Listen To Most Current
Grace Notes Archive
June 2021 (3)
May 2021 (5)
April 2021 (4)
March 2021 (5)
February 2021 (4)
January 2021 (5)
December 2020 (4)
November 2020 (4)
October 2020 (5)
September 2020 (4)
August 2020 (5)
July 2020 (21)
June 2020 (29)
May 2020 (28)
April 2020 (31)
March 2020 (5)
February 2020 (4)
January 2020 (5)
December 2019 (5)
November 2019 (3)
October 2019 (5)
September 2019 (4)
August 2019 (5)
July 2019 (4)
June 2019 (5)
May 2019 (4)
April 2019 (4)
March 2019 (4)
February 2019 (6)
January 2019 (4)
December 2018 (4)
November 2018 (5)
October 2018 (4)
September 2018 (4)
August 2018 (4)
July 2018 (3)
June 2018 (4)
May 2018 (4)
April 2018 (4)
March 2018 (4)
February 2018 (5)
January 2018 (4)
December 2017 (4)
November 2017 (5)
October 2017 (4)
September 2017 (5)
August 2017 (4)
July 2017 (4)
June 2017 (5)
May 2017 (4)
April 2017 (5)
March 2017 (3)
February 2017 (4)
January 2017 (3)
December 2016 (5)
November 2016 (4)
October 2016 (4)
September 2016 (5)
August 2016 (3)
July 2016 (4)
June 2016 (5)
May 2016 (4)
April 2016 (5)
March 2016 (4)
February 2016 (4)
January 2016 (5)
December 2015 (4)
November 2015 (4)
October 2015 (3)
September 2015 (4)
August 2015 (5)
July 2015 (5)
June 2015 (4)
May 2015 (5)
April 2015 (2)
March 2015 (4)
February 2015 (4)
January 2015 (5)
December 2014 (4)
November 2014 (5)
October 2014 (4)
September 2014 (4)
August 2014 (4)
July 2014 (5)
June 2014 (4)
May 2014 (5)
April 2014 (4)
March 2014 (4)
February 2014 (4)
January 2014 (5)
December 2013 (4)
November 2013 (5)
October 2013 (4)
September 2013 (4)
August 2013 (5)
July 2013 (4)
June 2013 (3)
May 2013 (5)
April 2013 (4)
March 2013 (4)
February 2013 (5)
January 2013 (4)
December 2012 (4)
November 2012 (5)
October 2012 (4)
September 2012 (4)
August 2012 (5)
July 2012 (4)
June 2012 (4)
May 2012 (5)
April 2012 (4)
March 2012 (5)
February 2012 (4)
January 2012 (4)
December 2011 (5)
November 2011 (4)
October 2011 (4)
September 2011 (5)
August 2011 (4)
July 2011 (4)
June 2011 (5)
May 2011 (4)
April 2011 (5)
March 2011 (4)
February 2011 (4)
January 2011 (5)
December 2010 (4)
November 2010 (4)
October 2010 (4)
September 2010 (5)
August 2010 (4)
July 2010 (6)
June 2010 (4)
May 2010 (4)
April 2010 (4)
March 2010 (5)
February 2010 (4)
January 2010 (5)
December 2009 (5)
November 2009 (3)
October 2009 (6)
September 2009 (3)
August 2009 (5)
July 2009 (4)
June 2009 (4)
May 2009 (5)
April 2009 (4)
March 2009 (4)
February 2009 (4)
January 2009 (5)
December 2008 (4)
November 2008 (5)
October 2008 (4)
September 2008 (5)
August 2008 (4)
July 2008 (3)
June 2008 (4)
May 2008 (5)
April 2008 (4)
March 2008 (5)
February 2008 (1)
Grace Notes

Current Articles | Categories | Search | Syndication

IF GOD SEEMS TO BE USING ME, IS EVERYTHING OKAY?
by Philip Owen

            Believers often say something like, “God doesn’t use someone who isn’t dedicated to him.”  Or, “God doesn’t use someone with sin in his life.”  I’m sure I have said much the same thing myself.  And there is absolute scriptural support for such claims.  Texts like Matthew 16:24 suggest that thought.  “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.”  But in another sense, it may well be said that God uses everyone.  Psalm 76:10 declares that “the wrath of man shall praise You.”  In other words, everything that happens is useful for God’s purpose.  But it is one thing to be used of God as a “vessel of honor” and altogether another thing to be used as a “vessel of dishonor.”  “Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor.  Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things [i.e., wickedness, v. 19], he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work” (II Tim. 2:20, 21).  We must be wary, then, to distinguish between honorable and dishonorable use in our lives.  It is quite possible to mistake the fact that God has used us for the evidence that we are clean and honorable vessels in His sight.  May I remind you of a well-known dishonorable vessel used by the Lord.

            Samson.  Samson was the thirteenth judge of Israel, the last in a series of judges identified in the book bearing the same name.  As with the other individuals holding this office, Samson was a man specifically chosen by God and personally empowered by the Spirit of God to help deliver Israel from the oppression of their inveterate enemy, the Philistines.  The biblical record is unequivocal; on four specific occasions we are told that God was working in and through Samson.  First, we read that Samson “grew up and the Lord blessed him.  And the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him” (Jud. 13:24b, 25a).  Later, we read that “the Spirit of the Lord came upon him mightily, so that he tore him [“a young lion”] as one tears a young goat though he had nothing in his hand” (14:6).  In a third instance, “the Spirit of the Lord came upon him mightily, and he [Samson] went down to Ashkelon and killed thirty” Philistines (14:19).  On another occasion we read that “the Spirit of the Lord came upon him mightily” (15:14) enabling him to snap the ropes the Philistines had bound around his arms, snatch up the jawbone of a donkey, and slaughter a thousand Philistines.  From these citations, we may properly deduce that all of Samson’s acts of strength in defeating and destroying the Philistines were done under the direction and in the power of the Spirit of God.  Yet, we read not one word about any good character or godly spirit in Samson.  He was inveterately lustful, immoral, petty, vengeful, selfish, presumptuous, and proud.  He took sole credit for his victories, and when he addressed God it was with a petulant spirit or a desire for revenge (e.g., 15:16-18; 16:28).  There was neither any expression nor, apparently, any sense of thankfulness to God for using him, protecting him, or providing for him.

            The picture is truly shocking—but completely accurate.  God chose to use an altogether dishonorable vessel to begin to work a great deliverance for His people.  The lesson for us should be clear.  We should never mistake something the Lord may be pleased to do through us as evidence of His complete approbation of us or as assurance of our right standing before Him.  We may teach a Sunday School class that students seem to appreciate; we may sing a solo in church that blesses someone; we may give a testimony that provokes someone to turn to the Lord.  But none of those things should be regarded as evidence that the Lord is pleased with us.  We must constantly realize that our relationship with the Lord cannot be accurately measured by the external works that we do—even if they are genuinely “successful” —but by the internal fruit that we bear.  Do our lives manifest the fruit of the Spirit?  Are we loving, joyful, peaceable?  Are we filled with patience, kindness, and goodness?  Is the Spirit of God producing faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in us?  Are we submissive in spirit?  Do we obey God’s Word?  In short, do we share the character of Christ?  These things, rather than any external works (even if they produce positive results) reflect our state before God.  May our adornment be “the hidden person of the heart . . . which is precious in the sight of God” (I Pet. 3:4).          

Actions: E-mail | Permalink

Previous Page | Next Page