Have you ever wanted to play basketball, football, baseball, or soccer and couldn't because you were too small, too slow, too fat, or had a physical disability? How about wanting to play the leading role in the school play or having a solo in the annual concert and you weren’t good looking enough or couldn’t sing well enough? What about wanting to become a teacher, or attorney, or doctor, or pastor, but you didn’t have the right education or enough money to get the right education? You’ve seen examples of people who have overcome these kinds of, what society calls, limitations. You may even know some of them, but you haven’t been one of them.
As we enter 2018 you may have said that this is the year that I’m going to be a better witness for Jesus. I’m going to work more for God. I’m going to make a difference in somebody’s life for God. Then you think I’m not an eloquent speaker, I don’t know that much about the bible, everybody knows that I made some terrible mistakes last year, I’m too old, I’m too young, or I have a physical disability, so I can’t be a good witness for Jesus. If this is how you feel then this post is for you!
The biggest reason people aren’t being used by God is because they don’t believe that they can be used because of something they’ve done in the past or that they don’t measure up to the world’s standards. When you say God can't use you, you are agreeing with our enemy, Satan. He's the one who tells you that you're useless….person; or maybe you think nobody will listen to you because of some external imperfection.
God can and wants to use you no matter what you’ve done, how pretty or ugly you are, how tall or short you are, what color you are, how many fingers and toes you have, how many arms or legs you have, and I can go on and on, but you get my point. God’s not concerned about any of that; He can and will use you. In fact Scripture tells us that God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise.
1 Corinthians 1:26-31 (HCSB)26 Brothers, consider your calling: Not many are wise from a human perspective, not many powerful, not many of noble birth.27 Instead, God has chosen what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen what is weak in the world to shame the strong.28 God has chosen what is insignificant and despised in the world—what is viewed as nothing—to bring to nothing what is viewed as something,29 so that no one can boast in His presence.30 But ⌊it is⌋ from Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became God-given wisdom for us—⌊our⌋ righteousness, sanctification, and redemption,31 in order that, as it is written: The one who boasts must boast in the Lord.
2 Corinthians 12:6-10 (HCSB)6 For if I want to boast, I will not be a fool, because I will be telling the truth. But I will spare you, so that no one can credit me with something beyond what he sees in me or hears from me,7 especially because of the extraordinary revelations. Therefore, so that I would not exalt myself, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to torment me so I would not exalt myself.8 Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times to take it away from me.9 But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me.10 So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, catastrophes, persecutions, and in pressures, because of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Philippians 4:12-13 (HCSB)12 I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret ⌊of being content⌋—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need.13 I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.
Still not convinced?
Abraham Was Old
Genesis 17:1-2 (HCSB)1 When Abram was 99 years old, the LORD appeared to him, saying, “I am God Almighty. Live in My presence and be blameless.2 I will establish My covenant between Me and you, and I will multiply you greatly.”
Genesis 17:15-19 (HCSB)15 God said to Abraham, “As for your wife Sarai, do not call her Sarai, for Sarah will be her name.16 I will bless her; indeed, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she will produce nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”17 Abraham fell facedown. Then he laughed and said to himself, “Can a child be born to a hundred-year-old man? Can Sarah, a ninety-year-old woman, give birth?”18 So Abraham said to God, “If only Ishmael were acceptable to You!”19 But God said, “No. Your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will name him Isaac. I will confirm My covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his future offspring.
Genesis 21:1-3 (HCSB)1 The LORD came to Sarah as He had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what He had promised.2 Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the appointed time God had told him.3 Abraham named his son who was born to him—the one Sarah bore to him—Isaac.
Hebrews 11:8-12 (HCSB)8 By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and went out to a place he was going to receive as an inheritance. He went out, not knowing where he was going.9 By faith he stayed as a foreigner in the land of promise, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, coheirs of the same promise.10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.11 By faith even Sarah herself, when she was unable to have children, received power to conceive offspring, even though she was past the age, since she considered that the One who had promised was faithful.12 Therefore from one man—in fact, from one as good as dead—came offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven and as innumerable as the grains of sand by the seashore.
