The Secret to Being Used by God
In Scripture, we see the amazing story being depicted of Jesus turning water into wine. This is recorded as His first miracle. I believe that it represents the call that Jesus is making to every believer. The call to humble ourselves in order to be used by God to fulfill His purpose for us.
When we dive into the story, we see that Jesus was at a wedding with His mother, during which the wine ran out:
On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.”John 2:1-3
Before I break that down, notice the passage found in Matthew 9, where it explains the shortage of workers in God’s field:
Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.Matthew 9:37
Jesus’s mother calling out to Jesus at the wedding, and telling Him that there is a shortage of wine, is a perfect metaphor for what Jesus explains to His disciples in another passage. Just as the mother cried out to Jesus, in the same way, God the Father tells us as His kids, that there is a shortage of laborers. The Father is the Lord of the harvest, who sees that the world is ripe and ready to be saved, but He is asking for people to rise up to fulfill the need.
The response of Jesus to this request from His mother was one that is similar to what we all say:
Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.”John 2:4
“Why does it concern me?”
Maybe you feel similar to how Jesus felt at His mother’s request for “more wine” – “it’s not my problem.” Maybe you feel as though there is someone more fit to preach to the lost than you, or that’s it’s simply not your problem.
It wasn’t Jesus’s problem that the wedding ran out of wine, but it was in His purpose. It might not be your responsibility that there are lost people, but heeding the call, is your purpose. You were born again in Christ with that purpose. Your purpose is not just to keep and maintain your own salvation or warm up the church pews week after week. We were not saved, healed, and delivered so that we could have material things, but rather to please Him who enlisted us as His soldiers. It wasn’t God’s problem that you were once disobedient and lost in sin, but Jesus came down from heaven to save you because it was His purpose.
You weren’t saved to warm up the church pews, you were saved to lead the lost to Christ.
You may feel like praying, fasting, and winning the lost is not for you and that it’s not your problem. But, if we don’t step into our purpose as Christians, there will be a lot of blood on our hands on the Day of Judgment.
A lot of people will be saved because of our ‘yes’ to God, similar to how Jesus’s “yes” saved us. The difference between us and Jesus is that He does the saving, and we do the communicating. A lack of disposition on our end can cause a lot of people to never have the opportunity to encounter Jesus.
Our addiction to the commodity of our life in ministry or school can stifle the true purpose for which we are here. The mission of Jesus Christ should be the most important thing to us because we live with a responsibility to the Lord and were ultimately saved with the purpose of aiding in His plan of reaching the lost with the message of redemption.
The Myth of Being Ready
When we read the passage again, notice what Jesus tells Mary.
…My hour has not yet come.”John 2:4
Even though this was true, Jesus knew it was still His purpose.
Even if you don’t feel as though you’re ready to fulfill a certain task for God, you are still responsible to accomplish God’s will as a believer. Don’t confuse God’s will with God’s time.
It may not be God’s time for you to be fully involved in His commission right now due to maturity or a number of reasons, but it is still God’s will for you. A lot of times when it comes to starting a life group or evangelizing, people say “it is not for me.” But if you are a Christian and disciple – it may not be your time, but it does not mean it is not your responsibility.
Something can still be God’s will, even if it is not His time for you yet. You might be emotionally hurting, just gotten saved, or still going through deliverance. It is not your time to go and disciple others 100%, but you should still earnestly desire it and pursue that direction as you walk with Christ. Don’t ever say – It’s not for me.
Be honest with yourself and say, “I’m hurting” or “I’m burnt out.” Acknowledge if you came from a different church with toxic leadership or had a really bad experience with relationships. But still maintain the vision of the task that’s needing to be accomplished throughout your life, instead of counting yourself out.
Jesus didn’t tell His mother that He wasn’t going to do that, He simply replied that it wasn’t His time yet.
The thing about not being ready is that we never really feel ready. Although Jesus said it was not His time, He still did the miracle! There was a need, and Jesus adjusted His time to the need, the miracle happened, and the wine was served.
You will never really feel ready, but you will become ready as you obey God.
