Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.
—1 Timothy 1:15
The fact that we have been forgiven by God means we can experience a radical transformation.
If God were simply just willing to forgive us, that would be enough. But the good news doesn’t stop there. God is able to take the worst failures of your life and use them not only for your good, but even more importantly, for His glory.
If you have a hard time believing that God can use your failure for your good and His glory, just think about the apostle Paul. You may say, “Well, maybe God could forgive me for my sins, but He could never use me again. I’m on the shelf. I’m beyond use because of the terrible mistakes I have made in the past. I’m a terrible sinner. God could never use me.”
Don’t think too much of yourself–you are not nearly as good a sinner as you think you are. You know who gets an A-plus in sinning? The chief sinner of all time was a man named Paul. He imprisoned, tortured, and even murdered Christians–yet when he found Jesus Christ, God not only forgave him, but He gave him a great second act in life.
Paul wrote, “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. . . . Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all” (1 Timothy 1:12-13, 15).
When I became a Christian at age five, the worst sins I was guilty of up to that point were stealing other kids’ crayons and disobeying my parents. Now make no mistake about it: those infractions were enough to send me to hell. But I couldn’t go around as a five-year-old and say, ‘If God can forgive me, He can forgive anybody.” That wasn’t the testimony I had. But it was Paul’s story.
God not only forgave Paul, but He also used Paul’s terrible sins. I doubt anybody reading this is guilty of murdering Christians because of their faith in Christ. Yet God changed Paul’s designation from chief sinner into chief spokesman for the Christian faith. God was able to use Paul’s terrible mistakes to give Paul a platform, a stepping-stone to a great ministry.
As someone once said, “God seems to enjoy taking failure and squeezing good from it.” God is willing to take your greatest humiliation and not only forgive it but also use it for your greatest success.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Our Second Act Depends on God” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2016.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.