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Chris Carpenter
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Feeling Used?

By Chris Carpenter Program Director - While standing in line at a Starbucks recently I couldn’t help but overhear a young man lamenting to another, “I feel so used!”

I really didn’t think much of the aforementioned comment at the time chalking it up to a good relationship gone sour.  Romance can be fickle at that age I thought.  He will find the right person someday.

Not half an hour later I was sitting in a hotel suite twenty floors above that Starbucks interviewing one of today’s most successful contemporary Christian music stars about his latest album.  I asked him a simple question:

“What is God teaching you right now in your life?”

Without missing a beat, he offered, “I just want God to use me!  He is showing me that I am to use every last ounce of my talent to bring others into His kingdom.”

What a bold dividing line between man and God I thought.  Man uses other men for their own selfish desires while God uses man to achieve His purposes – speaking into the hearts of others so that they might be saved. 

The examples of man using man throughout history are countless and often tragic.  One needs to look no further than marital infidelity, less than exemplary business practices in the workplace, or friendships of convenience to fully grasp the high degree of sinfulness that is usually associated with such relationships.

Yet when we consider instances of God using man we can’t help but smile.  The twelve disciples, the apostle Paul, and the young boy who gave up his five loaves and two fish to feed the multitudes are but a few of the hundreds of examples of people allowing themselves to be used for God’s glory in scripture.

One highly tangible example of a man allowing himself to be used by God is the Old Testament prophet Elijah.  Elijah, like so many of us, struggled with his feelings even after receiving direction from God.  Despite his occasional reluctance he ultimately allowed himself to be directed by the Almighty. 

God used Elijah to predict the beginning and end of a three year drought.  He was used by God to restore a dead child to his mother.  Elijah represented God in a showdown with the priests of Baal and Asherah.  And he appeared with Moses and Jesus in the transfiguration of the New Testament.

By all accounts Elijah was an ordinary, working class Joe.  He battled isolation and loneliness throughout his lifetime.  Sometimes when the pressures of life became too much for him to bear, Elijah would flee the situation in fear.  Of course it didn’t help matters when Jezebel threatened his life.  I would flee in fear too.  Yet despite these sometimes terse emotions, Elijah allowed himself to be used by God.

In I Kings 2:3 it is written, “And keep the charge of the Lord your God: to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgments, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn.”

Allowing ourselves to be used by God is more than a choice of convenience, it is a command based on His Word.  As God’s children, we are to listen to Him, following and obeying all that He teaches us.  When we obey His calling, we hear the Word of God and translate it into action.*

But we must be obedient, answering His call when it is presented to us.  By allowing God to use us for His purposes, we must be sold out to Him.  God promises us success in all that we do when we delight to do His will. 

This is not to say there is not an element of fear associated with allowing ourselves to be used by God.  Stepping out of our comfort zones can be one of the most harrowing feelings in the world.  But it is important to remember that God is far more resourceful than we could ever imagine and knows exactly who and what is needed to achieve His glory.

The twelve disciples were a collection of fishermen, tax collectors, and tradesmen.  Paul was trained as a Pharisee and learned the tent making trade before becoming Christianity's first missionary.  The boy who gave up his five loaves and two fishes was just that … a boy.  They were not kings nor were they politicians.  They were ordinary folks just like you and me.  But in each case, they allowed God to use them.     

Even today, God speaks through the gentle and obvious rather than the spectacular and unusual.  Why don’t you allow Him to use you today?

Tell me what you think

* Portions contained within this article from the Transformer Study Bible.

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