When I was called to preach at 14 years old by my pastor, I was not ready. My pastor did not wait for me to train in a Bible college in order to prepare me for the position. Instead, I got ready by preaching. By age 16, I became a youth pastor, but I didn’t even want to be one. But at the time because there was no other person available to fill the role, I decided to meet the need at hand.
The need can change God’s time. You will not be ready, but that is how you learn. You are never ready for marriage, or to have children, but it still happens. This is not to downplay the need to prepare yourself in the areas you are able to, but to instead correct the belief that you have to be 100% ready, well-versed, or a professional before stepping in to serve God in any capacity.
Sometimes the Lord will use your pastor and leader to identify a need or mission for you to become involved in. As you choose to get involved, God will mature, strengthen, develop, and prepare you for the very thing you went into not being ready for.
Obedience Brings Maturity
God will mature you through your obedience, but the devil will keep you immature through your excuses.
There is a certain level of maturity that you have to possess in your life to go into marriage. The same thing is true for ministry; you need to have the maturity and a solid foundation in Christ, which cannot all be taught at a school or a university; there is maturity in life that is only brought about through our decisions and daily choices.
Don’t wait until you go through seminary training, or until everything in your life is ready before choosing to evangelize or serve God in a certain capacity. The disciples didn’t wait to be properly educated before following Christ, they simply made the decision to follow Him. You cannot steer a parked car. God will mature you through obedience. If He calls you to witness to a friend, you cannot say I have to go through an evangelism class before I can. Instead, obey God, and He will help you and develop you as you decide to go.
I want to challenge those who still believe they are not ready. You are probably more ready than you realize. If you felt the same way about marriage, you probably wouldn’t be married. No one has ever felt prevented from cooking a meal in their home just because they lacked a culinary certificate. In the Kingdom, you don’t need to be a professional to make disciples; you just need to be humble and obedient.
There will always be professionals in ministry just as there are in other spheres of life, but that should never be a hindrance in your obedience to the Lord. Don’t make excuses out of laziness or feelings of inadequacy. If you are obedient to God, He will develop your maturity and gifts to the point where people will think you were professionally trained in ministry.
Obedience is the key.
Grapes Become Wine Through Crushing
On the flip side, if you feel like you are ready for ministry, carefully evaluate if you really are. Many who say they are ready can often be compared to a child who thinks he or she is ready to drive a car, or to a teenager who thinks they are ready for marriage.
Evaluate whether or not it is God’s timing for you to begin that.
In order to be used by God in ministry, Jesus needs to be able to make wine out of you. And often, there are two ways that this can happen:
1. Natural wine
The first way to naturally make wine is to allow the grapes to be crushed and then ferment gradually. In making wine, the process of the grape being crushed is imperative because, without the crushing, it will never become a fine wine.
The grape represents those who (within) have what it takes to become who God called them to be. For example, let’s say by God’s grace, you are naturally gifted with the prophetic, and ability to lead, and innate intelligence. Although natural blessings are good, they can be a major hindrance if you feel as though you deserve a higher position or a certain recognition just because you are more gifted in certain areas than others around you.
There is only one secret to how grapes become wine – the process of crushing.
What is crushing look like?
Crushing is not putting yourself into dangerous or difficult situations.
It is not being abused or letting others violate your will.
Being crushed by God is being broken and submissive before Him. It is when you deny yourself, pray, fast, and ask Him to break your will. It is when you are serving others and putting others before yourself instead of thinking, “I always have to lead.” We don’t only need to come to the cross for forgiveness but we must also receive sanctification from Jesus.
We should not only be coming to Jesus to discover who we are, but also to deny who we are.
When grapes aren’t crushed, they are left out in the sun to become raisins. Gifted people who are not “broken down” or humbled, become raisins instead of wine. They are not used by God the way He wants.
