Not only does God use our skill set and our talents, but He also uses the bumps in the road and the difficult times in our lives to help others... and He can even use our past mistakes to shape us and turn them into opportunities to show His grace and mercy to people who are lost.
We can’t help but think of the apostle Paul when we think about being prepared and equipped for a task, and using someone's past to help someone's future...
When you read the first chapter of Paul's letter to the Galatians, it is clearly evident that God was using Paul and his background to reach this group of people… that God wanted to use his life experiences and his past mistakes in order to speak to the problem in their church, and to help them fix what was broken.
" For you have heard of my previous way of life... I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers." Galatians 1:12-13
Before he came to know Christ, when it came to following Jewish traditions and knowing Jewish law, Paul was the best of the best. What was happening in the Galatian church surrounding Jewish traditions and law was extremely problematic.
"I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ." Galatians 1:6-7
The people of this church had once been faithfully following Christ, but a group of people were trying to add adherence to the law as a means of salvation. He questions them in Galatians 3:1-2 saying,
"O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?... Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith?"
Why could Paul say these things to the Galatian Church? Why would these people even listen to Paul's words? Because he had this in common with them:
"We ourselves are Jews by birth..." Galatians 2:15
If anyone had a reason to push for following the Jewish law it was Paul! He knew it like the back of his hand! Paul's knowledge of the Scriptures, and his life experiences, his encounter with Jesus on the Damascus road and his connection to the Jewish people made him a credible source and a vessel that God could use to reach His people with the TRUE gospel!
Not only did God use Paul's background and Jewish upbringing, but He also used Paul's sinful past to point others to Himself. Paul persecuted Christians before his conversion and tried to destroy the church!!! God doesn't waste our pain or our mistakes... He redeems us from the pit and can use our messy lives to lead others to salvation!
And this is how the churches responded to Paul's conversion-
"He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy."
And Paul tells us in Galatians 1:24- "And they glorified God because of me.'
The bottom line is this: God wants to use US to further His Kingdom... and that means our past, our present and our future! It is so good to know that God can use EVERY aspect of our lives to expand the Gospel... whether it be our gifts and our talents, or our past mistakes and failures.
Why not take some time to look back through the rearview mirror of your life and ask God to reveal to you how He has equipped you for His purposes, how He has redeemed you from your past, and how He wants to use ALL of you for His glory!
2 Haiti 4 Him!