Devotional - 99-07-16 - In Spite of Ourselves
Sometimes we have the idea that God can only use us if we are very mature, perfect Christians. But that is not Biblical. God wants to use us as we are right now. If you are like me, you sometimes feel God uses you in spite of yourself. If so, take courage -- we have plenty of comrades in the Bible. Take Gideon, for example. He was not always a stellar hero of faith and courage. God provided him with a supernatural appearance of an angel, to encourage him.
Judges 6:11 The angel of the LORD came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. 12 When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, "The LORD is with you, mighty warrior." The New International Version
But that wasn't enough for Gideon, who said more or less, "Yeah but if you are with us, God, how did we end up in such an awful mess?" To which God reassured him again, that he would be strong because God Himself was sending Gideon. But Gideon still wasn't convinced.
Judges 6:15 "But Lord, Gideon asked, "How can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family." The New International Version
The Lord reaffirmed that Gideon's forces would be victorious over the Midianites. You would think that if by this time, Gideon would be fired-up and ready to take on the enemy. But Gideon still was not 100% convinced, so God provided another proof.
Judges 6:21 With the tip of the staff that was in his hand, the angel of the LORD touched the meat and the unleavened bread. Fire flared from the rock, consuming the meat and the bread. And the angel of the LORD disappeared. The New International Version (See Judges 6:17-22 for the whole story.)
Even after the pyrotechnics were over, Gideon asked for a fleece test. (See Judges 6:36-40.) Yet God used Gideon mightily, to lead 300 men into victory over a force whose camels "could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore. (NIV)
All God needed from Gideon, and all He needs from us, is willingness to follow Him. He provides the strength, the power, the wisdom, the game plans. All we have to give Him is ourselves. If God required perfection before He used us, we would not have the encouraging books of 1 and 2 Peter, written by the impetuous apostle. He wouldn't have used holier-than-thou Jonah to save Nineveh. We wouldn't have the legacy of the Apostle Paul, arguably the best Christian who ever lived. Paul admitted that he constantly struggled with doing what he should not, and failing to do what he should. Even as God works on us, He will use us exactly as we are. In fact, our weakness can highlight His strength.
Each time he said, "My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness." So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me. 10 Holy Bible, New Living Translation
Not only is He willing to use us in our feeble state; His power works BEST in our weakness! God has gifted each one of us, and He does not intend for us to wait until we are "good enough" before we bring forth spiritual fruit for Him. We will never be "good enough;" only Christ was "good enough." I hope you will join me in asking God to use you -- not tomorrow, but today.
: ) Jan