Romans 15:14-21 (NIV) I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another. I have written you quite boldly on some points, as if to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles with the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God. I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done— by the power of signs and miracles, through the power of the Spirit. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ. It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation. Rather, as it is written: “Those who were not told about him will see, and those who have not heard will understand.”
We were all created on purpose for a purpose. Christ has given us different gifts (Romans 12:6) to help us fulfill our purpose while we’re here on earth. In the 15th chapter of Romans, Paul talks about being chosen by God to reach the Gentiles. Paul was excited about what God was doing in his life – it energized him. He wasn’t “proud” of what he himself had accomplished but of what God had done through him.
When you think about “doing something” for Christ, what comes to mind? Sadly, many of us think we can’t possibly do anything for Christ because we’re too messed up. Instead of focusing on the “new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17) Christ has made, we focus on what’s in the rear view mirror. Why is this I wonder? Why do we feel like we have to have our lives perfectly straight before we can do what God has called us to do? Why don’t we just trust God to equip us to accomplish the task He has call us to?
For me the question “But what if I mess up?” got stuck in my head. Every time I tried to step out and do what Christ called me to do, I’d allow this question to stop me dead in my tracks. I listened to the lies of the devil instead of the truth of God’s word. As I began to learn the truth, I looked learned lessons from people in the Bible who “messed up” yet God’s purpose was still accomplished through them. He used them even though their lives weren’t perfect.
Let’s take a look at Abraham. God promised Abraham he would have a son with Sarah. They were in their 90’s when Sarah became impatient, and gave Abraham her servant Hagar. Sarah tried to “speed” God along in accomplishing His purpose. The relationship between Hagar and Abraham produced Ishmael. This was not part of God’s plan for Abraham and Sarah. Sarah was to bear a child. Thirteen years after Ishmael was born, Sarah became pregnant with Isaac, and Abraham became the Father of a great nation just as God promised.
Let’s take a look at David, a man referred to in the Bible as “a man after God’s own heart.” He messed up big time. He lusted after a married woman, had an affair with her, then tried to cover it up by sending her husband off to the front-lines of war where he would ultimately be killed. David made a decision based on the flesh, yet God still used him. In fact, Christ came through the lineage of David.My favorite example is from the Apostle Peter!
Peter is a great example for me because from the very beginning we see his earnest love for Christ. He dropped everything to follow him (Matt. 4:19). He wanted to learn all about Jesus, yet sometimes Peter spoke and acted without thinking. I tend to be just like Peter – sometimes I don’t think before I speak either. In Mathew 14:28-33 Peter asks Jesus if he could join him out on the water. “Come” Jesus said. Without hesitation, Peter swung his leg over the side of the boat, kept his eyes on Jesus and walked out on water to meet him. COOL! It wasn’t until he took his eyes off Jesus and looked at the waves around him that he fell.
Instead of trusting Jesus, Peter looked at the circumstances around. This wouldn’t be the only time Peter would lose his focus. It was the night before Jesus stood trial before Pilate. Three times Peter denied even knowing Jesus. WOW! Yet, Jesus still used Peter to build his church after he ascended into heaven.
Paul is a great example for us to follow. After his Damascus road experience, Paul never looked back at his old life. He looked forward to what God had called him to and did amazing things. He didn’t spend time focusing on the rear view mirror, instead he chose to focus on his new mission – winning souls for Christ. Paul was passionate about the call God placed on his life. He didn’t dwell on the past. He laid it down know Jesus had already forgiven him.
What about you? Are you doing something that you believe God has called you to do? Whatever God has called you to, do it with all your heart for all His glory.