“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” – Ephesians. 2:10
I was sitting around a table at an outdoor restaurant with a group of acquaintances. There was this one guy in particular who frequently made negative comments about himself. I knew him to be compassionate and helpful. He had a good reputation and everyone liked him. But in listening to his numerous self-abasing remarks, what I heard was a man who seemed to be obsessed with his own shortcomings and failures.
When he finally said something about God being let down by all of his screw-ups, I could not contain myself any further. I looked at him and said, “Every human being starts out in this life as a copy of God‘s master blueprint. God doesn’t make junk!” Sin is what has tainted us.
Have you ever felt like this man. Stuck in a funk of disappoint. Look, I have made plenty of mistakes. Regrets? I’ve had a few. Missed opportunities? You bet! But I decided that wallowing in self-pity was not pleasing to God at all. When I mess up, I ask Him to forgive me. I gather my wits, take a deep breath and I move on.
And why not? Look at what the bible says about us:
13-16 Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
you know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
the days of my life all prepared
before I’d even lived one day. – Psalm 139:14 (The Message)
As we grow older, it‘s easy to look at our cumulative mistakes and think that we’ve diminished our usefulness to God. But no life is so messed up, so broken, so imperfect that He can‘t fix it.
The next time that you look at someone and think, “they seem to have it all together”, remember this: we all struggle with our own brokenness, mistakes, and hurts. There is not one person on this planet who isn’t struggling in some way.
God loves each and every one of His children the same. He may hate our sin but he loves the sinner. He may allow the consequences of sin to manifest, but he still loves the sinner. He may even have to allow eternal damnation to one day lay claim to everyone who refuses the gift of His grace, but he still loves the sinner notwithstanding.
There are several examples of broken people in the Bible for whom God had a plan – even when they seemed to be “hopeless cases.”
Esther was an orphan girl living with her cousin. In the culture of her day, she had two things working against her; she was a women and an orphan girl. Hopeless? God used Esther to save the Jewish nation.
Joseph was sold by his brothers into slavery. Later he was falsely accused of rape and thrown into jail. At that moment, his life sure seemed hopeless and useless. God eventually used him to save the people from a 7 year-long famine.
Job lost his children and all of his wealth. His body became covered with boils and oozing soars. His wife walked out on him when he needed her the most. Hopeless? Sounds like a lost cause to me. But without knowing it, Job was proving the accusations Satan made about him to God were wrong. Eventually Job was restored and blessed abundantly. His life and actions have provided comfort and encouragement to people who are struggling, even to this day.
The Samaritan woman that Jesus met at the well was a real piece of work. She had been married 5 times and then didn’t bother to marry the 6th man in her life. She was a social outcast and appeared to be a hopeless loser. Jesus spoke with her, exposed her true condition and offered her His living water. As a result, God used her to bring the Samaritans the Gospel and many in her town were converted.
Peter denied Jesus three times. The shame he felt must have been overwhelming. When Jesus saw Peter after the resurrection, He didn’t scold him. He asked Peter to spread the Good News of salvation to others. Jesus knew the real Peter.
Paul had a reputation for killing people that followed Christ. He actually thought he was doing God a favor. So, Jesus confronted him as “an extraordinary light” on the road to Damascus. The incident left him shaken and temporarily blind. Paul later became a hand-picked convert and was responsible for setting up the early churches. His writings make up nearly two thirds of the New Testament.
Every one of us has a purpose. God formed us; He knows every hair on our head (Luke 12:7). Our faces and personalities are well-known to Him. It doesn’t matter how far away we wander, He never forgets who we are. His love for us reaches to the far corners of this earth and to the depths of the ocean. He does all He can to bring us back home to Himself whenever we go astray. And if we ask for His forgiveness, He doesn’t keep a record of our failures. In His great mercy He sees the beautiful person He created. God doesn’t see the mess we’ve made; He sees the potential for good in our restored righteous state.
“I alone am the one who is going to wipe away your rebellious actions for my own sake. I will not remember your sins anymore.” – Isaiah 43:25 (God’s Word translation)
Broken lives and broken bodies are not junk to God. Whatever the circumstance, God loves us. He sees the value in each of us. He knows the gifts he has placed within us. As His workmanship, we are shaped into a new and a beautiful design. We are His children, created in His image, by His hands.
“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the children of God!” – 1 John 3:2
GOD DOES NOT MAKE JUNK…
Joseph A. Cerreta, PhD., is a noted author, broadcaster, a popular Bible teacher and a rabbid Coastal Junkie ®
For additional information write to: Coastal Life Ministries, P.O. Box 1283, New Port Richey, Florida 34656