It’s amazing how we often limit God’s abilities, isn’t it? We think the creator of the universe can’t use sinners like us to do his work. “There’s no way God could use somebody like me, I’ve been divorced.” “God wouldn’t want me, I struggle with lust and have a sinful sexual past.” “I had an abortion…I’m useless to God.”
We’re quick to point out the things that make us ineligible to play on God’s team, when instead we should read His word and look at those he’s used in the past. You might say “That was back in biblical times, things are different now.” Well, I’d tell you that’s a dumb excuse. God doesn’t change, he’s the same today as he was back then, and so is His word. Let’s look at an amazing example of how God used someone with a terrible past. A sinner, far from being the Godly man we would expect to fulfill His work;
The apostle Paul. Wow, now there’s a guy that had a jacked up past. Originally known as Saul of Tarsus, this guy hated Christians, and had a lot of them arrested and killed. In fact, he was present at the killing of Christian martyr Stephen (Acts 7:54-8:1), and he approved it! After the stoning of Stephen, Saul went door to door throughout Jerusalem and arrested all the Christians he could find. He even admits to killing Christians…check out Acts 22:4-5;
“I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, as the high priest and all the Council can themselves testify. I even obtained letters from them to their associates in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished.”
Surely God wouldn’t use a Christian-killer? But that’s exactly what He did. Have you read what happened to Saul on his hunting trip to Damascus?; Acts 22:6-11
“About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, “Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord?” I asked. “I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting”, he replied. My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me. “What shall I do, Lord?”, I asked. “Get up”, the Lord said, “and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been assigned to do.” My companions led me by the hand into Damascus, because the brilliance of the light had blinded me.
Look at what happens after Saul see’s “the light” (see what I did there?….”the light”)
At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?” Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah. Acts 9:20-22
It took Jesus coming down and smacking Saul, now known as the Apostle Paul, for him to change from persecuting Christians to becoming one. After his blinding experience where he actually spoke to Jesus, and Jesus to him, he knew he had been wrong, and changed instantly. Saul was a self-admitted killer of Christians, yet God used him to spread His word and write a large portion of the New Testament.
Many of us, myself included, often think God can’t use sinners like us. We’re not worthy to do work for a mighty God. We’re wrong my friends. Paul is just one of many examples of God using someone who’s miles away from the Christian life we attribute to those who do His work. So stop thinking God can’t use you, and start praying and listening for what He’s telling you to do.