Significance: The Difference between Being USED and Being USABLE

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Significance—we all need to know our lives count for something. For many of us, our sense of worth is wrapped up in what we do—and we don’t even realize it.

I’ve been an avid follower of Christ for over 33 years. I know my relationship with God is not performance-based; that I cannot earn His love or my way into heaven. It is a free gift given through His Son Jesus. These truths have become a part of my being.

However, the Lord showed me that I still had a remnant of this wrong performance-equals-significance mindset. Since I’m a type A personality, such entrenched ideas are difficult to remove. Let me explain.

I’ve struggled like most people with my identity and self-worth. In my journey, God has shown me that although…

I am not worthy; I am not worthless! 

Part of what helped me to absorb this wonderful truth was understanding the significant role I had of working together with God to produce eternally lasting fruit (Jn 15:5,16). When I know God has used me, I feel significant and valued. What could contribute more to a sense of worth than impacting someone’s soul forever?! Slowly but surely I became more secure in my identity in Christ. What an amazing difference a simple suffix can make (worthy vs worthless)!

However, quite imperceptibly, I was basing my significance on how I was used by God and not my usefulness to Him.

Being used is an event, being usable is a state of being.

It’s a very subtle but important difference.

God does want to use us, but He loves and values us whether we are usable or not. He is more interested in who we are than in what we do for Him. You and I must understand that our impact for His kingdom flows out of who we are in Christ.

Again, what a difference a little suffix can make (used vs usable)!

Now God can use anybody for His purposes. But in order to reap the rewards (both future and present ones), we must be a willing (i.e. submitted) vessel in His hands.

In my great desire to make a significant impact for God’s Kingdom (out of my love and gratitude), I was fretting about how to accomplish that and if I actually was. But I don’t have to figure out the how or get stressed out when I don’t see the results of my labor—questioning every time whether I did what I was supposed to do. I can just relax and simply do as He directs. If I’m abiding in Christ, He will produce the lasting fruit from the works He has prepared for me to do (Eph 2:10). My role is to allow God to change my personhood to be more like Christ so that He can do the work through me.

For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose (Phil 2:12-13). 

This new insight is freeing for me! Instead of wasting effort worrying about if, when, and how I am accomplishing God’s call on my life, I can strive to just be the person God wants me to be—like His precious Son, available and usable at a moment’s notice.

Friends, I hope I have clearly explained this subtle but important difference. If not, please feel free to contact me for further explanation. Meanwhile, pray this with me:

Lord, I surrender all of who I am and do. Help me to abide in Christ so that He is the One doing the work, and therefore getting the glory. Teach me how to serve You out of my love for You more than out of wanting to feel significant.

 

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