For those who find it hard to believe God would use a former drug lord to significantly impact the Kingdom of heaven, all one has to do is remember who God used in the past. For example, Moses, who led the Hebrews out of slavery and later received the ten commandments from God, killed a man in his younger days. Exodus 2:11-15
Rahab was a prostitute when the Israelites first came to her land. But she protected and helped the Jewish spies when they arrived because she believed in the God of heaven, the God of the Hebrews. And when the walls of her city fell, Jericho, she was saved from death, and later married into the family who were in Jesus’ ancestral line. Joshua 6:25, Matthew 1:5, James 2:25
King David lost his position on the throne because he had an affair with a married woman and had her husband killed. Those wrong choices caused one disastrous event after another and brought major grief to the entire country. And yet, after he repented, he was restored by God and had such a place of honor that Jesus is called the Son of David. II Samuel 11 – I Kings 2, Matthew 1:1
In the early days of the Apostle Peter, he denied knowing Jesus even though he had walked with Him for three years; yet afterward God restored Peter so that he became instrumental in the early church and wrote a portion of the New Testament. Luke 22:55-61, The Book of Acts
The Apostle Paul persecuted Christians before he became a follower of Christ, and yet after his conversion he too became strongly influential in the young church and wrote much of the later portion of the New Testament. Acts 7:57 – Acts 9
Our crimes against God and humanity are not acceptable, but in Genesis God knew the earth was full of people who would make wrong choices, so made plans then to provide a sacrifice. (Genesis 3:15) Today we know it as the blood of the Lamb — the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross for the sins of the world. It is God’s mercy and goodness that redeems and restores us and then chooses to use us. In His goodness He loves like no other, forgives, and sees what we will become when filled with His Holy Spirit.
While on this earth, the ONLY people Jesus was tough on were those who believed they were the best thing going; those who thought their own righteousness earned them authority and a place in heaven, rather than understanding only Jesus’ authority and actions earned them a place there. It was Jesus’ death on the cross that was the ultimate sacrifice, not their good deeds. To everyone else He preached grace and truth and had compassion on them. John 1:17, Matthew 14:14, 20:34
If only we can remember He is good to us because He is good, not because we are! (Matthew 5:45, Titus 3:3-7) He will use any of us redeemed sinners, broken by life, and restored to health by God.
1) Do I believe God cannot use me because I’ve really messed up? If so, what makes my sin worse than anyone else’s in the Bible? After they repented for what they had done, God forgave, restored and used them. Do I think my sin is worse because I “knew better”? So did they! However, God still went into the desert to get Moses, sent Joshua to Rahab, Nathan to David, and Jesus to Peter and Paul. God apprehended them after they sinned and used them in His kingdom. Why would I think He wouldn’t do that for me?
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Romans 3:23 NLT
2) If Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was for the sins of mankind, why do I believe my sins haven’t been, or cannot be forgiven?
But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. I Corinthians 6:11b NLT
3) Did Jesus die only for a few of my sins? Fifty percent? Maybe ninety-eight percent? Or did He die for all them?
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned. John 3:17-18a NIV
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1 NASB
4) Is it possible I’m the one holding myself back from being used by God? And if so, what can I do to change my thinking?
…let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God — truly righteous and holy. Ephesians 4: 23-24 NLT
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. I Peter 5: 6-7 NIV
5) Is it crazy ridiculous that God would make mankind out of dirt and then ask us to be holy like He is? (I Peter 1:16) Isn’t being holy like He is an absolutely impossibility?
Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible. Matthew 19:26b NLT
…Let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith….
Hebrews 12:1b, 2a NASB
6) How are we empowered to become more like He is? How can we live differently than before?
For the love of Christ controls us. II Corinthians 5:14a NASB
…. to God’s elect …. who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with His blood: grace and peace be yours in abundance. I Peter1:1-2 NIV
Father, thank You for allowing me to see in Your Bible the stories of men and women who weren’t perfect but whom You still used; people who not only made mistakes but sinned against You as I have. My sin is different but still sin. Thank You for being much bigger than I imagined. Thank You for giving me hope and an understanding that You can use me despite my screw-ups.
Lord, give me ears and a willing heart to listen to You and believe what You say. But above all, cause me, make me, help me to develop such a genuine and eternity-long relationship with You, that whatever I do it is simply the product of our good relationship.
In the Name of Your dear son, Jesus Christ, I ask these things. Be honored and glorified in my life, Father. Amen.