God uses ordinary people to do His work every day. Sometimes He uses us when we don’t expect it, when we don’t feel worthy of the honor and even when we don’t know how. But He cannot use us if we are not obedient to Him. Let me rephrase that. He cannot use us if we don’t at least have faith, and if we aren’t making an attempt to grow in our obedience. None of us will get it right every single time. That’s what makes us human, ordinary.
Sometimes I fail to heed His teachings and to obey His wishes. Okay, perhaps sometimes is an understatement. I find myself using excuses when I fail at obedience – as if it were His job to protect me from all of this temptation. As if when I sin, it is somehow God’s fault. “He made me who I am”. Well, that’s true. But He also gave me free will, and often I use that free will in a way that wouldn’t make my Earthly father proud, never mind my Heavenly Father! I try, I stumble. Now I have a choice, do I stay down, where the devil gets to use me for his lowly work, or do I rise up and try again?
I am a sinner. And listen, sometimes sinning comes disguised as a whole lot of fun. But if we look back on all of the times that we chose fun over obeying the word of God, I think we’d all agree that in the end, it wasn’t worth it. The fun went away and came back as grief. It’s so easy to make excuses for the sins we’ve committed or are planning to commit. Continuing to make those excuses is the equivalent of saying, “It’s okay to sin, a little”. Let’s try to remember that the only people God uses are redeemed sinners. Even when the enemy convinces us that God will forsake us because we’re such a hot mess teetering between good and evil, we must stay focused on the end goal. One minute we’re in church, hands raised in the air, singing His praises, and the next minute we’re looking at our neighbor with lust filled eyes and we think, “Meh, one day I’ll be Holy, but it doesn’t look like today is that day.” No my friends, it doesn’t work like that. You cannot honestly tell me that you don’t know what His expectations are. You are free to decide that you don’t care to meet those expectations (there is that free will thing again), but you can’t deny that you know what they are.
If our lives are to be truly useful, we need to begin seeing ourselves in the stream of God’s work. He has not blessed us just so we can be blessed. He has blessed us so that we can become a blessing to others. We cannot hide from it. He wants us, ordinary, human and flawed as we are, to be His messengers. I don’t mean to make that sound too glamourous, because sometimes all it means is taking a moment to carry down your neighbor’s garbage cans. Sometimes delivering God’s message will be a downright struggle. The Pastor, who first shared the word of God with me, worked in our State Capital. For many years he was not welcome there. He had to fight for his right to preach in a state building, to host a bible study and to counsel our legislators. I can’t imagine the bureaucratic nightmare he went through, but I know he never gave up. We must remember that the hassles in our lives are part of God’s bigger plan for us. If we obey Him, He will use our problems, large and small, to accomplish His purpose.
God wants to use you like that. If you struggle with trials and fears and sins and hassles and family problems, you qualify, as long as you’re also growing in obedience. As God blesses you, commit yourself to be His channel of blessing to others. And so, my prayer for today goes a little something like this:
Lord thank you for using ordinary people for your purposes. It gives us hope that our lives can make a difference for your kingdom. May we believe you, submit to your will and be quick to obey your commands. In Jesus’ name Amen.