One of the greatest deceptions Christians fall into is what I call “the perfection trap.” We want to serve the Lord, but we know where we fall short of His standard. We see the public hypocrisy of others and know that our lives are also messed up. Can God use broken people and imperfect individuals to accomplish His will?
Biblical Examples of Imperfection
The Bible is filled with imperfect people serving God. We know about Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, Peter, Paul, and many other Bible characters who were broken. Their sin is placed on full display in the pages of Scripture. We also see that God used them for His purposes. In fact, one of the undeniable truths of Scripture is that all of God’s servants are seriously flawed.
Consider Paul’s words to Timothy, “‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’—and I am the worst of them. But I received mercy for this reason, so that in me, the worst of them, Christ Jesus might demonstrate his extraordinary patience” (1 Timothy 1:15-16). Paul introduces his ministry by highlighting his sinful past. But, in this passage, Paul is not saying, “I used to be the worst.” He is saying, “I am currently the worst.”
Paul knew his current sinfulness. He also knew he was unworthy of his salvation and his ministry. However, he knew God was using him to achieve His mission.
Honesty is humility.
Scandals fill our news feeds. Christian leaders caught in egregious and embarrassing sin. The watching world is right to question the validity of our faith and our leaders, and we have much to do in the public arena to gain trust.
Keep in mind, however, that these public scandals result from hypocrisy. These are individuals who hide sin and use their positions to abuse others. This is different from the humble and honest admission that we are still learning and growing, stumbling, falling, and getting back up. What is the requirement for serving Christ? Humility and faith.
Like the apostle Paul in the verse I cited above, we can freely admit that Christ is glorified in us because He uses us. Hiding sin, pretending we don’t need Christ, is hypocrisy—God hates this! However, humbly admitting failures, asking God to use us despite our weaknesses—that’s humility.
James tells us, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).
Don’t keep silent.
Remember, the power of our witness is the gospel; it is not us. When we stay silent, others do not hear about Jesus. It really doesn’t matter why you are silent—fear, apathy, ignorance, busyness, or guilt and shame over your sin. Whatever “reason” our enemy can use to silence us accomplishes his purposes.
While it is never acceptable for us to be lazy or cozy regarding sin, we can’t let the lie of our enemy keep us down. Paul writes: “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16). You see, the same Paul who knew his personal failure says he didn’t let this keep him from sharing Christ. He knew, and he reminds us, that the gospel is God’s power for salvation.
Share Christ. Your verbal witness is God’s means for others to experience the freedom of repentance and forgiveness of sin. Don’t let the enemy keep you silent.
The path to forgiveness
Never forget, God knows you fully, loves you passionately, and can use you for His glory. Our humanity does not shock God. He does not expect us to be Him. Romans 5:8 reminds us: “God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
God’s love is not driven by our perfection. God’s love is demonstrated while we are still sinners. He knows you (and me) fully. AND He still loves you. He still uses you to achieve His mission in this world.
Please don’t let this post lull you into complacency with relation to your sin. The path to forgiveness is still open. John Owen was right when he wrote: “be killing sin or it will be killing you. Do you mortify; do you make it your daily work; be always at it while you live; cease not a day from this work; be killing sin or it will be killing you.”
It is a dangerous mistake to take sin lightly. At the same time, it is also a mistake to let our sin bully us into silence and inactivity. Let’s never forget that the path to forgiveness is always available to us in Christ.
Do you feel unworthy to share Christ? Take this shame to Him and ask to be made whole. Then, as a step of faith in His promise to forgive, serve Him with vigor and passion.