Whom God Uses in His Ministry (I)
Manna 81: Autumn

Clay Pot—California, USA

 

For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. (2 Chr 16:9a)

 

As part of the body of Christ, we are all called to minister to God and to our fellow members. We are His eyes, His hands, and His feet. But the question is, what kind of a person does God actually use in His ministry? The above verse says that God is looking for people whose hearts are loyal to Him. These are the people whom He seeks to help, through which He shows His great power. God is looking for people whom He can bless, honor, and use in a great way.

 

So we ought to examine ourselves to see whether we can be used by Him (Lam 3:40). The Bible says: “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you” (1 Tim 4:16). We must carefully and continually evaluate ourselves so that we can be molded for the Lord’s use. When we are refined, then we are ready to be used by God.

 

So what qualities make a person useable by God?

 

 

A SURRENDERED HEART

 

A life surrendered into the hands of the holy God is a marvelous thing. The Bible describes surrender in a very interesting way: when something is surrendered to God completely, it is described as “broken.”

 

 

Used by God

 

When God uses a broken vessel, it represents someone who has surrendered himself totally to God.

 

When Jesus fed the 5,000, He took the bread, blessed it, broke it and used it (Mt 14:19; Mk 6:41). This is what God does in our lives. Just as with the bread, Jesus will take us, bless and “break” us, and use us for His purpose. The hardest part is the breaking, which happens when we surrender our heart, when we submit to God’s will and say: “Dear God, whatever You want me to do with my life, I will do. Whatever You want to do in my life, I will accept.”

 

When Gideon led an attack on the Midianite camp, God sent only 300 men out against 4,500. God told them to surround the camp, and each man to take three items into battle: a trumpet, a clay pitcher, and a lit torch to go inside the pitcher. At Gideon’s signal, the men in his company blew their trumpets at the same time and broke their clay pitchers, sending the bright beam of their torches into the camp (Judg 7:19–20). The two other companies followed suit: 300 men blowing trumpets, breaking pitchers, and wielding bright torches. The enemies were thrown into mass confusion and began attacking each other. This is how God gave a tremendous victory to Gideon and his band of 300 soldiers. What would have happened if the pitchers did not break? There would have been no light, there would have been no victory.

 

When the woman came to anoint Jesus at the house of Simon the leper, she broke the alabaster flask and poured the expensive oil on Jesus’ head (Mk 14:3). When she broke the flask, the fragrance would have filled the room (cf. Jn 12:3). Unless the flask is broken, there would be no emanating fragrance.

 

As with many things, Jesus is the supreme example. In the Garden of Gethsemane, He prayed: “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done” (Lk 22:42). Careful study of the Old Testament reveals that the cup is a metaphor for our lives, and that it can be filled with a variety of things. Our “cup” can be filled with blessings and salvation (Ps 23:5; 116:13), or it can be filled with wrath and judgment (Isa 51:17). In fact, many Old Testament passages use the metaphor of the cup as a reference to God’s fierce judgment. So as He prayed, Jesus knew the agonizing pain that awaited Him, and yet, He ended with “Not My will, but Yours, be done.” This is total submission.

 

There will be a time in our lives when we must go through our own personal Gethsemane, a time when we feel completely lost and alone, unable to stem the flow of tears. This is when we say to the Father: “Not my will, not my ambition, not my desire, but Thy will be done.” When we have broken our own self-will and our self-dependency, God will do amazing things in our life.

 

 

Sought by God

 

God also looks for a broken heart, but not in a romantic sense.

 

When David, the author of Psalm 51, committed adultery and was confronted by Nathan, he acknowledged his sins (2 Sam 12:13) and repented, submitting himself to the word of God’s prophet. Samson led most of his life relying on his own strength. After the Philistines captured him, he could no longer save himself by his own might. Strung between two pillars, the blinded Samson finally humbled himself and prayed. And that was when God answered him.