This often leads to frustration towards God because outwardly, it seems as though they have everything that it takes to be used mightily for Him but they are not seeing that come to light. When Christians feel privileged because they are gifted and anointed, there is a good chance that they may be a grape turning into a raisin. These people may feel that their recognition and position in the church do not properly represent their anointing from God. However, instead of evaluating the position we are in, we should be evaluating our character to make sure it is not smaller than the anointing we are actually carrying, and that our integrity is not smaller than our influence.
What Prevents Us From Being Used?
Things that prevent the crushing in a person include lack of time with God, pride, lack of fasting, lack of humility to God, and lack of godly submission to godly authority figures in your life, such as your leaders and pastors. When a person is “crushed” then God sees that He can use them.
If you want God to do something in your life so supernatural that you could never get the glory from such a miracle, you must be broken before Him.
If you are a grape who chooses to go through the crushing, Jesus can take you, who He naturally gifted, and make you into someone used for His glory.
If you are not a grape, you may identify as water, or one who feels as though they don’t have what it takes to be used by God. Perhaps you feel like you don’t have the looks, the eloquence, the personality, or leadership qualities that grapes have. Maybe you feel shy and question how God could ever use you because you can’t pray for the sick or preach. Or perhaps you have been rejected by others and told that you will never be successful because you don’t have what it takes.
The truth is that Jesus is also looking for someone just like you to use for His glory.
Even if you came from a broken family, had a difficult upbringing, had a past filled with mistakes, or feel overshadowed by others, it is you, water, who Jesus looks at.
The first miracle of Jesus was taking water and turning it into something unnaturally possible; He can still turn you into wine. God can take someone, like me, who is painstakingly shy, with no natural abilities to speak, and transform them into a preacher of the Gospel.
The question is not do you have what it takes, the question is, are you willing to do what He says.
There is only one secret to becoming wine – obedience to God.
Do What God Says
His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”John 2:5
Mary told the servants at the wedding to do whatever Jesus said. It’s important to do what He says, even if you feel you are not the right person for the job. Moses stuttered, but God still looked to see if he was going to obey (Exodus 4:10-11).
God will take a person who is not equipped but is willing, and will turn that water into wine. Others will look and wonder how such a supernatural transformation occurred to such an “unqualified” person. And the secret to the supernatural is that when you don’t have what it takes, do whatever He says. Then, God will supernaturally change your personality and endow you with gifts to fulfill the calling He has for you.
Everyone at the wedding wondered at the miracle. But the master of the wedding, who had the knowledge to throw a wedding, was clueless about the miracle (John 2:9). The master would have most likely questioned what Jesus was doing had he known the situation. The servants experienced the miracle with Jesus because they obeyed Jesus without question.
Are you willing to be an obedient servant – regardless of your position in society, your educational degrees, or even in spite of all your past failures?
The question is not are you able, but are you available?
It is not are you a leader, but rather are you willing to labor and be an obedient servant? The question is not do you have what it takes, but do you have the ability to do what He says?
If you do, He will make miracles out of you for His glory.
Jesus had to go through crushing to become the wine and salvation for us. The same principle is true for us as Christians.
If you are a grape, your gift is not enough. The gift will make you popular but will never make you a threat in the kingdom of darkness. Your gift will give you connections and book deals, but it will never intimidate the prince of darkness.
But, when the gift goes through pressure, through fasting, self-denial, and obedience to God, then God will be able to use it powerfully for His glory. Your prayer should be, “I don’t want to be a grape, but wine. Lord, break me!”
Be prepared for God to give you opportunities to deny yourself, and say yes to others. Be ready for your will to be broken and conformed to His.
Break your will the way Mary broke her alabaster box; Break your pride, break your self-will, and break your stubbornness. Let the grape become wine.
If you are water – already crushed and broken, timid and insecure, the Lord wants to use you. Stop focusing on what you can’t do and obey, and He will do wonders. Willingly obey Him and serve Him. He can raise you up as a leader, a disciple, and an influencer for your family and friends. This is not about being famous, but rather about being a fruitful person who God can use mightily in this world, in Jesus’ name.
At the end of the miracle of the water turning into wine, Jesus revealed His glory. Whether we are grapes or water, we should all strive to be people that whom others can see His glory through.
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