Here I Am Lord: 5 Ways to Be Used by God
- Mary Southerland Journey Ministry, Inc
- 2021 30 Aug
If I were running the world, I would assemble a winning team. I would choose the smartest, brightest, best looking, most talented, and successful men and women. But there is a God, and I am not him! He has written a different game plan for the most critical invasion of all time. It’s the plan to invade Satan’s territory - Earth - and retake it under the banner of His son Jesus Christ! And guess who he has recruited? The broken, the weak, the poor, the unlikely, the sick, and the lonely. Us!
2 Corinthians 12:8-9 “Three different times I begged God to make me well again. Each time he said, ‘No. But I am with you; that is all you need. My power shows up best in weak people.’ Now I am glad to boast about how weak I am; I am glad to be a living demonstration of Christ’s power, instead of showing off my own power and abilities.”
Do you want to be used by God? The good news is that God wants to use you! That has been his plan all along. So, when we pray for the Lord to use us, we are asking him to do something he already wants to do. So maybe our prayer should be for the Lord to make us usable.
John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
It is God’s responsibility to prepare us and our responsibility to allow him to do so. Our responsibility is to rest, yield and permit him to make us fit vessels for service. It is not our ability that concerns the Father. It is our availability. So, the question becomes, how do we become available?
1. Give Up
Isaiah 64:8 “And yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the Potter. We are all formed by your hand.”
When we give up, we become like the clay in the Potter’s hands. We have tried our agenda, our plan, only to discover it does not satisfy. Nothing or no one can bring us the peace and joy we seek. Only Jesus Christ can fill that void. We need to give up anything that stands between God and us. Some of us come with a hardened and brittle heart, a broken spirit, and damaged life molded by the wrong hands.
It is time to give up! It is not nearly as important how we come to him as the fact that we do come. Then, he begins to work patiently and lovingly through any circumstance, relationship, failure, or pain with a plan and design in mind. Nothing touches our lives that haven’t already passed through the Potter’s hands – with his permission. He uses these things like a fine craftsman. And the more he works, the more pliable we become. As we give up control, a great paradox begins to unfold. We gain everything for which we’ve been searching. God will go to great lengths to prove how much he loves us. The world says we should never give up our rights. If we do, we will lose everything. But, on the contrary, the Father says if we give up our rights, we will gain everything – everything necessary or eternal.
Give up! He will make you usable in an eternal plan.
2. Choose Sides
Proverbs 25:4 “When you remove dross from silver, you have sterling ready for the silversmith.”
If you are like me, you want to do the right thing but end up doing just the opposite. I often look around and wonder how I got there – in the midst of my sin and my mess. We were all born with a nature that just loves to rebel. But when we surrender our lives to Christ, we receive a new nature – a nature that delights in obeying God. You can see the problem. It is an internal civil war. The Apostle Paul had the same battle with sin – which ironically gives me hope. In his letter to the Roman church, Paul describes his frustration with his depravity: “I don’t understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do the very thing I hate” (Romans 7:15, NLT).
So, what is the solution to this constant battle? It is simple – but very expensive. It will cost us everything we have – complete control of our lives. We must totally surrender to the Holy Spirit, who will lead, guide, teach, and direct us. He will use the fires of our lives to purify – just as the fire “removes dross” from silver to create sterling silver, ready for the silversmith to use. Which nature will win the war? The one we feed the most. And that requires constantly making the right choices.
Wouldn’t it be great if God gave us a set of instructions to help us make those choices? He did. It is the B-I-B-L-E. Reading, studying, and applying the Bible will teach us everything we need to live the abundant life for which we were created. Old habits die hard! Old patterns of sin are not easily destroyed. That work begins when we choose the right side.
3. Clean Up
We must come clean. God can use a clean vessel much more than a dirty one. We must be free from what scripture calls “dross,” which means “impurity.” Every believer has two problems when it comes to dealing with sin. First, we must continually confess unforgiven sin. The mark of a Christian who is growing in grace is sensitivity to sin. We must confess continually, completely, and confidently. Then we can put it behind us because Jesus is faithful and keeps his promises.
