Have you ever felt inadequate or unqualified to serve God? Perhaps you’ve looked at your flaws and shortcomings and wondered if God could ever use someone like you. But our God does not look at your outside or our weaknesses. Then, what kind of person does God use?
God has consistently used unlikely candidates to accomplish His purposes—from a young shepherd boy named David, to a former persecutor of Christians named Saul. The Bible is filled with examples of people whom God used, despite their weaknesses or unconventional backgrounds.
Let’s explore what kind of person God uses, how He uses ordinary people in extraordinary ways, and why He often chooses unlikely candidates to be His disciples. We humans are imperfect vessels, created by a perfect God.
What does this mean, to be used by God as a vessel, and what are the privileges and responsibilities that come with that role? God works through imperfect people to accomplish His perfect will—He uses us for His purpose.
What kind of person does God use?
Who does God use?
Do we need to fulfill anything? Must we be tall, beautiful, or smart? Should we be theologians or be able to speak eloquently? Does the Bible have instructions as to what we should do before God can use us? The answer to these questions is, “No!” God can use anyone because the ability to be used by Him does not depend on us, but on God.
You may think God uses only His children for his purpose. But that’s not the case. God literally uses everyone! Think of Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, Pharaoh, Balaam, and King Ahab. They obstructed God’s people, yet God used them to accomplish His will and to showcase His power. He used them for his purpose.
If God can use ‘unbelievers’, then how much more can He use us? He created us for a reason—He did not create us randomly or without reason. The reason is to be used by Him for His glory. This makes all of us entitled to be used by God—no distinctions.
We are His creation. Wouldn’t He be able to use all His creations?… including you!
What are the qualities of the man God uses?
Who does God use? As much as God can use each of us for His purpose, we can do something to open ourselves up. The Bible shows that the people God used were not always the most qualified. Many times, they were the least qualified! However, they had the strength of character that made them invaluable.
Qualities of the person God uses are:
- Trusting God
- Surrendering to God
God gives each of these characteristics to us—we did not give them to ourselves. We can not boost in our ‘godly’ character. We receive these traits merely by grace.
God’s pattern of using unlikely candidates
We may feel inadequate or not equipped to serve God effectively. However, the Bible shows us that God often uses unlikely candidates to accomplish His purposes. He chooses people who are overlooked, underestimated, or even despised by society to show His power and sovereignty.
This pattern of using unlikely candidates serves to glorify God and show His grace and mercy. God’s strength is made perfect in weakness and encourages us to trust in His sovereignty and wisdom, rather than relying on our own abilities.
“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.”2 Corinthians 12:9 (NLT)
If you feel inadequate or unqualified to serve God, know that He can use you when you are willing to surrender your life to Him. Your background, your past or present circumstances, your mistakes, or your abilities don’t determine your ability to be used by God. Instead, it is your willingness to trust in Him and obey His calling that makes you a suitable candidate for His work. A willing heart is all He needs—God will form your character along the way.
King David is an excellent example of God using an unlikely candidate. David was the youngest of eight brothers, a shepherd boy who was not even present when the prophet Samuel came to anoint the next king of Israel. Yet, God chose David to be the next king, even though he was not the most obvious or qualified candidate. Challenges, setbacks, and failures marked David’s journey, but through it all, God was with him and used him to accomplish great things for His purpose.
And think of the apostle Paul, who was initially hostile toward the Christian faith and actively persecuted believers. Yet, God chose him to be a vessel for spreading the gospel and establishing the early church.
How does God use ordinary people?
We are God’s children, so in some way, we aren’t even ordinary. We are special! Daughters of the King! But when we start comparing ourselves with others, we often feel ordinary or even unworthy. This can cause that we think God cannot use us.
However, God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts. We can never grasp His ways or interfere with His decisions. He does what He wants, and He uses who He wants.
“‘My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,’ says the Lord. ‘And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine’.”Isaiah 55:8 (NLT)
So, why and how does God use us, ordinary people? God uses us for His purpose. And since it is His purpose-not ours-He can use whomever He wants. He can use so-called ordinary people because being used by Him does not depend on us, our strength, or our wisdom, it solely depends on God. He gives us the strength, wisdom, ability, and even the motivation to be used for his purpose.
Why do you think God chooses ordinary people to be His disciples?
When employers select job candidates, they look for qualifications, achievements, skills, expertise, certifications, and credentials. If God would look for these in us, I don’t think He would ‘hire’ anybody. So, why does he use us? And why did He choose ordinary disciples in the first place?
Jesus’ first disciples were ‘simple’ men, young, untrained, and inexperienced in life. Yet He chose them instead of the qualified Pharisees. He chose people who weren’t trained in the Scriptures. He did that so that He could fill them and teach them, and eventually use them for His purpose—to glorify His name.
God doesn’t change. God still chooses ordinary persons today. People He can mold, teach, and fill with His Spirit. Why does He use ordinary persons? So that the focus isn’t on us and our capabilities, but purely on Him and His capabilities. What He can accomplish through us is unmeasurable more than we could ever do in our own power.
So-called special people are often full of themselves. When you are already full, there is no room for anything else. There wouldn’t be any space for God’s Spirit. This is the major reason God uses common persons, so he can fill them and work through them. Another reason is that people who are full of themselves will glorify themselves instead of God after their accomplishments.
God isn’t looking for ready-made, perfect people.
God uses imperfect people for His perfect work.
What does it mean when God uses you as a vessel?
A vessel is a container (such as a cask, bottle, kettle, cup, or bowl) for holding something. It also refers to a person into whom some quality (such as grace) is infused. Vessels are not something by itself, they only become useful when they contain something.
What does vessel mean in the Bible? The word vessel is used throughout the Scriptures, and in English terms it translates to be a container such as a bowl or a jug, or a ship. In the biblical sense, it is a person whom God calls and uses as a vessel. In the east, people hid treasures in earthen vessels to protect them from the damp.
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.”2 Corinthians 4:7 (NKJV)
This verse in 2 Corinthians 4 shows how He uses us and why. He uses us as His vessels, pouring His excellence (treasure) into us. Being a vessel for God means being chosen by Him to do His work. Not by our own power or might, but by His. The priceless power of the Holy Spirit in us is the treasure—we are the frail earthen vessel.
When God uses you as a vessel, He can steer you. Vessels don’t sail by themselves. They have a captain. In the same way, God is our captain. The Holy Spirit in us guides us, directs us, and empowers us. And exactly that is the kind of person God uses—filled with His Spirit.
Paul is a great example of a person chosen by God to be used for his purpose (Acts 9:15 NKJV):
“But the Lord said to him, ‘Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel’.”
Never think God cannot use you! Off course He can use you! You may be ordinary here on earth, but for God you are His masterpiece.
Prayer for God to use me
Father, thank You for deeming me worthy to be used by You. Thank You for not testing my capabilities before You would use me—because I would fail each test. I am grateful that the kind of person you use is not a perfect person. You can work with my imperfections.
I am humbled and honored that You use me for Your glory. Help me understand your directions and promptings. Clean my heart, Lord, so I may always be ready to be used by You.
Lord, I surrender myself as an earthen vessel to You. Use me. Mold me.
Thank You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.