God Chooses the Flawed to do His Will

Apr 08, 2019

 

When I think about who God chooses to do His work in this world, I am amazed that God would choose such flawed people. He abstains from using the “perfect” ones in order to transform and use the imperfect. There are lots of examples of God’s choosing a flawed man or woman for His work, but I want to focus on two major figures, one in the Old Testament, Moses, and one in the New Testament, Paul. Each played a major part in God’s work: Moses in leading the Israelites from Egypt to Canaan, the promised land, over a forty-year period, and Paul in spreading the word about Jesus Christ throughout the Mediterranean area for over 30 years.

 

While Moses was born a Hebrew, he was raised in the Pharaoh’s house by the daughter who rescued him from the reeds of the Nile when he was an infant, liable to be killed by Pharaoh because he was a Hebrew under the age of two. Though his mother did suckle him for his first few years, we know little about his upbringing until he was an adult and he came upon an Egyptian beating up a Hebrew man and killed that Egyptian. He had to flee to Midian to escape punishment.

 

God called Moses at the burning bush, to “go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” Moses objected that he stuttered. He asked that his brother Aaron could be his spokesman. So Moses, with Aaron’s help, did lead the Israelites out of Egypt as far as the banks of the Jordan River—over forty years in the desert. Only once in that long journey did Moses disobey the Lord: he was supposed to speak to the rock at Kadesh in order to release its water for the Israelites, but he struck it instead.[1] Later on the banks of the Jordan River, after Moses has led the Israelites through 40 years of wilderness, the Lord has Joshua replace Moses and Moses dies an old man without crossing the Jordan. God offers the reason that Moses will not see the promised land: that he struck the rock at Kadesh instead of speaking to it.

 

As to Paul, as Saul of Tarsus, a Pharisee, he was persecuting the followers of the Way, the early church, with great gusto and the approval of the Pharisees and leaders of the Temple. And then he encountered Christ on the road to Damascus, who asked him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” [2]  He was blinded for three days and had to be led into Damascus where a disciple named Ananias restored his sight. Three years later Paul is preaching in Syria and Cilicia, the beginning of almost 30 years of ministry in the name of Jesus Christ.

 

Why would the Lord choose such flawed men? And women, too? Jesus ridiculed the  “perfect” people of His times, the Pharisees, for looking good on the surface, but doing it only for themselves. We might speculate that there actually aren’t any “perfect” people/humans for Him to tap. So that means that we are all flawed and yet liable to be used by God, if we will allow God to use us in His work.

 

 

So, if there are no perfect people, how do we live with our own selves and do the work that God calls us to? He knows everything about us, even better than we know ourselves. And yet He is calling each of us. Can we even hear Him over the noise of our own thinking/negative minds? Will we believe what He says to us, will we follow Him?

 

I take heart from Paul’s experiences in spreading the good news about Jesus the Christ across the Mediterranean Sea. As successful as He was in inspiring all these new churches, he is appalled/amazed at how the very human part of him: “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do, but what I hate I do.”[3] I am relieved that he isn’t as perfect as I might project. As the Lord calls me, I am to follow, regardless of how I feel about my own capability, regardless of what I’d rather be doing. I now know that I can do as I am called; I can do what is asked of this not-so-perfect woman. I don’t have to pretend to be perfect; I can just bring my whole self, warts and all, to the altar and lay down my whole life there. And God will help me achieve what He lays before me.

 

God apparently doesn’t show up the powerful by someone equally powerful or choose those who have no flaws to do His work. He doesn’t operate by the world’s rules at all. He scorns them: “God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.” [4]

 

For you and me, this is such great news! We don’t have to be perfect to be called by God to His purposes. We are free just to be who we are. Ah! The relief! The freedom from pressure! Just as a I am! Oh, you can quote me this: “Be perfect, as your Father in Heaven is perfect”[5] from Matthew. But know that perfect, the Greek word teleios means to be perfect in the sense of of completion or wholeness or fulfillment.[6]  So, like Jesus said, Love God with all of your heart, all of your mind, all of your soul and all of your strength. Bring your whole self, warts and all, to the altar. God uses all of us, all the time!

 

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Questions to ponder over the week: Can I believe that God would choose me, as I am, to do His work? Do I think that God regards me with love and forgiveness or condemnation and punishment in mind? Can I accept God’s love? His interest in me? His forgiveness? His mercy? If not, why not? Will I give up my own self-image in all humility so that I can be of real use to God? What would be the first step towards that goal? And the second? And the third? Will I listen for God’s leading in everything that I do?   [Choose the one(s) that seem to call you.]

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Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who say “Yes!” to God as He reveals our purpose to us. May we follow His every lead. May we walk hand-in-hand with Him every step of the Way.

 

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Check out my other website, deepeningyourfaith.com, for information about spiritual practices and more writings about the spiritual life.

 

 

 

 

[1] Numbers 20:8-11

[2] Acts 9:4

[3] Romans 7:15-20

[4] 1 Corinthians 1:27-29

[5] Matthew 5:48

[6] Goodrick & Kohlenberger III, Zondervan NIV Concordance, 2nd Edition, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids MI, 1999, #5455, 5457 teleios

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