What is the first image you have when someone tells you they are a Christian?
Do you think of someone who does no wrong?
Do you think of someone who is always looking towards heaven with hands folded in a praying position?
Sadly, we often have those images of perfect people in our heads. We all think these are people who are religious and live a perfect life. Well, here’s a newsflash for you – Christians are not perfect nor do they come from a perfect background. Whoever teaches that being a Christian means that a person can live a perfect life is a false prophet. In this human body, none of us will be perfect before or after becoming a Christian. The difference in becoming a Christian is that we have decided to follow a higher example.
Everyone does not come from a “white picket fence” family situation in life either. Our society is increasingly becoming a variety of family combinations. Some of these family combinations are real hurdles for people to overcome. If you think everyone in your family is going to be happy when you become a Christian, think again. Even Jesus’ own family was not supportive. (John 1:11) Jesus was considered a radical in his day. He didn’t stick to the traditional thinking of society. Sometimes you have to make the difficult choice of choosing Jesus over family. Here’s a nugget to think about -- You can please God easier than you can please your own family! Families are quick to remember your past mistakes and make you relive them over and over again. I can’t keep track of the numerous times I’ve heard a story begin with: “Remember that time when you……” Even with those things working against you, God can still use you for His glory. There is absolutely nothing in the Bible which tells you that you have to have a harmonious relationship with your family to live a life pleasing to God. Nothing. Certainly if it’s possible we should live peaceably with everyone (Romans 12:18) but – let’s be real – it isn’t always going to happen. So we shouldn’t allow that to handicap us. Forget what your biggest critic says about you. They may think you are a lost cause but Jesus specializes in lost causes. He changes people with His love, not an agenda.
We mistakenly think that God can’t use people with problems. Really? There are many examples of people that God used who had problems. The first person that comes to mind is Moses. Moses was raised in the house of Pharaoh but later discovered he was a Hebrew. Talk about a life-changing revelation. This was better than any soap opera. When God finally got Moses in position to lead Israel out of Egyptian , Moses wasn’t very receptive to the calling. Moses feared speaking in public. (Exodus 4:10) Also consider a young boy named David. David was told his was too young to do anything, (1 Samuel 17:33) It was quite comical that he could actually confront a giant --- until David planted a rock directly into Goliath’s forehead! Joseph was another hard luck story. He was sold into slavery by his own brothers (Genesis 37:27). If anyone had a reason to become bitter, Joseph most certainly did. Yet, he remained faithful in spite of the problems. In the New Testament, if you want to see an example of someone with problems, Paul quickly comes to mind. Although we never knew what his “thorn in the flesh” was, he did not allow it to defeat him. Of course, we also know about Paul’s past in persecuting Christians as Saul. Remember how people were very skeptical of Paul? (Today, we might be skeptical if Diane Sawyer became a born again Christian and became a preacher!)
The awesome news is that Jesus can take a dysfunctional situation and make it something that fits perfectly into his plans. He certainly has a plan for all of us but we only need to be obedient. He isn’t concerned about your past failures. Don’t ever be fooled into thinking that because you have failed that you can never be used by God. Don’t ever let unfortunate things in your childhood or your youth become excuses as to why God won’t use you. There are even some modern ministers who overcame dysfunctional families and insecurities to be used of God.
James Robison was born as a product of yet God has used his life and even some of the setbacks of ual addiction to minister to thousands of people. Joyce Meyer is a dynamic teacher and travels all over the world preaching the gospel. Joyce was a victim of ual abuse growing up as a child. She also had some severe insecurities about herself. Some wondered if she would ever overcome them. The Lord turned her life around and has used her to reach people. Another evangelist, Paula White, was also a victim of ual abuse but the Lord has used her in a mighty way. Regardless of your past, God is capable of using you. None of us know the potential that God sees within someone. We can’t judge it by simply seeing the outside of a person. Too many times we become a prisoner to our own negative thoughts about ourselves. This is reinforced when places people in our paths which echo those negative voices.
Are you struggling in your commitment as a Christian? Do you know that uses his WMD (Weapons of Mass Dysfunction) to disrupt anything we try to do for Christ? knows exactly when and what to throw into our lives to slow us down or stop us altogether. He will make us think that we aren’t capable of being used by God or that we didn’t grow up in a perfect home or attend some prestigious theological seminary with the title “Dr.” in front of our names. He will also tell us that we can never amount to anything because of the family we come from.
Oh really? Look at the lineage of Jesus. His family tree isn’t filled with a bunch of saintly people. In fact, there are some pretty dysfunctional characters in Jesus’ line. We only think of people like Abraham, David and Joseph but there are many examples of people who were far from perfect. Some were really a mess! Here is an example of a few:
Judah was deceived by Tamar, his daughter-in-law, when he visited another city he thought Tamar was a and slept with her. She later confronted Judah and caused quite a scandal. The result of this affair was Perez who was also in the lineage.
Rahab was the in Jericho which hid the spies in the story of the victory over Jericho. Rahab was spared for helping God’s people and is in the line of Jesus.
Of course, we know about David. He had an affair with Bathsheba and then had her husband killed. They lost the baby but the second child was Solomon.
Ahaz was considered an evil man and led God’s people into monstrous idol worship.
All of this begins with Abraham but we remember how Abraham doubted God’s promise to give him a son. Abraham “helped” God out by sleeping with Hannah which bore the son Ishamel. (Needless to say that Israel has had problems with Abraham’s poor decision ever since then.)
So as you can see, even Jesus’ family wasn’t perfect. They were pretty dysfunctional in their own way. So if you think that there’s no way God would use you, think again. God’s ways are not our ways and He will use whoever will answer His call. Don’t let your past or your present hinder you from answering the call of God upon your life. You and I were born for a purpose. It’s time we find that purpose and act upon it.