We as Christians have developed our own language. I like to call it “Christianese” Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the language. I believe it causes the unbeliever to become confused and think that they aren’t able to become involved because they don’t know the lingo. Often times I think our phrases are silly, we talk about entering in (because we are to enter into His courts with thanksgiving, and into His gates with praise) and things like this. WE know what they mean, but when we talk to unbelievers (unbeliever in itself is one…) we tend to scare them off with our vernacular.
Today I want to focus on the phrase “used by God.” Let’s really break this down and look at it objectively. If I were your boss and you: my employee, and I was using you, would you consider this a good thing? What if I said to myself, “ah that James, he’ll do anything for me… I’d like to go home early I’ll ask him to fill out all this tedious paperwork”. How would you (James) feel?
What if your wife only loved you because of what you can do for her? (Or wives, your husbands) What if your relationship with your spouse was only one sided and all you did was give, give, give, and never had the opportunity to take, or receive what you need?
By crying out to God, “Use me Lord!” we are implying that we have something to give God. We have nothing to give God. We are empty vessels. We are unrighteous as filthy rags. We can’t be used for our talents because without Christ we have none.
We are also implying that God is a selfish God. God doesn’t “use” people, He has a give and receive relationship with His children. We shouldn’t be crying out to be used, we should be crying out to be loved. If we are LOVED by God He will “use” us. Let me be a little more specific. God Loves every one of us, but not every one of us receives His love. A vital part of being an instrument in God’s hands is allowing Him to Love on us, to Favor us… not to use us.
He who is favored is blessed. This man is trusted by God. The favored are given “privileges” so to speak. They are the ones doing great exploits for God.
I know a lot of you are reading this thinking I’m being nit-picky but I assure you, every time a non-christian hears phrases like this, they think differently than us. We think being used by God is a high call. They think of being used by God as a loss of freedom when we know that there is liberty in Christ.
In summation, take care not to use Christianese words when ministering to a non-christian. Paul said, “Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” 1 Cor 9:19-23