5 Requirements for Being Used by God

By



Clay Pots

If you’re a Pastor or church leader of any kind, you most likely found yourself in that place because you want God to use you. And chances are, you want God’s help releasing and freeing other people to be used by God as well for both ministry and mission.

The question is, what kind of person must I be to be used greatly by God? 2 Chronicles 16:9 says, “The eyes of the Lord search back and forth across the whole earth, looking for people whose hearts are perfect toward him, so that he can show his great power in helping them.”
If you want God to use you greatly, here are five things you need to do to make yourself usable by Him.

1. Keep your life clean.

The first step to being used by God is always personal cleansing. Without exception, when you find someone whom God is using in a great way, they’ve dealt with the personal sin in their lives before God.

It’s not about your past or your status in the world your your talent. God uses small vessels, plain vessels, and even broken vessels. But He will not use a dirty vessel. 2 Timothy 2:21 says, “If you keep yourself pure, you will be a utensil God can use for his purpose. Your life will be clean, and you’ll be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.” (NLT)

2. Keep your eyes open.

One of the most misunderstood words in leadership circles is the word vision. We think of vision as prediction, but none of us can know the future the way God does. Vision is seeing God at work in your present situation and moving with Him. It’s about getting in on what God is doing in the world and being a part of it where He has placed you.

If you make up your own vision, you’re already off course. The psalmist said, “Keep your eyes open for God, watch for his works; be alert for signs of his presence.” (Psalm 105:4 MSG)

3. Keep your heart grateful.

God uses grateful people. Further, gratefulness is one of the keys to longevity in ministry. Doctors refer to gratitude as the healthiest of all emotions because of its physical benefits. If you don’t stay grateful, you’ll become cynical.

Paul said, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” (Romans 12:11 NIV) We need to constantly remind ourselves what a privilege it is to serve Jesus. Never get over the things that God does in, through, and around us entirely because of His grace.

4. Keep your purpose firm.

Remember the basics. You were planned for God’s pleasure, formed for God’s family, created to become like Christ, shaped for service, and made for a mission! These aren’t just good points for teaching others or for leading a church. These are the purposes for which God made you!

One of the verses that has kept me going through all the years of my ministry is Acts 13:36, “David served God’s purpose in his own generation.” That’s my desire! And that’s my desire for you.

5. Keep your mind on Jesus.

Meditate on this verse, “Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed – he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.” (Hebrews 12:2 MSG)

God’s purpose for your life is far greater than your problems. Don’t give up when it gets tough. Go to Jesus. Keep your mind on Him!


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Rick Warren About Rick Warren

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.

  • Dessie

    As usual inspiring and guiding word. Dear rick remain blessed in His service

  • Dunamis

    RIck is of course right and these five things are all necessary.
    Except that if the last thirty years has taught me anything it’s that just because it looks like God is “using someone” because they are famous or have a mega church or huge ministry, it doesn’t mean at all that their life was “clean”. We could all write a list of someone with a huge church or TV ministry who falls, but then we find out that the sin had been going on for years, So how do we explain that?

  • Nana

    Pastor Rick, thanks for sharing and I pray Gods grace to sustain you in all you do. I pray for More wisdom, for humility, love and that you continue to walk in integrity . I love you and your family. God bless you and Saddleback Church.

    We follow you with our heart and remember you in
    our prayers right here in Accra, Ghana.

  • Rev.Samuel Agosu

    God’s servant Pastor Rick, thanks for this simple truth that will help every lovers of truth, many are following the Lord Jesus but don’t want to live the of Jesus which is simply purity.what Rick Warren shared is to help us and remind us of our commitment to holiness the Bible says be ye holy; so that we can be more used by the master, please let no one misunderstood this simple teaching. The Lord will help us to live the kingdom life in the name of Jesus

  • Eli

    Michael represents the segment of religious people that forget that there are biblical principles that Rick Warren has learned to use to encourage believers. These principles do not neglect nor deny nor supplant the sound doctrine that I know Rick Warren believes in and stands on. Stop looking for every word you can find to criticize a man of God.

  • Grace Place

    The “If’s” of the Bible are descriptive rather than prescriptive because of Jesus. We can do none of this in our own might and power it is “Christ in us the Hope of Glory”. So when the Bible says “Be Holy for i am Holy” in us this is impossible but because of the righteousness of Christ we can Be Holy for He who lives in us is Holy. Pastor Rick is addressing our positioning in Christ not a formula that makes Christ do something in or for us. Each of these steps is about Christ’s rule in our lives or Lordship over our lives and our personal surrender to allow that to happen daily. 1. Clean (The Righteousness of Christ) 2. Eyes Open ( Daily Following His leading) 3. Grateful (Living in gratitude even when things are not going as we hoped) 4. Firm Purpose (Daily surrender to God) 5. Mind on Jesus (will and emotions given daily in surrender to Christ’s Lordship)

