March 8 I Friday
“…for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose.” —Philippians 2:13
Sadly, there are many people who think God would never use them. They refrain from anything to do with God because of serious crimes they have committed or self-indulgent lifestyles they are living. They believe themselves to be undeserving and “definitely not good enough.” This is exactly the attitude Satan applauds. It not only keeps a person guilt-ridden, downtrodden and barren inside, but it keeps them from God.
Scripture teaches that it does not matter where we have been, what we have done or who we are. God will use anyone if they are willing. There is not one sin that is not covered by the blood of Jesus. All it takes is turning our focus heavenward to Him. God loves a repentant heart, where all our sin and self-indulgence become His workshop. There is no depth of depravity into which Jesus will not dive and turn around when we come humbly to the cross of Christ.
Jesus was born into a fallen world and so are we, but with one crucial difference. We were born with a sinful nature inherited from Adam that will be with us until the day we die. Jesus was born of the virgin Mary and did not have a sinful nature. Though He was just as human as we are, subject to all of life’s temptations and struggles, He did not sin. This is what qualified Him to be the perfect Lamb, able to take upon Himself the sin of the world. He did not die in our stead to leave us in our sin and failure. He was not raised to life to see us deteriorate as victims of a broken, fallen world. He died and was raised to life so that we may be saved, have life in Him and become the means by which He accomplishes His work in this world.
The same God who turned the Apostle Paul’s life around, changing him from an unrelenting archenemy of Jesus Christ to one of His most fervent apostles, also works in our lives. Paul knew firsthand that “it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose.” It is not by our own strength, discipline or determination that our lives are turned around but by the Spirit of God. Many leading characters in Scripture travelled down a path of sin and destruction—Abraham, Jacob, Moses and David to name a few—but their lives give valid testimony to the remarkable work of God. Regardless of our pasts, it is never too late. God will work in and through anyone who lets Him. The only criterion is having a humbled, repentant heart.
Prayer: Gracious God, You are greater than our pasts. I pray for a deep work of Your Holy Spirit in the hearts of those who are allowing past experiences to keep them from You. Thank You, Lord.