Having had my second round of affliction, this is a word that will flit across my mind on occasion. How can someone who is an invalid (and yes, that is what I am right now, and this is VERY difficult for me to say) be useful sitting in a chair needing her meals cooked, her laundry done, and house cleaned for her? This my friends is my reality.
Currently I am reading Hudson Taylor, The Growth of a Work of God, by his son Dr. Howard Taylor HERE, and to be useful was what drove Hudson Taylor. He had such a passion for the LORD and the millions in China. Everything he did for the LORD was to be useful to Him. Whether it was medical training – and he got it. Or being the first to don native dress. And he got so much criticism for this. He wanted to identify with the very people he was living with and he found that he was not being granted access to their hearts and homes very readily, if at all, in European dress. But, he took his desire to be useful one step further – he wore his hair in a queue. Most of the other missionaries he was working with, or at least in Shanghai, did not agree with him. But, this one bold step, in the hopes of being useful to God, granted him more access into the hearts of the Chinese than any other. He was now one of them. In a sea of people, Hudson Taylor looked just like another man living in China.
Because I am reading that book it has got me to thinking about how I can be useful. What can I do to further the kingdom of God? What can I do to allow God to mature me more and more to become even MORE useful to Him?
The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:8
Before this verse, Peter writes about adding to your faith – growing it. Things like virtue, knowledge, self-control, endurance, godliness. And more. I have always pictured these to be like steps. Each one leading to a more intimate relationship with Christ and in that stepping we have a more impactful and useful relationship with our fellow man.
So, to put it plainly – I can be more useful from my chair if I look at the list in 2 Peter. I can add knowledge to my faith. Not puffed-up knowledge, but depth in my study of the Word. I can steep myself in study of the Bible to get beyond a casual relationship with it to one with more life changing effects.
Yikes. This one is a work, and will be a work until I die, I’m afraid.
For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. James 1:3
To see whether faith is genuine it has to be tested. Tried. In the furnace, frying pan, desert, backside of a mountain. And I have found that I am not liking this test. I complain way more than I should. I pray for deliverance a lot. I beg the LORD for release. Well, maybe He has me in this desert to grow my faith so I can be of more use to Him.
I say “Thy will be done.” But, do I really mean it? As in this sense? For me, this would mean, “Keep me here in the desert, on the backside of the mountain and do not move me until You LORD, are ready to take me to the Promise Land.” This needs to be my prayer. Finding comfort in knowing that this desert has its purpose and I need to allow God full reign in my life. He is Sovereign and I have got to allow Him to BE Sovereign in my life. I can buck and kick and not practice self-control. But, I have found that this way does not lead to Peace. It does not lead to Jesus. Ask me. These past two weeks have been anything but peaceful in my heart.
The longer these feet take to heal the more frustrated I get. We are throwing everything at them and they are stubborn. Or more accurately, the person with the feet is stubborn.
Have Thine O Way Lord, have Thine O way. You are the Potter, and I am the clay. Period. In order for me to be the most useful for God, I have to allow this desert time to have its intended purpose – moulding and making more like His Son.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:5
Jesus never complained. He desired and completed God's will while here on earth. He pointed others to the Father. He talked about the Father. He spent years with humanity out of obedience to His Father. And ultimately He went to the Cross to complete the mission for which He came to dwell among us - He became sin, conquered death, and rose so that we might live with the Father forever. This very attitude is what God is growing in me. Or rather, it is the work He is doing and will complete it at the day of Christ Jesus. My prayer needs to be along the line of: "Yes, Lord, have Your way. Make me more and more like Your Son. Make me useful for Your kingdom. Create in me a clean heart. One that is pure before You. Willing to go the distance in this race, and keep my eyes in my own lane and allow You to do what is for my best and Your glory."
To do the math: Self-Control + Attitude of Christ = Useful for God