“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Perhaps these are the most recognizable words in all of scripture. This plan of God was set in motion long ago. In the creation account of Genesis, we come to know that God created man to rule the world (Genesis 1:26-28). And God gave humanity specific instructions regarding the proper conduct they were to have within the paradise of Eden. Sadly, mankind failed to follow the command of God and experienced separation from the life God gave. Humanity needed saving, and God provided a way of escape from the darkness of eternal death.
God’s great redemptive Gospel came in the form of a person, Jesus of Nazareth…Jesus, the Christ. In the New Testament we see the birth of a King, the death of a King, and the resurrection of a Savior. The good news of hope and rescue is realized in the death, burial, and resurrection of the God-man. Those who were following Jesus throughout his ministry became the conduit through which this message of salvation was proclaimed. The Bible was given to us through the pen of those who followed Jesus. Because of this, many have concluded that God is dependent upon us. While I am not convinced that God is dependent upon us, what this does reveal is that God’s plan is to use people. God was not forced to use us. God was God before he created us. He was no more God after he created us, and he is no less God because he created us. God is not dependent upon us. Many view our relationship with God as though we can do, complete, or fulfill something that He cannot. Someone might argue that God is dependent on us, but this is only the case in an area that he has chosen to use us. The truth is, God chooses to work through us.
God chooses to not only work through us, but to work with us. He chooses to work with us knowing that we are not where we need to be. Think about the disciples just prior to the ascension of Jesus. Luke writes, “So when they had come together, they asked him, ‘Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’” (Acts 1:6). They still haven’t figured it out. They are still confused about the work of the Messiah. Following this clear display of their misunderstanding, Jesus informs them that he intends to use them to further his mission. I’m not sure about you, but to me that’s incredible. We are quite different. If we knew someone had such clear misunderstandings we would shy away from putting them into a leadership role. Not so with God. He continues to guide and shape, molding them to fit his design.
God chooses to work with us knowing we will fall and need help getting up. He knows we are not perfect. He knows we are sinful creatures. But he loves us more than we can possibly imagine. Remember, he gave us his only Son. The Apostle John would say it this way, “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One” (1 John 2:1). God, through Christ, has provided a way for us to be redeemed so that we are free to accomplish his will which he empowers us to do. And it doesn’t matter what limitations I perceive in myself…God can use me.
Take the story of the man born blind in John 9. “As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him’” (John 9:1-3). This man would be a vehicle through which God’s mighty works would be displayed. The life and experience of this man would challenge others to make a decision about Jesus. Many would have written this man off. Many would have viewed him as an outcast. But Jesus knows that no matter who you are, no matter what your circumstance, God can use you to bring glory to his name.
The interesting part of this story from John 9 is the ending. After this man has indicated that he knows Jesus healed him, the Jews kick him out of the synagogue. They were kicking everyone who believed in Jesus out of the synagogue at this point. When he is approached by Jesus again, Jesus revealed himself to this man. The man expressed his faith in Jesus. And Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind” (John 9:39). Then notice what happens. “Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, ‘Are we also blind?’ Jesus said to them, ‘If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains’” (John 9:40-41). Jesus is telling these Pharisees, “Because you think you have it all figured out…because you think you understand everything…because you say ‘We see,’ you are spiritually blind.”
Sometimes we become blind to the work God wants to do through us. We are blinded by our own desires. We are blinded by our self-centeredness. We are blinded by our confusion regarding God’s will. We are blinded by our weak faith. We are blinded by the lack of a servant heart. We are blinded by the lies we tell ourselves. The man who was born blind is used by God to teach us a valuable lesson. Jesus gives this man specific instructions. And it’s not by chance that Jesus tells this man to wash in the pool of Siloam (John 9:7). John tells us that Siloam means sent. Jesus, very literally, sends this man out. He sends him out to bring glory to God, to be a display of the mighty works of God, and to show others what Jesus has done for him. God is not dependent on us. But we can all be used by God if we allow him to use us…