 

When we have committed sin against God, and we acknowledge our wrongs and repent wholeheartedly, that is when we are broken before God. Such broken hearts are sought by God. As David himself acknowledges, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart—these, O God, You will not despise” (Ps 51:17).

 

 

Trained by God

 

On the other hand, being broken is not always a result of sin. Sometimes, God will break us to strengthen our faith, and train us to rely on Him instead of our own strength. The Bible describes how Jacob wrestled with God all night. Until then, his faith had not been his own. Yes, he knew of his father’s faith, but he was only living out the faith of his parents; his own faith did not mature until after the wrestling match. And he not only walked away with a personal faith, but also with a permanent limp to remind him of his weakness.

 

How many times have we truly wrestled with God, the way Jacob did? Do you know your God? We all need a divine wrestling match with God, and He will touch us, just as He touched Jacob’s hip. We will not be the same person we once were. If we wish to be used by God, we must surrender and be broken.

 

 

A ROOTED FAITH

 

The second quality that God seeks in His workers is a faith rooted in Him. This is when a person believes in God’s word and reflects this in his behavior. The Bible tells us that “without faith is it impossible to please Him” and “whatever is not from faith is sin” (Heb 11:6; Rom 14:23). This means that faith must underlie every action, every work, carried out by a worker of God. And with a firmly rooted faith, a worker can do great things for God.

 

However, we are often limited by our own unbelief. Sometimes we even have a hard time believing in God for the daily things in life. There are times when our faith tests God, rather than trusts Him. But to truly believe in God, we need to attempt things in our ministry which we know we cannot achieve on our own. Only then will we witness the hand of God in our work. If we want to do great works for God, then we need to take that leap of faith. Do not be afraid to step out on a limb. When we are doing the things that God wants us to do, we must walk by faith (2 Cor 5:7).

 

In my experience, I have seen how God works when we have faith in Him. Many things have happened that cannot be explained simply by human effort. One example is how God has saved many souls in my home church. A number of years ago, we started a weekly Sunday morning prayer, which starts at 9.00 am and lasts for half an hour. Whoever is willing will come to church to pray for the growth of the church and for the weak and sick members. Initially, only twenty or twenty-five members joined the prayer. But their hearts were for the Lord’s work. The church council and preachers encouraged us to expect great things from God and to attempt great things for God. Soon, we were amazed by what was happening—God worked wonders in us.

 

Once, prior to a spiritual convocation, the church hosted a special service in a member’s home, and more than thirty-five truth-seekers came. Afterward, during that spiritual convocation, more than twenty truth-seekers attended on the first night, and many of them received the Holy Spirit. We continue to pray, and God continues to work. Truth-seekers walk into church and receive the Holy Spirit. Some come to us, having sought the truth for a while, and ask to be baptized.

 

It is amazing how God works and uses those whose hearts are rooted in Him. The only limit is how much faith you have in Him. What are your expectations of God? As Jesus said, “According to your faith let it be to you” (Mt 9:29).

 

 

CONCLUSION

 

All of us have been called to work for God, but God chooses to work through those with certain qualities. If we wish to have a fruitful and powerful ministry, we need to examine whether we have the qualities God seeks.

 

God is looking for those who are broken and have surrendered themselves to Him. We should ask ourselves, “Have I gone through my personal Gethsemane?” We need to come to a place in our life when we say to God, “Do whatever You want to do in my life; I surrender all to You.” As we surrender ourselves to Him, we will find that God will reshape our mind and soften our heart with His love. His skillful molding will give way for greater fruitfulness in our ministry. God can do much with a surrendered heart.

 

God also requires His workers to be rooted in faith. Let us reflect on what we believe God can do in our lives, in our families, and in our church. Do not limit God by limiting our faith in Him. Ask God to help our unbelief and strengthen our faith (Mk 9:24). Believe that God is going to accomplish great things for us and through us, and He will use us mightily in His ministry.

 

To be continued…

 

 

 

 

Date
Dec. 22, 2016
Author
Clay Pot
Publisher
True Jesus Church
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