Becoming an instrument of God
“They help us to understand how God takes average people with characteristics similar to our own and reshapes them to become amazing instruments of God.”
Last night at The Well, Holland, our young adults pastor examined the lives of several people from different walks of life that experienced the power of Christ. These people are described by Luke in chapter 16 of Acts as those that share the common thread of initially lacking the presence of Christ in their lives. These incredibly true stories serve a much greater purpose than the simple retelling of historical events in the foundational beginnings of the Church.
They help us to understand how God takes average people with characteristics similar to our own and reshapes them to become amazing instruments of God.
It is important for us to see these real examples of Christ’s life-changing power in these people because it helps us to identify some of those aspects in our own lives.The powerful narrative and application of the stories of Lydia or Silas and Paul’s jailer help us to relate and gain new insight into our own experiences and backgrounds. Sometimes, it’s easy to overlook the relevance of these incredible stories to our own lives and view the Bible only as a complex and long historical collection of stories.
For me, the story of Lydia resonates the most with my own life. In Acts 16:11-15, Luke writes about how Lydia, a maker of purple goods in the city of Thyatira, had attempted to live her life by a moral code that involved making the right decisions without the right motivation. Lydia tries extremely hard to live a life that is righteous in her own mind, but without the involvement of a relationship with Christ.
I often find myself struggling between what I know are the “right” Christian things to say and how I actually feel, sacrificing transparency for the appearance of looking holy or righteous. Instead of saying the rehearsed lines in prayers and discipleship groups that draw out those responses from my friends that reaffirm my own standards for moral behavior, I should use the relationship that I develop with Christ to help guide my words and thoughts to prevent them from becoming a routine and rehearsed triviality. Relying on God to set my path straight ends up being so much better for me than relying on my own personal moral code or ability to “do good.”
At the end of the day, those decisions that we make as a result of Christ’s influence in our lives have a purpose that rises above whatever limits we have put on our own behaviors or moral fortitude. Lydia makes the decision to follow Christ, and her willingness for God to use her as a tool for his glory helps to set the foundation for the early Church! Lydia’s home becomes a place for missionaries to stay as they prepare to go forth into the world and tell others about the wonderful changes Jesus has done in their own lives.
This is what happens when Christ transcends human morality. We gain purpose.
Lydia is the experience that I thought reflected my struggle or journey the best, but it is hardly the only one. Are you like Lydia, the person that attempted to live a moral life without the presence of Christ? Or do you understand the struggle of the jailer in Acts 16 who comes to Jesus at the end of his rope with the perception that he had failed his job and had lost his honor? Do you consider yourself like the slave girl who had been used in evil ways by those that only wanted to gain profit from her brokenness? Whatever our stories may be, we can find in God’s Word people from completely different backgrounds come to Christ in the most extreme or normal of circumstances.
As we go through God’s Word this week, how can we apply the stories we read to our own experiences? How can we learn from the choices of others that were here long before us? I pray that we experience all that God has to offer and understand how beautiful it is that he can use all of us, no matter where we have been, for his glory.
Join us at The Well every Tuesday night at 8pm.