Psalm 103:12 “He has removed our sins as far away from us as the east is from the west.”
Second, we must forget forgiven sin. I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Is it possible to forget a forgiven sin? While we cannot blot out the memory of our sin, we can make sure it is no longer a live issue in our lives. God’s way seems too easy. We think the Holy Spirit needs our help. Shouldn’t we have to do something or pay for our sin in some way? Micah 7:19 “Once again you will have compassion on us. You will tread our sins beneath your feet; you will throw them into the depths of the ocean!”
Corrie Ten Boom translates it this way: “Jesus hurled our sins into a bottomless lake and put up a sign that says, ‘NO FISHING!’” Refusing to forgive ourselves when we confess our sin is equal to telling Jesus that what he did on the cross was not enough.
4. Rest Up
We cannot rest in our power. We must rest in God’s strength before we fully trust him to fill us with his power. To trust him, we must know him and understand who he is. We do that by saturating our lives with His Word.
Isaiah 26:4 (LB) “Trust in the Lord God always, for in the Lord Jehovah is your everlasting strength.”
Max Lucado tells a story that illustrates the attitude we sometimes have toward God. Max has two daughters. When they were younger, he went to buy his oldest daughter a new bicycle, one without training wheels. His youngest daughter wanted one, too. Max patiently explained why he could not buy her a bicycle with no training wheels because she would hurt herself. Nope! She still wanted one. Max repeatedly explained it to his young daughter, all to no avail. Finally, in total frustration, he said, “You are just going to have to trust your dad!” His daughter looked him straight in the eye and said, “Then I want a new dad!”
I don’t know about you, but I can see my stubborn will in this story. But the fact is that we cannot rest in God until we trust God. And that requires patience on our part.
Psalm 37:7 “Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him.”
We have somehow decided that rest is a waste of time because we are not doing anything! Resting in God is not passive. It is an active choice to obey. As we rest and trust, we know God is preparing us for what is ahead, and he is preparing what is ahead for us.
5. Get Up and Serve
Romans 12:11 “Never be lazy in your work but serve the Lord enthusiastically.”
How do we serve the Lord enthusiastically? First, we need to discover the gifts God has given us and use them to do what he created us to do. There are no accidents with God. He never has to say, “Oops!” He created you and me in response to a plan he had already made. Let me say that another way. The plan came first!
What do you love to do? Take a look at your heart’s passion. Inventory your gifts and talents. Examine your personality strengths and weaknesses. Then, embrace the experiences in your life, knowing God will use them all for your good and his glory! Second, serve God with total abandonment. We don’t burn out doing the work of God. We burn out doing the work of God in the wrong way or for the wrong reason.
I should know. I tried serving God in my strength and ended up at the bottom of a bottomless, dark pit of clinical depression. For two years, I stepped out of ministry and much of my life. I was paralyzed. I had been trying to prove my worth to God and everyone around me, using my strength to do it. I wanted to earn God’s love and approval by all of the wonderful things I did for him. But, sitting at the bottom of that pit, I learned so many life truths. One of those truths redefined who I was and am. God doesn’t love me because of what I do or don’t do. God loves me for who I am – his. And no one can take my place in his heart.
Where are you in your journey to be used by God? Come to Jesus today with a “yes” in your heart and the commitment of “Here I am, Lord” on your lips. He will meet you there.
Photo credit: ©Unsplash/Priscilla Du Preez
Mary Southerland is also the Co-founder of Girlfriends in God, a conference and devotion ministry for women. Mary’s books include, Hope in the Midst of Depression, Sandpaper People, Escaping the Stress Trap, Experiencing God’s Power in Your Ministry, 10-Day Trust Adventure, You Make Me So Angry, How to Study the Bible, Fit for Life, Joy for the Journey, and Life Is So Daily. Mary relishes her ministry as a wife, a mother to their two children, Jered and Danna, and Mimi to her six grandchildren – Jaydan, Lelia, Justus, Hudson, Mo, and Nori.