by Calven Celliers
When asked during a radio interview why so many of the ‘heroes’ of the Bible had such serious flaws, author and pastor Ray Pritchard answered, “That’s all God’s got to work with. The talent pool has always been pretty thin when it comes to moral perfection. So, God works with sinners because that’s all he has to work with. In heaven we will all be vastly improved – perfected by God’s grace. But until then, He uses some pretty ornery people who fall short in many ways – and He does some amazing things through them.”
Think of it like this, if God chose only well-rounded people with no character flaws, then the credit would inevitably go to the people and not to the Lord. By choosing flawed people with a checkered past, a shaky present, and an uncertain future, God alone gets the glory when they accomplish amazing things by His power.
The apostle Paul makes this point abundantly clear in his first letter to the Corinthians saying, “26 Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. 27 Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. 28 God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. 29 As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.” (1 Corinthians 1: 26 – 29NLT)
If you wanted to condense the message of this passage in just one sentence, it would probably go something like this: God won’t tolerate human pride, so He chooses people who have nothing to brag about.
It seems God has never been impressed with self-sufficiency, which is probably why the apostle Paul said He is drawn to people who are powerless, despised by the world and counted as nothing. The Bible is full of examples of how God uses imperfect, ordinary people to do extraordinary things in spite of themselves. When you think of the limitations in your life you may be tempted to conclude that God could never use you, because you’re not perfect, but let me remind you of this Scriptural truth – God is not limited by your limitations! In fact, we read in Scripture that He enjoys putting His great power into ordinary containers. In his second letter to the Church at Corinth the apostle Paul wrote, “7 We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.” (2 Corinthians 4:7NLT)
Many of the principles of God’s kingdom are paradoxes (seemingly absurd or contradictory statements.) When the apostle Paul pleaded with God to remove his ‘thorn in the flesh’, the Lord said to Paul, “9 …My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9NLT) God’s strength is made perfect in weakness because He delights in taking situations where human strength is lacking to demonstrate the greatness of His power.
The great missionary Hudson Taylor once commented that “all God’s saints were weak people.”
Like common pottery, we are all fragile and flawed and break easily. But God will use you if you will surrender yourself, warts and all, and allow Him to work through even your imperfections.