Now to him who is able to do infinitely more than all that we ask or imagine, according to His power at work within us… (Ephesians 3:20)
After Jesus is crucified, the disciples are afraid and go into hiding, not sure what to do now. Even though He had prepared them for His death (and what would come afterwards) multiple times, they didn’t get it. On the third day, when Jesus is risen back to life, they’re hiding in locked rooms out of fear, and unwilling to believe anyone the Lord sends to tell them He’s alive! So when He finally appears to them Himself, He calls His cowardly, unbelieving disciples to preach the Gospel everywhere in His name as Apostles, with signs and miracles! How in the world were THESE guys going to accomplish that? On Pentecost, the answer became clear. They were transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit working in them and through them, infinitely more than they could’ve ever asked or imagined! Not only were they made courageous and bold from that day forward, they were even willing to endure repeated persecution, torture, and death for the sake of the Gospel. The Lord Jesus used them, His fearful disciples who abandoned, denied, and doubted Him, to turn the world upside down.
The greatest example, however, of the grace of God doing abundantly more within someone than was expected or asked for is Saul of Tarsus! In 1 Corinthians 15:9-10 He lays it out perfectly, saying that he doesn’t even deserve to be called an apostle, because he was the greatest enemy and persecutor of the Church, but by the grace of God working in him abundantly, Saul became the apostle Paul, who did more to spread the Gospel than any other, and has since gone down in history as the most influential follower of Jesus Christ in history! He went from being a religious, self-righteous Pharisee who passionately hated Jesus and His Kingdom to being His most faithful, loving servant!
All of this struck a very personal, very humbling chord in my heart this morning, because I have a deep rooted feeling of inadequacy when it comes to doing just about anything, but especially when it comes to doing what I dream of most: ministry. I’m gonna be kinda real with you guys, if that’s alright. If I’m being honest with myself, I don’t see God using me to do anything great or big for His Kingdom, even though that’s what I want more than anything in my life, how could He? I struggle with lust and temptation on a regular basis, every attempt I’ve made to start or be a part of a ministry hasn’t gone well in my eyes, this one doesn’t seem like it’s going to get much attention or help people’s faith in a significant way, and I constantly feel like I’m not good enough to do what I’m passionate about: be a witness for Christ. As I was praying about this earlier, I actually almost started crying, because I felt so depressed at the realization of just how incapable I was/felt in representing Jesus.
But the truth is, God’s power that lives in me, the same power that did the impossible in raising the Son of God from the dead, is able to do far, far more in me and through me than I could ever imagine or ask for. Despite my shortcomings and inadequacy, He is able to use me, and He very much wants to. As a matter of fact, He actively chooses to use broken people, with weaknesses that should disqualify them, to show His grace and power the most! His grace is sufficient, and His power shines most brightly against my weakness. Maybe, instead of feeling sorrow over my inability, I need to start celebrating it, so that the power of Christ will fill me, like Paul does in 2 Cor. 12:9.
- If you feel like your flaws, mistakes, past failures, or personality disqualifies you from being someone God can use to accomplish big things for His Kingdom, you’re in good company! Both Peter, the leader of the 12 Apostles, and Paul, the Apostle of Grace, had good reason to believe they could never be used by the Lord. Peter denied Jesus 3 times after knowing and following Him for over 3 years, and Paul was one of the Pharisees who so adamantly opposed Him and His followers. The truth is, these things set us up perfectly to be trophies of God’s power, underdogs of His grace! Confront the things you feel disqualify you from being an ambassador of Yeshua, and pray that God would do infinitely more than you could ever imagine or ask in you and through you!