Editorial: Using or Being Used

In Christ you will find true fulfillment.” “In your relationship with God you will find happiness, success, and the answer to all your problems.” There is wonderful truth contained in these statements; but there is also a subtle danger. There is a new evangelism which, bypassing the issues of sin and the need for repentance, presents the gospel as a way to achieve your “personal best.” In essence, we use God to achieve happiness, marital bliss, financial wisdom, and personal fulfillment. Accepting Christ places God at our disposal to be our “personal coach” to a full and meaningful life, especially a happy life.

No true believer would question that conversion brings a believer into the most fulfilling and meaningful life imaginable. But that is achieved by having the primary issue as the primary issue: God’s right to use me for His glory, and not my using God for my benefit. The emphasis has been totally misplaced.

Isaac was born for an altar (Gen 21 and 22). It was only after the altar that he had a wedding and comfort (Gen 24:67). According to Galatians 4:28, we are all children of promise as was Isaac; we have all been born again for the purpose of coming to an altar and yielding ourselves to God, not for personal fulfillment, but for His will, whatever the cost.

Paul was not concerned with hedonistic pleasure and personal fulfillment on the Damascus road when he asked, “What wilt Thou have me to do?” (Acts 9:6, KJV). In complete brokenness, he appeared, like the Levite of old, at the tent door to offer himself for whatever service the Lord had for him.

If my worldview is that God owes me a fulfilling, happy, and productive life, I have never been to the altar. God owes me nothing. I am a debtor to grace! God is God and is never subject to my needs and desires. In wondrous mercy He has saved me and brought me into His family, flock, and field. In His family I am allowed to sit at His table as did Mephibosheth, and feast and grow (2Sam 9). As part of that flock, I am privileged to know the care of a Shepherd. In that field, He graciously has allowed me to labor, as did Boaz with Ruth (Ruth 2). Ruth did not look to Boaz to fulfill all her dreams and aspirations. She owned that she had found grace since she was only a stranger (Ruth 2:10). The one who fell at the feet of Boaz, owning her unworthiness, ultimately found that Boaz would do “exceeding abundant above all” she could ask or think. But those were not the terms on which she came to him.

Let us enshrine in our souls a sense of wonder that divine grace ever thought upon us and saved us. We were once “bondmen in Egypt,” who have been delivered at tremendous cost. It is of God’s mercies that we have the privilege of coming to the altar and asking Him to use us for His glory, whatever pathway He has for our lives.