Jacob Was A Cheater
Jacob and his mother Rebekah conspired to cheat his older brother out of his birthright as the oldest son of Isaac.
Genesis 27:5-10 (HCSB)5 Now Rebekah was listening to what Isaac said to his son Esau. So while Esau went to the field to hunt some game to bring in,6 Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “Listen! I heard your father talking with your brother Esau. He said,7 ‘Bring me the game and make a delicious meal for me to eat so that I can bless you in the LORD’s presence before I die.’8 Now obey every order I give you, my son.9 Go to the flock and bring me two choice young goats, and I will make them into a delicious meal for your father—the kind he loves.10 Then take it to your father to eat so that he may bless you before he dies.”
Yet Jacob was the one who was heir to the covenant that God had made to Abraham.
Genesis 28:10-15 (HCSB)10 Jacob left Beer-sheba and went toward Haran.11 He reached a certain place and spent the night there because the sun had set. He took one of the stones from the place, put it there at his head, and lay down in that place.12 And he dreamed: A stairway was set on the ground with its top reaching heaven, and God’s angels were going up and down on it.13 Yahweh was standing there beside him, saying, “I am Yahweh, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your offspring the land that you are now sleeping on.14 Your offspring will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out toward the west, the east, the north, and the south. All the peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.15 Look, I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go. I will bring you back to this land, for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
This is the unconditional promise made to Abraham and now given to Jacob by God Himself!
Moses Was Not A Public Speaker
Exodus 4:10-12 (HCSB)10 But Moses replied to the LORD, “Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent—either in the past or recently or since You have been speaking to Your servant—because I am slow and hesitant in speech.”11 Yahweh said to him, “Who made the human mouth? Who makes him mute or deaf, seeing or blind? Is it not I, Yahweh?12 Now go! I will help you speak and I will teach you what to say.”
Yet Moses was the man God used to free His people for slavery in Egypt and lead them to the Promised Land.
Exodus 14:29-31 (HCSB)29 But the Israelites had walked through the sea on dry ground, with the waters ⌊like⌋ a wall to them on their right and their left.30 That day the LORD saved Israel from the power of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore.31 When Israel saw the great power that the LORD used against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD and believed in Him and in His servant Moses.
David Had An Affair
2 Samuel 11:1-5 (HCSB)1 In the spring when kings march out ⌊to war⌋, David sent Joab with his officers and all Israel. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah, but David remained in Jerusalem.2 One evening David got up from his bed and strolled around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing—a very beautiful woman.3 So David sent someone to inquire about her, and he reported, “This is Bathsheba, daughter of Eliam and wife of Uriah the Hittite.”4 David sent messengers to get her, and when she came to him, he slept with her. Now she had just been purifying herself from her uncleanness. Afterward, she returned home.5 The woman conceived and sent word to inform David: “I am pregnant.”
Yet God called David a man after His own heart;
Acts 13:22 (NKJV)22 And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, 'I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.'
He also told David that he would always have an heir on the throne.
1 Chronicles 17:7-14 (HCSB)7 “Now this is what you will say to My servant David: ‘This is what the LORD of Hosts says: I took you from the pasture and from following the sheep to be ruler over My people Israel.8 I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have destroyed all your enemies before you. I will make a name for you like that of the greatest in the land.9 I will establish a place for My people Israel and plant them, so that they may live there and not be disturbed again. Evildoers will not continue to oppress them as they formerly have10 ever since the day I ordered judges to be over My people Israel. I will also subdue all your enemies. “‘Furthermore, I declare to you that the LORD Himself will build a house for you.11 When your time comes to be with your fathers, I will raise up after you your descendant, who is one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom.12 He will build a house for Me, and I will establish his throne forever.13 I will be a father to him, and he will be a son to Me. I will not take away My faithful love from him as I took it from the one who was before you.14 I will appoint him over My house and My kingdom forever, and his throne will be established forever.’”
Jesus was a descendant of David according to the flesh.
