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Recently I saw a picture by Evangelist Reinhard Bonke about how God is not just interested in what he can use us for but instead loves us. It came with a quote that goes like this.
God has business with each of us personally, not merely as His servants or instruments. He loves us, but not because we are useful to Him. You and I don’t have relationships based on what we can get out of somebody. Neither does God have a relationship with us just so He can use us as tools. Being used by God is simply one of the benefits, a privilege of knowing Christ.
The picture and the quote caused me to start thinking. How many people either think that God is just an opportunistic ogre who only wants to use us with no thoughts about actually being in a relationship with us, or they think that God only will partner with somebody that has achieved a certain level of spirituality or is “called” to ministry.
How do I know these attitudes exist? Because people either think that if they give their lives totally to God they will either have to become bug eating missionaries in the jungles of South America or they think that when they are sick, have a problem in their life, or think about evangelism, they think that the “Pastor” is the one that is supposed to do these things rather than average people in their church.
What is God’s Motive?
Both of these attitudes is far from what God thinks. God is relational. The reason He wants to be involved in our lives is because of His everlasting love towards us. Love is not opportunistic nor is it limited to a select few special people. It is offered to all.
It is because of this that the problem does not lie with God and His heart towards us but in our earthly thinking. We place these attitudes upon God’s motives due to our experience with fallen human nature. Our experience on earth shows us that people in authority use us. The government uses us to keep themselves in power. Big business manipulates us to buy what they think we need in our lives. Even family members if not changed by the power of Jesus abuse their authority in our lives. So we just assume that God, who is the ultimate authority is going to abuse that authority and cause us to be used as a tool and then thrown away. Now compare that attitude with this passage of scripture.
5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
6 Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.
7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form, 8 he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
Now Jesus said that what we saw in Him was what the Father was like.
Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you?
So what Jesus did was an example of what God is like. That is a far cry from the mental picture that most of us have about God and His motives. I really think it is time that the church renews its mind concerning what God is like. If they do then people will stop being afraid to give their lives totally to Him. They will start allowing themselves to take up the offer of partnership that God extends to all of us as we walk this earth.
Does God Only Use Special People?
There is a mentality in most western churches. I believe it comes from long held traditions that were first passed down by the Catholic church. It is the mentality that “Men of God do the work of God”. It is a class system of Christianity. This attitude is shown by such things as titles of “Reverend” and “Man of God”.
I remember years ago listening to a recording of A.A. Allen with my uncle. The recording would always start with the introduction of A.A. Allen with these words. “And now listen to God’s man of power for the hour, the Reverend A.A. Allen. I used to think to myself, I would never allow myself to be called “God’s man of power for the hour”. I did not want to be looked upon as God’s special instrument or anointed one. Jesus is the one that does the work. I am no different than anyone else.
Let me share with you a couple of passages that show that the power and authority that Jesus has was given to not just the disciples but all of us.
And he called his twelve disciples together and began sending them out two by two, giving them authority to cast out evil spirits.
Luke 10:1 and Luke 10:9
1 The Lord now chose seventy-two other disciples and sent them ahead in pairs to all the towns and places he planned to visit.
9 Heal the sick, and tell them, ‘The Kingdom of God is near you now.’
Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.
Now as you can see from these scriptures, Jesus did not give His work to just His special people. He gave it to every person who is a follower of Him. In fact, the western church has it all backwards. They are saying that the work in the community is the job of the professional when in fact, it is the job of the individual.
The “professionals”, if there is such a thing, are to be teaching the individuals how to do what the individuals need to do. They are to teach how to minister to others in the marketplace.
So I just want to encourage you today. Were you worried that if you gave your life totally to Christ that you were going to be used and abused? God does not want to use you. God wants to love you. It will be in the the context of that love relationship that you will be blessed to do something for somebody else that will be an expression of returning love back to God.
Are you upset because your pastor didn’t shake your hand, come visit you when you were sick, come running to the rescue in your latest crisis? Do you not have any Christian friends that prayed for you, visited you, and helped you? If not, then you are not connected. You did not inform them. You did not give them a call because I know they would have done it. Your offense at your pastor is based on your belief in “special people”.