God Doesn’t Want to Use You

How many of you have ever said “I just want God to use me”?

I think most of us have said it at one point or another. So many of us say this and we are totally sincere, thinking that our desire to be “used” is the very thing we were created for, but it’s not.

The truth is that God does not want to use you. Or me.

Within this statement that “God wants to use me” lies a fundamental misunderstanding of who we are, and who God is. Just ask yourself, why does an all powerful God need help? If He created me so He could use me, why did he give me free will at all? Why doesn’t He just do it all Himself?

Stop for a minute and imagine how the Gospel would change if God came because he wanted to use you. “For God so wanted little helpers that he gave His only Son, so that whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but get to be told what to do forever so they can help Him take over the world.” (John 3:16, revised to fit our broken beliefs).

Look at Heaven. God has beings that adore Him day and night, declaring His beauty. He has elders that serve him and angels that do anything he asks of them. (Rev 4-5) He has every need taken care of, and the angels do a much better job of even things like worship than we do. (You try standing in one place for the rest of your life, saying nothing but “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty!”) So even being used by God to bring Him glory is not the point. Yes, you were made to bring God glory, but God is not interested in getting that through you doing stuff for Him.

The problem with living to be used by God is this is at worst an abusive paradigm, and at best a paradigm of slavery. By believing we exist to be used by God, we make God into the most gentle, kind, loving, and merciful slave-owner in the universe. He creates people so they can do whatever He wants. He bought us out of sin so that he can make us his slaves instead. Perhaps, He wants to use us regardless of if we want to be used or not. Perhaps He chooses to use us and we have no choice but to comply. Now our good God is actually a cosmic Abuser. He gets what He wants, even if it goes against our will. This Abusive dicator has plans for our lives, and we had better obey them or He will make us.

If you are living to be used by God, then the greatest goal of your life is to simply stay on plan.

Even if you don’t like the plan.

Because you’re a Christian; you’re supposed to like it or else you are a bad Christian. (Oh, sorry, I mean you are “struggling to understand God’s will for your life.” Don’t want to be too honest here.)

You were not created to be used, the Gospel is way better than that.

From day one, God made man with responsibilities, but never for responsibilities. As a matter of fact, God never tells Adam how to take care of his responsibilities, only what they are. It’s like God says “So Adam, here’s your home. I want you to make the best of it. Take care of it, and spread your awesome life over this entire world. You are responsible for all this, and I trust you. Do with it what you think is best.” God made Adam a powerful person, capable of living a life of authority, getting to partner with God, not work under Him. But Man forfeited that purpose.

The Devil told beings that were already like God that they had to do something to become like Him, and they believed Him. Instead of living in their authority as powerful people in relationship with a powerful God, they chose to believe they were slaves that needed liberation from God! Instead of telling the snake “this is my garden, you are talking trash about my Friend, and you need to get your fruity lies out of here!” they said “you’re right, I’m not powerful, and God does rule over me, I need to fix that.”

For thousands of years after that, Man has been falling into the trap of relating to God like slaves, and God keeps trying to raise them up to friends. He goes to Abraham for counsel on His decisions, Moses changes His mind about Israel, He argues with the Prophets. He so raises up His children that He says He does nothing without first letting them in on it! (Amos 3:7) Finally, Jesus comes on the scene to clear things up. He says “I no longer call you slaves, but friends! You are now in on the plan, and you get to ask anything you want because you know where I’m coming from already.” (John 15:15-17, my paraphrase)

The New Testament uses wild, unorthodox, revolutionary language when it says that we are “co-heirs” and “co-laborers” with Christ (rom 8:17, 1 Cor 3:9). We are now friends of God, reigning with God, laboring with God, fully integrated into His heart, given all authority, taking part in the grand Reformation of all of the universe. If God wanted to “use” you instead of work with you, he would have never put that crown on your head. (You are a Royal Priesthood, remember?)

The whole of the Gospel can be summed up in this:

Christ died and rose again, so that you could have relationship with Him, and do everything with (not for) Him forever.

To be used is to forfeit your identity. To be in relationship is to finally find it.

To be used is to be a slave. To be in relationship is to be a friend.

To be used means you are weak. To be in relationship means you are powerful.

God doesn’t want to use you because He wants to labor with you. He wants you to be so deep in relationship with Him that you can ask anything, and know that He will give it to you. (John 14:14) You have been given all things, and God has restored to you the authority that Adam lost. God doesn’t want to control you, He wants to enjoy you. He has a plan that He wants you to be an active participant in, not just a passive victim of. Stop waiting to understand the plan of God. Instead, take Saint Augustine’s advice:

“Love God, and do as you please.”

 

P.S- A while back a blogging friend of mine posted a post I really like on this subject of God’s will for our lives, and it relates directly to a lot of this. In the comments on his post, we expand on the post a bit, because I feel there are a few essential clarifications that need to be made about how happiness is still the point, but with that understanding, the post is phenominal. I highly recommend reading it:

Jonathan Stone- What is God’s Will for My Life

Enjoy!


