2 CORINTHIANS 1:8-10 – For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.”
Every true Christian longs to make a difference for Christ. Every genuine believer prays, “Lord, use me for Your glory, the furtherance of Your kingdom, and the good of all people.” However, there might be a gulf from that prayer to what it takes to see that prayer answered. It has been rightly said, “Before God will mightily use a person, He must thoroughly break the person.” Such is the reality that will occur in any believer who truly wants to make a difference for the Lord Jesus in this life. To be greatly used requires a great emptying of ourselves and this emptying is toward one thing and done in one place.
First God must empty us of ourselves; the seeking and desiring of any attention in our service for the Lord. Basically, the little “glory hound” residing in all of us that wants to “bark” with “Look how God is using me. Affirm me” must be quieted with the words,“ Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to Your name give glory, for the sake of Your steadfast love and Your faithfulness!”(Psalm 115:1). If we want to be recognized, then don’t expect to be used much by the Lord. He shares His glory with no one (Isaiah 48:11)
Next, the place God takes us to empty ourselves of self-glory and even self-sufficiency is what the Bible calls the “Refiner’s Fire” – Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction (Isaiah 48:10). A person who was in God’s furnace of affliction and profited while there is the man in today’s scripture–Apostle Paul.
In this “hot place”, he learned not to trust himself, submission to God’s will, reliance on God’s strength, and a confidence in God’s promises of help and deliverance. And all those things must occur in any person who wants to be used by the Lord. It hurts. It takes time, but it is a good work.
Yes, every Christian wants to be useful for the Lord. Pray for Him to use us but keep in mind what He will do in answering that prayer. He must first make us useable and that through His refining fire of emptying us of the one thing keeping us from being usable–ourselves.
PRAYER: “Father, help me not resist or rebel against Your purging work in my life; a purging of my self-sufficiency.”
QUOTE: “The only Christians God uses to promote His Son and draw people to Himself are the ones emptied of themselves.”
Because of Him,