  • Michael Cordich

    I’m sorry, but where in the Bible does God tell us directly that if we do these five things he will use us – Nowhere! These are simply made up in Rick’s mind. To say that these are God’s requirements of us before he will use us means that God is working from a basis of law or quid pro quo, that’s to say IF we do…THEN God will do…, but there are many times throughout the Scriptures where God has used people who have done none of these things. Abraham was an idol worshiper when God came to him. Gideon was not following these steps when God called him. How about Samson, definitely not one we could hold up as an example of these steps, yet God used him. Then there are unbelievers like Pharaoh and Cyrus and nations like Assyria and Babylon all used by God for his purpose and none of them followed these steps. Rick is being unhelpful and untruthful when he makes statements like “here are five things you need to do to make yourself usable.” The emphasis is on the wrong person. For Rick it’s what YOU need to do to make YOURSELF usable. These then are man centered rules, not God centered grace.

    By the way, the first one will never happen. Your life is never clean, at least not on your own. The only reason we can be clean enough for God to use us is because of the shed blood of Jesus Christ who paid for all our sins when our sins were imputed to him, and now he has imputed to us his righteousness, a perfect standing before God without blemish. So then being clean enough for God to use is not based on what we do, but on what Christ has already done. The reason God uses us at all is not because we have followed five easy rules to be usable, we are being used by God because of his wonderful and amazing grace provided to us in Jesus Christ. Everything God does in our lives is because of his grace, not because of our merit.

    • http://brandonacox.com Brandon A. Cox

      Michael, you make good points, but your points don’t negate the fact that we still must be good soldiers, run the race with endurance, watch our souls and our doctrine, and work out our own salvation. We believe strongly in living a grace-based life, but there are still dozens of admonitions in scripture to be careful about how we live.

    • Seun Oso

      Thank you very much, Michael. I totally agree with you. This is where we, as Christians, need to be very careful to discern and separate when a pastor is speaking the mind of God from speaking his/her own mind. In as much as I respect Rick Warren, I believe he is speaking his own mind this time around. To make a very bold, authoritative and conclusive assertion such as above, is wrong and misleading.

      God has already told us His ways are not our ways and His thoughts not our thoughts. It is very wrong for anyone to authoritatively prescribed how God will work or do things, aside from the written Word.

      Sometimes, most of the theories propounded by most of the pastors appear logically sensible and seem plausible, but some of the times, are not scriptural.

      This is not, in any way, to demean Rick Warren or his work. He is a good pastor that writes and has written very good and inspiring books and articles which I regularly subscribe to.

      • http://brandonacox.com Brandon A. Cox

        Again, what about this verse? 2 Timothy 2:21 says, “If you keep yourself pure, you will be a utensil God can use for his purpose. Your life will be clean, and you’ll be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.” (NLT)

        How would you guys interpret it?

        I totally get that it’s grace we depend on, but this verse still says, keep… yourself… clean… We can only do that in God’s power, but God won’t force us to be clean. He calls us to decide to be so.

        • Chip Bell

          >>how interpret?<< Part of the problem here is NLT. Notice what 2 Tim 2:21 really says: then "he will be a vessel for HONORABLE use." (BTW, is not the purpose of every law/command–whether OT or NT–to convince us of our impotence to "cleanse ourselves" and drive us to surrender and dependence?) I believe Michael is raising a crucial issue here. God uses anyone (regardless of their condition) for his purposes. There are commands to holiness, etc. But I believe that to suppose there are conditions which "qualify us to be used" is to minimize the truth of depravity and miss the essence of grace. Likewise, to suppose that our failure to do so might somehow limit God or hinder his purpose is a fundamental misunderstanding of his omnipotence and sovereignty. As Michael pointed out, there are far too many biblical examples of completely unworthy people whom God has "used for his purpose"–not just in spite of their unworthiness, but sometimes specifically through their sinfulness. And to that long list of unworthy vessels God has used, I add myself. I suspect that Rick would join me, too. Maybe he should take a second look at his words.

          • http://brandonacox.com Brandon A. Cox

            Chip, if you’re referring to God’s sovereign purposes, every act of evil is included in what God “uses.” The obvious context here is that His directive will is in question. Consider Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 9:27, “I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” (NIV) I remember my rather astute Greek professor reading that verse and then stopping to warn my class of young preachers – “If you want God to use you, be disciplined. The greatest tragedy would be to be put on the shelf by God because of unholiness.” I’ve agreed with him and have seen the practical implication of that lesson over twenty years now.