10 thoughts on “God Doesn’t Want to Use You

  1. Karsten, this is excellent. So many views and ways of understanding and applying Scripture has some opposing dialectical tension. You know, things like when Jesus says, “come to me all who are burdened and I will give you rest.” Then later says, “pick up your cross and follow me.” So does He bid us to come rest or to come and die? The answer is, yes. 🙂 So, I totally understand the discussion going on here so far. It’s just part of the process when you focus in on a particular aspect of a passage or theme in Scripture. Good job, and thanks for adding my post on God’s Will. Blessings!

    1. Thank you SO MUCH Jonathan. This really does mean a lot to me. Yea, I’m really glad to have had the comment section to continue to expand upon what I’m saying, because it is a big and challenging topic to tackle. (At least to me it is! 🙂 ) I may go back and revise it a bit to help clarify or to add a few things, but your comment here is really re-assuring. Lastly, your post on God’s will is one of my favorites you have posted. I’m glad I found it again to reference.

  2. I think I may some some insight here, I could totally be wrong but hear me out. 🙂

    To my first two friends commenting here: I think that when Paul said that we are no longer slaves to sin, but slaves to righteousness, it was fully within the image of being a slave. You have to serve something, it is impossible to serve nothing; also because we have been bought with the blood of Christ, we are in a legal sense slaves to righteousness, but it is a slavery in which God sets us free to be able to choose Him or reject Him. It’s like buying a slave on the market and then setting him free and saying “do what you will,” and it’s that person’s choice to stick with you or seek out life on his own. Also, the Greek word used for “slave” while it literally means “bondservant” can also be metaphorically used (and I believe in this case more properly used) to mean “give myself wholly to one’s needs and service,” which implies a voluntary laying down of one’s volition—a voluntary servitude, to the point that you might as well be a bondservant. Jesus is the perfect example of this when in the garden of Gethsemane, He said to the Father, “Nevertheless, not my will but Yours be done.” He could have chosen to do things drastically differently but He willingly laid Himself down to accomplish the Father’s will. He didn’t have to die, but His overwhelming desire was to please the Father and that desire was fueled by love and the expectation of joy that would come after it, not drudgery. Just some preliminary thoughts of mine. I’m definitely intrigued by this passage and just might make this my next focus of exegesis (I love sincere study of the Word!).

    The problem I have with slave language is that there are so many other passages emphasizing our liberty in Christ that this slave language can become extremely restrictive, narrowing one’s view of what Christ has done for us if not taken in context with the many other passages that encourage us to choose to walk in God’s way as opposed to being forced into God’s way. However, I do love the fact that this language also heavily emphasizes that we were not set free to live for ourselves and to use our liberty as “a cloak of licentiousness.” In other words, slave language clearly establishes the purpose of Christ’s work on the cross. 🙂

    By the way, I love how both of you are so eager to seek truth and point out lies regarding God’s nature (the church needs people like you!), but I don’t know that it’s very helpful to start blatantly accusing others of incorrect doctrine. We all have a little bit of incorrect doctrine, some of it more flawed than others, but let’s try to phrase things a little softer online because I know that these comments are meant in love and it’s hard to tell without seeing the person speaking. God works within our incorrect views and doctrine and lovingly brings us into a proper theology as we continually seek Him out so I encourage everyone here to season our speech with grace.

    To Karsten: I love the idea that we are now called friends of God. I don’t fully relate to the way you applied the phrase “used by God” because I have never personally used the language of being used by God to infer that I had no other choice. I have always understood it to mean “through my willing and eager obedience I hope that God will accomplish something”, not “I desire for God to micro-manage my life.” So while I think you’re on to something here, I don’t think the vast majority of people use this phrase with the idea that they are in the servitude of Christ without option. I could be terribly wrong, but I almost feel sometimes like you’re trying to start controversy on purpose… 😉 I love your thoughts: keep writing and enjoying God.

  3. Incorrect doctrine. Romans 1:1 “From Paul, a bond SLAVE of JESUS CHRIST (the Messiah)

    You cannot serve two masters. You either serve God or Mammon.

    I understand you’re trying to help people out of religious thoughts, but the biblical truth says that we are to be used by God. Saul became Paul and was sent out to do the will of God. Jesus was sent out to do God’s plan on Earth. We are called to preach the Gospel and to make Disciples of all nations. We are called to serve him.

    You misunderstand being a Bondservant of Jesus and you misunderstand the way in which we are to serve God and that he is a master of Love.

    Your blog post is fallible and an incorrect idea at best.

