Today’s message was based on the movie The Blind Side. For copyright purposes, we cannot air the movie on our web recaps, but Pastor Marcus is able to lead us through a short devotional on the life of Hosea, who was willing to be used by God in someone else’s life. And he poses to us the question of the theme of The Blind Side: are you willing to be used by God for the sake of another?
Are you willing to be used by God for the sake of another?
Hosea is a young preacher in the Bible, living about 700 years before Christ. At this time in history, God’s people, the Israelites, are thriving and have abundant resources, but because of this affluence, they begin to drift away from the will of God. They begin practicing debauchery, partying, sexual immorality, and serving other gods -- even to the point of human sacrifice.
On paper, it looks like Israel is prospering, but spiritually, nothing could be further from the truth. Isn’t it this way in our own lives as well? When things are tough, we turn to God and pursue Him, calling out for help and for answers, but when things are going smoothly, we feel we don’t really need God and we can forget to trust in and rely on Him.
Hosea preached to God’s people for them to return to Him and honor Him, but his words were ignored. Hosea’s heart was broken and so was God’s, but God gave Hosea a special mission as a reflection of His love for His unfaithful people -- the same mission we have today: to intervene in someone’s life and pursue that person with the love of God.
When the Lord began to speak by Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea:
“Go, take yourself a wife of harlotry
And children of harlotry,
For the land has committed great harlotry
By departing from the Lord." Hosea 1:2
As difficult as this task may have been for a man pursuing holy living, Hosea is obedient. He marries Gomer, a promiscuous woman, is a good, honoring husband to her, and has three children with her. But the story doesn’t end there, because just like the Israelites (and us!) who stray from our loving Father, Gomer decides to leave Hosea and return to a life of harlotry, selling herself back into slavery.
To illustrate His love for His people, God gives Hosea another mission: to pursue Gomer again and buy her back. We can only imagine how difficult this task must be for Hosea, yet He faithfully pursues his unfaithful wife, buys her freedom, and receives her back once again, just as God pursues us with a relentless love when we drift away from Him.
God calls us to be examples of His relentless love, just as He called Hosea, but obeying this challenge is never easy.
1. It brings problems.
Are you willing to go through the difficulties and put aside your pride to pursue the person with love as God has pursued you?
2. It brings pain.
Giving your heart is a risk, but God has called us to do it and he understands the pain because He has felt it Himself.
3. It requires persistence.
Loving God’s way means you can’t give up. Stay the course and allow God to use you in the person’s life.
The story of Hosea illustrates God’s relentless love for us. Not only did He create us in His own image and provide for us, when we strayed from Him, He sent his son Jesus to pay for our sins.
Allow God’s example and Hosea’s story to encourage you to be used to bring God’s love into someone else’s life.
In addition to our devotion by Pastor Marcus, Pastor Miles brings a biblical context to the movie The Blind Side.
The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 1:18,
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
It seems foolish to some that a holy God would die for sinful people and work to transform their lives, yet we who have experienced it know that He takes the mess we’ve made and turns it into something amazing. It also seems foolish that He chooses flawed and broken people like us to be part of it, yet that is part of the miraculous work that not only blesses others and brings God glory, but blesses us in the process.
Today’s challenge is that you would allow God to use you in someone else’s life. To do this, you must:
1. Allow your life to be interrupted. Your schedule becomes God’s schedule.
Did you know that you can measure your faith by how quickly and completely you obey what God tells you to do? If God is going to use you to help someone, you must be willing to act spontaneously by faith, allowing Him to interrupt your plans. Be faithful in little things, because these are steps to prepare you for bigger things.
But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. James 2:18
2. Allow that person to step into your world, and you must step into his/hers.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15
Jesus invited us into His world. You can’t do this with everyone, but the more intimate the relationship you can build with a person, the deeper the impact you can have on his life. This is why the Holy Spirit comes to live in our hearts; He touches us in the deepest way possible to bring about an entire transformation of our lives.
You also have to be willing to step into the other person’s world, because the more in touch you are, the better you can understand the context of her pain. Only then can you have true compassion. Pity looks down at pain, but compassion gets down and sits down with the person in pain. This is the power of being in a small group because worlds collide there and suddenly the big church becomes small.
3. Not worry about what you have or don’t have in common with the person.
One of the biggest lies of the devil is that you can’t impact someone if you’ve never experienced the thing he has experienced. (Such as, “You can’t help a drug addict because you’ve never been a drug addict.) God is much bigger than our commonalities or differences. The only things you really need to have in common are an understanding of pain and the heaviness of a broken heart and a desire to share the love of God.
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13
Whatever pain has come into a person’s life, s/he has a basic need to be affirmed and loved by God. Maybe you’ve had this experience before: God gives you a burden for someone, so you start thinking about ways you can help, but then you begin to talk yourself out of it as false reasons flood your mind. (You don’t know enough! You haven’t had the right experiences! You can’t be effective!) Don’t let these get you off-track; Remember, the key is not what you know but Whom you know, not what you can do, but what He can do, not about your strength, but your weakness.
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
4. Know that what God plans to do in both of your lives is much bigger than you could ever imagine.
Simply say what you have to say, do whatever God puts in your heart, and don’t underestimate how far small acts of kindness, compassion, and love can go in someone’s life.
Just as Michael Orr had no idea what impact joining a new family would have on his life, you have no idea the impact it will have when you join the family of God!
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name… John 1:12