’s leading, His purposes will become increasingly evident, and what He asks is that you obey and leave all the consequences to Him.
What holds believers back
Among the many possible reasons a Christian might shrink away from service, here are the ones I’ve observed the most:
Poor self-image. Some Christians use feelings of unworthiness as an excuse: The Lord could never use someone like me. Oftentimes this negative thought pattern originates from demeaning comments heard during childhood. However, we must realize other people’s perceptions of us never match God’s. Each person is His workmanship, and He has purposed to use us. We can’t afford to hang on to the past, or we will miss His good plans and waste our lives.
Inadequacy. If you feel inadequate to serve the Lord, join the crowd. None of us are sufficient in ourselves for God’s calling—and this is a good thing. Anytime we’re challenged by the Lord to do something beyond our abilities, we are driven to lean upon Him for strength. In fact, that’s the way our faith grows. Each challenge teaches us to believe that He will stand in the gap and supply what we need to achieve His work.
Comparison. One of the greatest ways to shut down obedience is to compare ourselves with others. Haven’t you ever told God, “Why don’t You ask ______ to do this? He could do it so much better than I can”? The problem with this reasoning is that the Lord called you to do that job, not someone else. God doesn’t need your advice about who can do it better; He just wants your obedience.
Weaknesses. When it comes to service, too many people major on their weaknesses: I’m not in the best of health. I’m too old. I can’t speak in public. Whatever your excuse, you’re not the first one to try this tactic with God. Remember Moses? Blaming his stuttering problem, He told the Lord to find someone else to confront Pharaoh (Ex. 4:10-13). God didn’t accept his excuse then, and He won’t accept ours now. Paul says our weaknesses are opportunities for Christ to display His strength in us (2 Cor. 12:9).
Fear. If God challenges us with a task beyond our comfort zone, the natural reaction is fear. What if I fail or don’t measure up? I could make of fool of myself or face criticism. Satan wants anxiety to hinder us from becoming effective servants of Christ. If he can keep us immobilized on the sidelines, he wins. That’s why we have to believe God and move out in obedience. The only way to overcome our fears is to step into them, trusting God to do His work through us.
Busyness. When presented with an opportunity to serve the Lord, some people claim, “I don’t have time.” But actually, a more accurate statement might be, “That’s not a priority for me.” I know this is hard to swallow, but it’s the truth: If we can’t squeeze out the hours to serve God in some fashion, we’re too busy with our own agendas. The only way we will become effective servants is to let Him control our calendars and schedules.
God created you with specific skills and capabilities to bring Him glory. Don’t give up on yourself, no matter what’s in the past. With God, there is always a future.
Selfishness. Sometimes people aren’t willing to serve the Lord because their lives are devoted to family, friends, careers, hobbies, and responsibilities—but they have no interest in serving God. When we appear before the judgment seat of Christ, these excuses won’t stand. Instead of receiving rewards for accomplishing the good works God prepared for us, we’ll watch the wood, hay, and straw of our lives burn away (1 Cor. 3:10-15). But in this life, it’s never too late to change course.
The kind of people god uses
From our perspective, God uses the most unlikely people. Just look at the disciples. They were hardly the kind of men typically thought of as great, but after Jesus grabbed their hearts and the Holy Spirit came to live within them, they turned the world upside down. God’s not looking for the most impressive people. His measuring stick is the heart. When we are characterized by the following qualities, He can do the most amazing work through us:
Availability. God is looking for willing servants who will make themselves available for whatever He asks them to do. When the Lord called Isaiah, the prophet immediately responded, “Here am I. Send me!” even though he hadn’t yet heard the job description (Isa. 6:8).
Humility. Since God is opposed to the proud, He calls on the humble to accomplish His purposes (1 Pet. 5:5-6). He wants servants who seek to give Him the glory instead of taking the credit for themselves.
Purity. Another requirement for effective service is a pure life. I’m talking not about perfection but about having a heart bent toward obedience. Purity necessitates keeping short accounts with God through immediate confession and sincere repentance. Allowing sin to remain in our lives hinders our usefulness because it deadens spiritual sensitivity and quenches the Spirit’s power.
What’s at stake
Jesus told a parable about a master who entrusted three servants with various amounts of money to invest on his behalf (Matt. 25:14-30). Two of them went right to work and doubled their investment, but the third man simply dug a hole and hid the money.
On returning, the master lavishly praised and rewarded the servants who had used what he’d given them, but the one who refused to serve him was severely punished. We won’t lose our salvation because of a lack of service, but we can lose rewards in heaven for not using what God entrusted to us.
If you sense the Lord speaking to you about this issue, you may be asking, What does He want me to do? How does He want to use me? Sometimes the “what” of service is not revealed until you simply make yourself available. The Lord never lets a willing life go unused. If you’ll surrender to Him and commit to go wherever He leads, He’ll open the doors and guide you into the most meaningful and fruitful life possible. I’m not saying it will be easy, but it will be worth it. Guaranteed.
The article was selected from In Touch magazine.
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