          • Chip Bell

            Thanks for the reply, Brandon. This is probably a longer discussion than I want to type. And, at the end of the day, we probably would still see things differently.The point I’m trying to make (and I think Michael is trying to make, too) is that “being used by God” is not what is at stake in our obedience. Of course God wants us to experience what Rick is describing–and our experience in ministry will be greatly diminished otherwise. OK, now, two things I want to observe (and you may not agree): 1) Yes, this is God’s directive will. But I can’t do it. I can only rely on God to graciously clean me, open my eyes, change my heart, hold me in his purpose, and renew my mind. 2) My doing of these things is not related to God using me. Yes, this is God’s sovereign will, which means God accomplishes all that he chooses to do, even using sin, evil and my failures to be/do everything that God has directed me to be/do. Here’s the point: I believe it is misleading (misdirecting) to say that “being used by God” is somehow dependent on our behavior/efforts because it encourages people to trust in their own attempts to obey God instead of driving them to surrender, dependence, and confidence in what God will certainly do–even without our assistance. It doesn’t mean at all that it’s OK to disobey God’s directives. It has to do with the reason why I should choose to obey. I think the link we constantly try to make between our behavior and “the results” is largely a product of our culture (rather than revelation) and it has greatly affected the way we interpret the Bible. Like I said before, you might not agree. I’m just putting out an alternative that I think deserves some serious consideration. I spent 30 years in ministry focused on discipline, faithfully doing my best. All I can say is that Jesus rescued me and I realized that the heavy burden I was trying to carry was not the yoke of Christ.

      • Babatunde Adewale

        I think everything Pastor Rick is saying is to help us live what we preach. One of the greatest lies Satan is using to mislead many church leaders today is that because Christ has died for you, you can live your life the way you want. Pastor Rick is simply reminding us, especially with his first point that our God is holy, and holiness in service must be our watchword.

    • Wayne Cathers

      Michael, you make some good points but I fear your answers may have been fueled by by emotion and disagreement rather than with love and a gracious rebuking nature.

      James 5:9 “Don’t grumble against one another…” You make the point in the second paragraph that having a clean life “will never happen.” I don’t know if you meant sarcasm to come through in the wording of this paragraph but it very much did. Rick doesn’t say “If you have even the slightest sin in your life then God will never use you and he will cast you aside as a worthless lump of flesh.” It should be obvious that Rick is not saying that you have to be perfect for God to use you. I think we must be careful to guard our emotions and reactions and take time to seriously look into the deeper meaning of something before we respond. I believe the point Rick was trying to make (and a point I believe he made well) is that if we expect God to work in our lives in a might way and if we expect God to use us powerfully then we must be willing to cleanse our lives before Him.

      • Seun Oso

        Wayne, sorry, I believe your response is based more on emotions and trying to defend Rick Warren. Rick does not need anyone, apart from God, to defend him. He is a good pastor. However, just because Rick is a good pastor does not make him infallible and cannot make mistakes.

        Brandon Cox’s response was more balanced and objective. How can you accuse someone of being emotional and antagonistic when you do not even know him or were with him when he wrote his response.

        This is not right. You also must practise what you preach. Let us stay within the context of what is written.

    • Steve

      Michael I think you’re missing the point. Rick is sharing some real wisdom gleaned from years of experience as a pastor. If you see a brother in a mess due to personal sin, you would help him seek God for freedom and probably offer accountability. You would probably start by saying ‘That’s something you need to get sorted out’ meaning go to God for help.
      Quite frankly, I’ve got a lot of time for a guy who has planted hundreds of churches, which are still growing, written books that have changed lives and led many to Christ.

    • http://www.pastorbiker.com Pastor Dave Beckwith

      Hi Michael . . . here is some scripture that speaks to Pastor Rick Warren presented regarding purity. This is clearly a ” . . . if anyone . . . then God will.” “Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself
      from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as
      holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. So flee youthful passions
      and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on
      the Lord from a pure heart. Have
      nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed
      quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must
      not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with
      gentleness” (2 Timothy 2:21-26 ESV).
      Pastor Dave Beckwith

    • Gene Lankford

      Michael, you are partly right and partly wrong. Indeed, God’s grace is such that it can overcome our incapacity and our failures and use us anyway. That does not obviate the truth that we can discipline ourselves in such a way to be more available to the Holy Spirit and for God’s use. Rick Warren’s principles are sound, as long as it is remembered that God can use even an unfit vessel, and indeed that we are all, to a greater or lesser degree, unfit vessels, as we are all sinners.

      It is a distortion to speak in absolute terms in either direction, as if we have to be spotless for God to use, on the one hand, or as if it does not make a difference whether we live a spiritually disciplined life, on the other hand.

      God is not limited, and God’s grace is abundant. Yet, God calls us to, and works in us to produce, a spiritually disciplined life. God loves us enough to accept us just as we are, but loves us too much to leave us that way. We Methodists call the first truth God’s justifying grace and the second God’s sanctifying grace.

  • Vergin

    Yes when we submit ourselves to God .we will become His vessels to carry the good news …

  • Vergin

    A good reminder .Thank you.

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