Romans 1:1-3 (HCSB)1 Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle and singled out for God’s good news--2 which He promised long ago through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures--
3 concerning His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who was a descendant of David according to the flesh
Gideon Was Insecure
Judges 6:11-12 (HCSB)11 The Angel of the LORD came, and He sat under the oak that was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash, the Abiezrite. His son Gideon was threshing wheat in the wine vat in order to hide it from the Midianites.12 Then the Angel of the LORD appeared to him and said: “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.”
Judges 6:36-40 (HCSB)36 Then Gideon said to God, “If You will deliver Israel by my hand, as You said,37 I will put a fleece of wool here on the threshing floor. If dew is only on the fleece, and all the ground is dry, I will know that You will deliver Israel by my strength, as You said.”
38 And that is what happened. When he got up early in the morning, he squeezed the fleece and wrung dew out of it, filling a bowl with water.39 Gideon then said to God, “Don’t be angry with me; let me speak one more time. Please allow me to make one more test with the fleece. Let it remain dry, and the dew be all over the ground.”40 That night God did ⌊as Gideon requested⌋: only the fleece was dry, and dew was all over the ground.
Yet the Lord used Gideon to lead 300 men to rout a huge army and he judged(ruled) Israel about 40 years.
Judges 7:12 (HCSB)12 Now the Midianites, Amalekites, and all the Qedemites had settled down in the valley like a swarm of locusts, and their camels were as innumerable as the sand on the seashore.
Judges 7:22 (HCSB)22 When Gideon’s men blew their 300 trumpets, the LORD set the swords of each man in the army against each other. They fled to Beth-shittah in the direction of Zererah as far as the border of Abel-meholah near Tabbath.
Paul Was An Accessory To Murder
Acts 7:58 (HCSB)58 They threw him out of the city and began to stone him. And the witnesses laid their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul.
Acts 22:20 (HCSB)20 And when the blood of Your witness Stephen was being shed, I was standing by and approving, and I guarded the clothes of those who killed him.’
Yet God used him as the apostle to the Gentiles.
Acts 22:21 (HCSB)21 “Then He said to me, ‘Go, because I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’”
Acts 9:15-16 (HCSB)15 But the Lord said to him, “Go! For this man is My chosen instrument to take My name to Gentiles, kings, and the Israelites.16 I will show him how much he must suffer for My name!”
Paul was used by the Holy Spirit to write much of what is now the New Testament.
Lazarus Was Dead
John 11:1-4 (HCSB)1 Now a man was sick, Lazarus, from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.2 Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, and it was her brother Lazarus who was sick.3 So the sisters sent a message to Him: “Lord, the one You love is sick.”4 When Jesus heard it, He said, “This sickness will not end in death but is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
Even in death Lazarus was used by God to confirm the power and authority Jesus has over death.
John 11:41-44 (HCSB)41 So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You heard Me.42 I know that You always hear Me, but because of the crowd standing here I said this, so they may believe You sent Me.”43 After He said this, He shouted with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”44 The dead man came out bound hand and foot with linen strips and with his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him and let him go.”
God Can Use You Too
There are scores more people in scripture who had issues but God still used them. Peter had a temper, Jonah ran from an assignment, Miriam, Moses’ sister, was a gossip, Martha was a worrier, Thomas was a doubter, Sarah, Abraham’s wife was impatient and there are more. Here’s the point; it doesn't matter what you’ve done in the past. God can and will still use you. He’ll forgive you because He loves you.
He doesn’t remind you of what you’ve done in the past as a qualifier for being used to keep you from being used by Him to do powerful works. Satan is your accuser, not God. Don’t ever think you’re not qualified enough to take God’s message of grace to others. God can use you as a powerful way to show His love to the world. Open yourself to being used for God’s purposes and watch as He uses you in a powerful way!
God can use you, all you have to be is willing!
EDITOR'S NOTE: This post was originally posted in January 2016 and has been modified to make it current with this year 2018
This blog is for you! If you have any questions or topics you would like me to address please use the comments section or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.