Blood, guts, and the glory of God.
I just finished a study of the Old Testament book of Judges. I was reminded of how incredible this book is. I was especially struck by the grace of God that’s present in a book notorious for it’s raw violence and gruesome detail. Some read the book–or other portions of Scripture–and get turned off by the bloodshed, the brutality, and the sinfulness the central characters. Yet, it is precisely the blood and the guts and the messiness of the main characters that make this book, and all of scripture, so beautiful. Judges is a great reminder that God grabs us and uses us in this world as we are. He interrupts our lives and uses us in the context of our sinful ignorant selves and the broken, crazy world around us and uses it all, often just as it is, to bring about His will and give Himself glory.
In Judges we see him acting and working in the ancient, brutal context of war and destruction to show his power; working through the doubts of Gideon, the lust and arrogance of Samson, and the ignorance of Barak. In the same way, God is living and working in your life, in your context, now–as you are and as it is. His goal is to work through us despite our sinful habits, our mundane circumstances, and our imperfect means to do his holy and perfect work. That’s a God of grace. A God who takes you as you are and uses you, forgives you, wrestles with you and all the while uses you for his glory.
We miss out in our lives when we wrongly believe that we first have to get our act together before we can be used in the mission of God through Jesus Christ. Now don’t get me wrong, sanctification needs to happen. Change needs to occur–sure–and God, through the power of the Holy Spirit and preaching of the Word will accomplish that in you. But you don’t have to have it all happening before God will begin to work. Not at all.
Read the book of Judges. The blood and guts, the messiness of the main characters, is a big part of what makes the story so incredible. Yours included.