Seeking to Be Used by God
It is considered a very righteous prayer to ask that we be “used by God.” Of course we want to be of use to Him. But what should be the guiding desire of our hearts? It should be pure faith and obedience.
When examining Scripture, those whom the Lord used in the greatest ways were not at all seeking such an honor. Beware of this zealous desire to do “great things for God.” It can be a subtle self-seeking, a subtle desire for spiritual glory. The way to being used of God is the way of the Cross. It is brokenness. It is obedience, it is endurance.
Did Abraham seek to be “used by God”? No, he was simply faithful. And he was obedient when what the Lord asked of him conflicted with the desire of his own heart. Did Moses seek to be “used by God”? Initially, yes, he wanted to be the savior of his brethren. And he became murderous in doing so, killing a man in his “righteous” indignation. It was not until 40 years later, after being humbled from prince to shepherd, and finally telling the Lord that he was not capable of the task that the Lord used him amazingly. Was Jacob seeking to be used by God? Not at all, Jacob was a manipulator seeking his own self-interest. But he encountered God and learned to worship Him. Joseph was a man used in the time of need. But did he arrive there by his own vision? By no means. In fact, his dreams had hindered him, true as they may have been. Samuel, David, Daniel, and other faithful. Was greatness in God’s Kingdom something they sought after? No! But the Lord was able to use them because He found in them faithful and obedient hearts.
The great men and women of God were apprehended by Him, not vice versa. And they made themselves worthy of being used by God by first being humbled and learning obedience. Was Rahab commended because she was seeking to prove herself? No, she was commended because she showed faith at the appropriate time. John the Baptist is called the greatest prophet, but how long did his ministry last? He was in the desert eating locusts and honey until the time came that he would make way for the Messiah. And after doing so, his life was cut short. Jesus’ ministry was only 3 and a half years, and John’s was shorter still. Many others are noted in Scripture for only one or two acts of obedience. The length of service is not the important part–it’s whether the Lord is in the work. If He is, then His power will manifest itself in and through the act and it will accomplish His purposes.
Spiritual ambition is dangerous because no work is holy unless it originates with the Lord. The Lord had awesome plans for Moses, but Moses was simply tending sheep when one day the Lord chose appear to him in the burning bush. Today, we seek out burning bushes; we seek out Goliaths and fiery furnaces to prove our righteousness. But to throw oneself into the flame is not the sacrifice the Lord seeks–for He seeks the sacrifice of obedience. Meaning we act when He tells us to act and not according to our own will–regardless of how good we believe our own will to be.
How many of us avow and affirm our readiness to be used greatly of God, but fail at the testing? This was Peter’s dilemma. Having zealously declared his steadfastness in the faith, his unswerving commitment, he reneged on that commitment not once, not twice, but three times. And before that, had actually attempted to disuade Jesus from walking that path that the Father had ordained for Him! Peter desired to do more for the Lord and to testify of his readiness more than he was actually able to carry out the work. The Lord indeed had great plans for Peter, but Peter had to wait to be apprehended by God rather than attempting to lay hold of God himself. The power with which he was imbued came after waiting, for Jesus told Peter and the others to tarry in Jerusalem until they received power on high. Such power could not come by their own zeal, their own effort, cleverness or planning. It could only come at God’s behest.
Even at our best, we are like Peter, eager and zealous, but without power. Let us learn to lay aside our own spiritual ambitions and desire to be great in the Lord’s Kingdom to simply walk in obedience and faithfulness to Him. If we learn faith and obedience, then when the Lord does call us, we will be ready.