Being Used by God; December 12. 2022


Luke 1:45 “Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!”

I think I probably write on this verse every time our readings cover it, because it is just that impressive. It was not spoken by an angel like Gabriel in verse 37, or even by a “prophet,” but it is no less true than if it had been. It was spoken by someone filled with the Holy Spirit, (verse 41) and that is the only credential needed. God delights to speak to us and through us, and He does it all the time. The problem is, in failing to expect it we often fail to recognize it, and that is a real waste. He doesn’t necessarily need someone wearing sackcloth and eating locusts and wild honey, as John the Baptist was in his public ministry, and we are often numbed by the very ordinariness of things. That makes it more difficult to receive the blessing Elizabeth speaks of here. The reason this very true statement is so important is that we tend to “half-way believe” what God says to us. The Japanese in this verse uses an expression that means “believed completely and finally.” Our faith tends to waver! Even John the Baptist, in prison and shortly to be executed, sent disciples to Jesus to ask if He really was the One John had been talking about. (Matthew 11:2-3) We aren’t to be down on ourselves because of such doubts, but we are to ask God for the faith necessary to meet the current challenge, whatever it might be. And that includes faith that God can and will speak to us and through us! Perhaps the greatest lesson of the Bible, after the fundamental one of salvation in Christ, is that God can and does use fallible human beings. Jesus is the only perfect person who has ever lived, yet the Bible is filled with stories of people we recognize as “great.” King David, of course, is a prime example, as someone used mightily by God yet deeply flawed and sinful. Even Paul rather reasonably characterized himself as “the chief of sinners.” (1 Timothy 1:15-16) We are always to “press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me,” (Philippians 3:12) as again Paul said. We are certainly imperfect, but we should expect God to use us, and especially to be true to His Word.

I have encountered people who have taken exception to my being sure God could speak through me, but that’s their loss. I have also had moments when I thought something was true simply because I said it, and that was my loss, and sometimes the loss of those who heard me. It all boils down to faith and humility. I need to have assurance that God can and will use me, and at the same time know on the deepest level that’s not because I’m so wonderful! When I teach the word, confidence, in my classes I tell my students I don’t like the Japanese expression for that, because it means literally, to believe yourself. I tell them I don’t believe myself, because I will betray myself. Instead, I have assurance, because I believe God. In preaching and in counseling I keep coming back to our need to take our eyes off of ourselves and fix them on Christ, because only then will we keep advancing. (Hebrews 12:2) Fixing my eyes on myself puts me into a death spiral. God has told me to rest, relax, and rejoice, but I will do that only when I am fully fixed on Him. (Isaiah 26:3)

Father, thank You for this reminder. I needed it! With so much going on it’s easy to get distracted, both by events and by my reactions to them. Help me receive each moment from Your hands with gratitude and praise, so that Your purposes may be accomplished on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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