Life of contradictions

woman sitting on ground
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“At one point in my life I thought God used me because I was good – I now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He uses me because He is good!”

– Perry Noble

I’m starting to understand that maturity in the faith starts to form when you realize God is using you because He is good and it has nothing to do with what you or I bring to the table.

I could sit here and rattle off a list of reasons why God should never choose me for any God-ordained, life-changing, light-bulb moment in someone else’s life. I bet you can come up with some doozies for yourself as well.

The funny thing is…

every single reason I have thought of… you have thought of

is the VERY REASON God wants to use us!

Our mashed up, broken and shadowed stories give God the places to shine His light.

The pieces of our lives that we so quickly gather and hide under the bed or in a shelf in the back of the closet when we feel someone is getting too close or when it seems God is taking inventory… are the very pieces God uses to bring others to an understanding of His grace and mercy.

He is good, I am not.

We have heard Paul’s vexation in Romans 7:15-25, yet let’s read it again from The Message:

What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary.

But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.

It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.

I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?

The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.

AMEN, a thousand times Amen!

He is good, I am not.

All I know, just as Paul wrote, is that Jesus acted on our behalf to give grace and mercy to each one of us, to set things right for us.  God then ups the ante and desires for US to be used for His glory.

So it is not I that does good, but He that does good… and chooses to do good… through me, and through you.

Oh this life of contradictions.

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