I remember the day I learned this lesson. It was a spiritually horrible day. I hadn’t spent time with the Lord. I was at odds with my bride. And I was negelecting every spiritual duty I had. I was maybe even slightly frustrated with the Lord because of how yucky my day had gone. In the midst of this, I received a phone call from a person in our church who was absoultely crushed. Their world had just fallen apart and they needed to hear from the Lord.

I didn’t feel like ministering to this person because I was in no condition to minister to anyone. But I knew I couldn’t say that to them because there was too much at stake. So, I took a deep breath, thought a quick prayer of repentance, and plunged in. I remember in that short moment saying to God, “I can’t do this – I’m not ready”. But God replied to my heart by saying, “So, you’re just going to abandon this person because you’re not where you should be right now?” I realized then and there that God desired to use me in spite of me and not because of me.

In Numbers 20, the people complain to Moses because there’s no water even though God has miraculously provided water for them numerous times already. Moses is not having a good day. He just buried his sister and the people are blaming him for all their trials. Which of us would have not been a bit angry like Moses here? Yet God, who cares deeply for the people, tells Moses to go out and speak to the rock and water will come out like normal to provide for the nation. But in v10, Moses goes out to them and says, “Hear now, you rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?” Then Moses strikes the rock two times in disobedience to God’s command to speak to the rock.

Despite Moses’ disobedience, look at what v11 says. “And the water came out abundantly…

That blows me away. Moses was in sin. But God came through and met their need in spite of him, not because of him. On the surface, everything looked fine to the people. But the truth is clear. We know so because God pulls Moses aside after it’s all said and done and tells him he can’t enter the promised land because he gave the people the impression that God was mad at them when He wasn’t.

Serving God is a powerful thing. Paul told Timothy to be ready “in season and out of season“. Being used of God is a 24/7 calling regardless of what title you have or don’t have in front of your name. But all of it is of grace. Not a single thing is deserved from Him. As such, I can never use my “success” in serving as evidence that I’m pleasing Him. He doesn’t move because of how good I am. He does amazing things simply because He’s so good 🙂

This is also very humbling. Because I must never use that grace as an excuse to not be ready. However, I am so grateful that God uses me even when I’m not exactly where I should be. I’m so thankful the Lord is ready, even when I am not. And I am so thankful that it’s only one step back to Him, no matter how many steps I’ve taken away.

Have you thanked the Lord for how often He uses you in spite of you? Don’t use His grace as a license to sin. Receive it and let it melt your heart so that you’ll be more ready than not ready in the future 🙂