    1. I fully get what you are saying. I’m working on responding to the comment before yours on explaining this. I am very aware of these verses. Yes, we are totally called to preach the gospel, make disciples, walk in power, and bring the kingdom to earth. I fully believe that. I’m just saying this is not as a slave, but as a friend. He is still Lord, we are still His creation. I may work on how I explain things in this post too, because I want to explain myself in a way that most clearly and easily conveys the truth. Before the end of the night I will hopefully have that other comment done. Thank you for reading it and seeking to point me towards truth. I view my blogs as conversations, and when people like you take the time to comment, it really helps to take that conversation deeper into the heart of God. I’d love to hear what you think after I finish that other comment.

    1. Yes! I totally agree. It’s always hard when I’m posting trying to decide if I should bring up the things that seem to contradict what I’m saying or if I should discuss them as they are brought up by others. I tend to lean towards waiting because sometimes writing in extra paragraphs about the other side can make the blog a lot longer and more tedious to read. Balancing creative flow with my desire for truth and clarity is always a challenge. Anyway, on to what you have said! 🙂
      I am very familiar with that verse. There are other verses that relate as well, such as when Paul calls Himself a slave to Christ at the beginning of some of his letters. Slavery was very relevant to the culture of the early church, and it was not the same sort of slavery as what America did. So for starters, I believe Paul is using a metaphor that the people of his time can relate to. Furthermore, I think it felt true to Paul in the sense that “to live is Christ and to die is gain.” He was so wrapped up in Christ, that he was a slave to Him, much like a lover can be so wrapped up in his beloved that he is like a slave to her. He cannot imagine doing anything but what makes his beloved happy. So yes, Paul is a slave, but He is a love slave, a friend who is recklessly given over to his passion for his Lover. I touch on this in my post, that it takes two people to have relationship. Being “used” by God is to be an object, or an apparatus by which God accomplishes whatever He wants. God doesn’t want objects, He wants persons in relationship with Him.
      In relation to the specific verse in Romans, I think out of context it certainly contradicts what I’m saying. However, in the whole of scripture, as well as the point Paul is making in the passage, I believe it lines up exactly with what I’m saying. Just after Paul says that we are “slaves to righteousness” he says “I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations.” (19) So even within the passage itself, Paul is acknowledging that the metaphor he is using here doesn’t perfectly convey his point, and he is only using it because of their human limitations. As a matter of fact, based on the verse itself, we need to change the metaphor, because slavery is no longer “an example from everyday life.” Unless we lived in the 1st century Roman Empire, slavery as the 1st century Romans knew it would be unfamiliar to us, or at least a bit removed from us. If a better metaphor for their time and culture had been there, he would have used it.
      So what is the point of this metaphor? The point is that there are only two options. There is no middle ground. You are either choosing life, or choosing death. Either you are obeying sin, or obeying righteousness. Whether you know it or not, your actions only fall into these two categories. It is not a comment on our status as slaves at all, but a comment on the way the world works. Black or white. Under one system or the other. In the context of the verse, Paul leaves no room for a “free” perspective, because he is describing a two-option system. The third option is irrelevant and non-existent. (If this still needs elaboration, feel free to tell me.)
      Lastly, I have to look at the whole of all the other passages of scripture written by both Paul and the other writers of the Bible. My biggest reason why I believe what I do is because Paul says that we were “set free” “for freedom’s sake” and to ” Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Gal 5:1). Based on this verse, Paul does not see himself or any believer as a slave at all. He says we are totally free, and we must not let ourselves fall back under slavery period! As a matter of fact, in his letter to the Galatians, Paul doesn’t even say that he is a slave of Jesus Christ, as he does in some of his other letters. This re-enforces that Paul does not view us as slaves, but is using a metaphor in his letter to the Romans to explain a point that transcends slavery. According to Galatians, we are totally free. Also, Jesus words that we are not slaves but friends is a huge reason why i use this language. I believe that the words of Jesus help us better understand the words of Paul, and Jesus says we are not slaves. I also look to Colossians 3 and Galatians 3 which speak of how in Christ there is no longer slave or free, but all are one in Christ, new creations with new identities. In Col 3 Paul tells the slaves that their service to their master is unto God, but this is only after just writing in verse 11 to free them from a slave mentality. Also, the prodigal son is another great example. The son came home, feeling no longer worthy to be a called a son, but to be brought into the family as a “servant,” but the Father refused. He restored his sonship and refused to relate to him as a slave. God insists on making us friends and sons, co-heirs and co-laborers, kings and priests, the Bride and the Body. The gospel brings us into freedom! 🙂
      I apologize if this was a longer response than you needed. I just want to be clear and cover every part of what I’m trying to say. As you can see, this would have added quite a bit to the post, which is why I didn’t post it in the blog post itself. Hopefully anyone who has questions will take the time to read it, and if you have more to say please feel free to continue the conversation. I appreciate your comment and that you took the time to read my post.
      In Christ Alone,
      Karsten Kaczmar

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