Take a moment to reflect about your current existence for a moment. How do you think someone would describe you? Are you igniting or encouraging anyone around you? Or are you thinking, “I have so many things wrong with my life how could I ever motivate anyone?” The enemy whispers, “You can’t minister to someone when your past is so bad, who would believe God is working in your life?” The enemy doesn’t want you to fulfill God’s purpose for your life so they will do everything they can to convince you that you are unqualified, unfit and unable. The good news is the brokenness of your past does not disqualify you from being useful, because it’s God’s agenda, not yours. A relevant and relatable ministry is a messy, broken past full of mistakes! When we are obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit, God will turn the mess into a ministry! Whether it is a women’s small group, sharing Jesus with your unsaved family members, serving in jail or prison ministry or speaking in front of hundreds of people, your ministry is going to be awesome because you’ve been through a lot.
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.
Going through pain and mistakes make us empathetic, approachable and patient. We understand hard times and being disobedient, and the shame and guilt associated with bad decisions. We get people. We are bold and fearless. We know in the moment, we don’t always feel so wonderful, but we really are more compassionate people when we embrace the grace of God. There’s so much to be thankful for. Many of us have crazy pasts. Your failures, your pain and your mistakes can become the perfect canvas on which God can paint beautiful things!
2 Corinthians 4:7-12
We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies. So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you.
This is part of a letter the Paul wrote to a Church in Corinth almost 2,000 years ago. Back in those days people used to use clay pots for all kinds of things like storing water, wine, and food. On top of everyday use, they stored their most valuable items in them. We carry the precious Gospel message around in the clay pots of our ordinary lives. All of us as Christ followers are the clay pots. Without God, we are ordinary. Nothing more than mounds of clay. But when we start to live in our identity as God’s children we become extraordinary and valuable. We hold the most valuable thing in the world: The Love of God.
When God lives inside you and His love overflows, a ministry should be a bi-product. When you know your identity in Christ, you will want to serve Him no matter where it leads in total submission to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Paul was a clay pot. Before God began to change him, He was known as Saul, a Pharisee who used to persecute Christians. He literally dragged people out of their houses and watched them be tortured or killed. What about Moses, didn’t he murder someone in cold blood? Or David……kind of set up a man to be killed in the midst of adultery with the mans wife? How do men like that become some of the most prominent figures and authors of the Bible? God used their mess to make a powerful ministry! People listened to Paul’s message because they knew what kind of man he was before God changed him. They knew the changes had to be from God.
2 Corinthians 12:9
Each time He said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.
No matter how many times Satan tries to hurt us or bring us down, we will persevere with Christs’ power, there is a ministry there. Whatever we’ve done in our past that Satan will use to try and hold us back, we will overcome with Christs’ strength, there is a ministry there. No matter how many times we failed, God will empower us to move forward, there is a ministry there. You will inspire others to follow Jesus when they see you’re filled with His peace, love and joy even after all of that.
Are you still thinking, “Yeah but my life is still a mess in some ways? You can have a ministry when your life is still not yet perfect, it never will be on this earth! Maybe you’ve been to prison? Maybe you’ve committed adultery? Maybe a loved one of yours is an outcast in society? Maybe you used to be an addict? Maybe you have been divorced? How can you help other people when your past is so dark compared to what you think a Christ follower should appear to be?” Like Paul, the change God makes in our lives comes from He who is within us (1 John 4:4). The worse the outward appearance of our lives looked the more powerful the message. Somewhere inside of you, you have a story that will inspire someone else. A story of brokenness and healing by Jesus to help them. A story people will look at and say, “It had to be HIM”. Your pain and mistakes are going to make an amazing ministry!