Those that God used in the past were just ordinary people with an extraordinary Master. They were not all champions of great faith, but little people who saw their own need, and put their small faith in a great God. –Winkie Pratney, revivalist and author
For look at your own calling as Christians, my brothers. You don’t see among you many of the wise (according to this world’s judgment) nor many of the ruling class, nor many from the noblest families. But God has chosen what the world calls foolish to shame the wise; he has chosen what the world calls weak to shame the strong. He has chosen things of little strength and small repute, yes and even things which have no real existence to explode the pretensions of the things that are—that no man may boast in the presence of God. Yet from this same God you have received your standing in Jesus Christ, and he has become for us the true wisdom, a matter, in practice, of being made righteous and holy, in fact, of being redeemed. And this makes us see the truth of scripture: “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:26-31 (Phillips)
People are prone to extremes. At one end of the spectrum, we have some Christian teachers proclaiming that humans are “little gods”. On the other end, leaders constantly berate their people as unworthy sinners, weak worms in the dust who would have no reason to live but for the unwarranted grace of God.
Zeroing in on Reality
While we must strive to avoid anything that reeks of self-deification, keeping people miserable and feeling like they are worthless is comparable to sedating them with drugs. (Keeping a person feeling worthless can actually lead to a need for anti-depressants!)
The way to combat error in the church is not to overreact with the opposite error. No. Those who wish to produce mature and fruitful disciples of Christ must learn to zero in on the truth. We dare not foster unbelief to correct errors in faith teaching, nor should we try to disarm pride by compelling people to continually grovel in the misery of their sinful tendencies.
God Loves to Use Losers!
Without question, pride is the archenemy of the human race, but the Creator of our souls is quite adept at accomplishing His objectives through His willing servants. It is for this very reason that God often—but not always—uses people who are losers in the eyes of the world to carry out His awesome plans and purposes.
Should we be surprised when heaven comes knocking at the door of someone who the world sees as an insignificant loser? In order to keep pride from doing its deadly damage, our all-knowing Creator delights to use insignificant people while fulfilling awesome ends. Humility, therefore, is indispensable.
But what is humility? Though we sometimes grapple to define this virtue, I can tell you what it is not. Humility is not a constant, miserable berating of oneself. Is it humble to say “I’m the most worthless of all losers,” when God calls me a favored child? Not in the least! If my perspective of myself disagrees with God, then I make Him to be a liar, which, we all should know, He cannot be.
Once again, we return to the importance of defining our identities as the covenant children of God. Apart from Him, living according to our own wisdom and ways, we are indeed miserable, weak, worm-infested sinners. We dare not forget this reality: We were drowning in a sea of sin, but God saved us and elevated us to the status of royal sons and daughters. Does this give us grounds to boast? Only to the same degree that a drowning person brags about being saved as he was about to go under for the last time!
Spiritual Champions in Christ
Through the grace of God, we are in Christ. This reality now establishes us as new creations in the eyes of God. If we, who are foolish, weak, of little strength, of small repute, and have no real existence, are to ever play a significant role in turning the tide of evil in our world, we can no longer define ourselves according to who we were before we met our Savior.
If there’s anything that takes the heart of a champion, it’s overcoming the opposition and adversity that plague those who wish to honor God with their whole lives. Such courage is possible only when we first discover that those who are seen as losers in this world become highly favored through faith in Christ.
May heaven help us to clearly see ourselves through the lens of our Father’s amazing favor!
This post is drawn from Chapter Forty-Two of Bob’s devotional: Champions in the Wilderness—Fifty-Two Devotions to Guide and Strengthen Emerging Overcomers