Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Be used Pt I

I realized while writing this that it would take more than one entry. 

Part one:

“The Lord doesn't ask about your ability, only your availability.

This is really a twofer (definition for those unfamiliar with the term). It's difficult to talk about being used without talking about being available.

How do you make yourself available to God?

  • Stop blocking God. - James 4:7-8a This takes us back to 'Be Lego.' Don't try to merely fit God in, submit your life to Him. His plan is better anyway. We often try to fight surrender because it's not easy to not be in control. When you run into a problem at a company, what do you ask? Something along the lines of 'Who's in charge here? May I have a word with them please?' (Maybe not in as mannerly a fashion as that, but you get the idea.) BEFORE you run into a problem, why don't you do that with your life? 'Excuse me, who's the manager here? God? Oh! Well okay then, I want Him to take care of this for me.' This doesn't mean the rest of your life will be easy, but you won't have to do it alone. One of the songs we learned growing up was 'He's got the whole world in His hands.' That's kind of reassuring isn't it? :)

  • Stop making excuses. - 1 Corinthians 13:11* I'll be blunt. Excuses are childish. Do away with them and take responsibility for your actions, or, in many cases, inaction. Benjamin Franklin said, "He that is good for making excuses, is seldom good for anything else." Until you stop finding reasons for why God can't use you, and accept that He can and will in His time, what are you good for? Time is precious, don't waste it.

  • Come correct. - Psalm 51:10 You can't come to God 'any kind of how' (as we would say in the Bahamas). I think however, that to an extent, how you come to God is more about your heart than the state of your life at the time. Of course if your life is in complete disarray, with you waffling between the ways of the world, and the ways of God, there will be a problem (see next point), but how genuine you are is important. When he wrote Psalm 51, David's life was in a shambles. He had committed adultery with a married woman, got her pregnant, tried to cover it up, failed, had the woman's husband killed instead, then he married her. David had it bad. The thing is, when he went to the Lord, he acknowledged his wrongdoing, and asked to be cleansed, before doing anything else, because as he said, God would not accept a sacrifice from him until he had done so. If you want God to accept your life, let your heart be pure when you give it to Him. Proverbs 27:19

  • Don't half step. Matthew 6:24 This one is simple, make a decision as to whom it is you're going to work with, and stick to it. You come to God asking Him to use you, when you have [His] undivided interests at heart. Philippians 1:27a

  • Humble yourself. -  Philippians 4:13 If you want to make a difference in the world, you have to be humble enough to admit that you cannot do it on your own. The thing is, you can't look to other people to help you. Depend on God. Philippians 2:3-5 In that scripture we're instructed to be not only humble, but selfless as well‽ In today's world, values like those are really only praised in people like Billy Graham, and [the late] Mother Teresa. In the business world, traits like being ruthless, cutthroat, even backstabbing if it gets you what you want are admired. Let's be honest. It's all about survival of the fittest right? Humility and selflessness go against human nature. Or do they? Perhaps not. Ephesians 2:10, "For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." It seems from that verse that doing good is an intrinsic quality in us. Just because we do not recognize it doesn't mean that it's not there. To 'do good' for another person means putting yourself aside, and putting their needs above yours. Humility. Understand that a life consecrated to God is a life of [among other things] humility. Aside from the positive impact on the lives of others, one of the best things about humility is the payoff: James 4:10

  • Give yourself. - Romans 12:1 If I ask you to borrow a million dollars, and you say you will give it to me, so I go and take it out of your bank account, I'm pretty sure that makes me a thief. Saying you will do something does not equate to doing it. We have a saying in the Caribbean, 'Mouth can say anything.' You only said you would give the million, you did not actually give it, so I had no authority to take it from you. Until you actually give me the money, it's not mine to use. Actions speak so much louder than words. If you want God to use you, to use your life, don't say you will give it to Him, do it.

  • Ask. -  Matthew 7:7 This may seem obvious, but it's interesting how after doing all of those other things to make ourselves available to God, we just forget to ask. How many women get 'the wrong gift' for their birthday/anniversary/Christmas because they drop hints and assume their husband/boyfriend will know what they want? Children will often do the same thing. They will see some popsicles (ice lollies) in the freezer, and instead of simply asking for one, choose to go on and on about how much they like popsicles. Though we know what they want, because they have not asked, sometimes we deny them the privilege. We can hint, suggest, intimate to God all day that we want Him to use us, but often, if we don't ask, we too are denied the privilege. 

Now don't think that not doing these things i.e. not making yourself available to God, means that He will not use you. 

It is easy to let ourselves fall into the trap of thinking that we're too far gone, or too sinful for God to use us. Reality check: God uses anyone He wants. He's God.

Just in case you're still skeptical, here's a few people that God used despite their flaws:

Noah was a drunk
Abraham was too old
Isaac who was a daydreamer
Jacob was a liar
Leah was ugly
Joseph was abused
Moses had a stuttering problem
Gideon was afraid
Samson had long hair and was a womanizer
Rahab was a prostitute
Jeremiah and Timothy were too young
David was an adulterer and a murderer
Elijah was suicidal
Isaiah preached naked
Jonah ran from God
Naomi was a widow
Job went bankrupt
John the Baptist ate bugs
Peter denied Christ
The disciples fell asleep while praying
Martha worried about everything
The Samaritan woman was divorced (more than once)
Zaccheus was too small
Paul was too religious
Timothy had an ulcer

AND (my favourite)

Lazarus was dead!

Never doubt that God can use you. :)

Leaving you with a song again today, enjoy!

* For the most part, the scriptures will be from the NIV (New International Version) or the ESV (English Standard Version), but in this particular instance the quote is from the KJV (King James Version). Though now use my ESV more than my KJV, I grew up using a King James, and so for me, 1 Corinthians 13 is just one of those scriptures that just doesn't sound as sweet coming from a newer translation. 

Next posts:

Be used Pt II

1 comment:

  1. After those years of believing that only faithful christian leaders, missionaries, elders are great workers of God, I have come to realise that "being used" by God is supposed to be the normal way of living as we are created to glorify him and serve the Potter. "Being used" should be the "default setting" in our lifestyle and mindset because that's what we are made for and what we need to pursue throughout our lifetime. However, I often (honestly, everyday) alter the setting to "Me-mode" such as "I'm-busy-now mode"; "I'm-too-young mode"; or "I'm-not-good-enough mode". I myself have been living under these settings and limiting God's vision and divine penetration to my life. You're right. We need to have right attitude and perspective so God can work in our lives.

    "To be used is to be available". I needed that. :D