Have you wanted to be someone else? As children, we all probably wished we were someone else. A very common fantasy of children is pretending to be their hero or superstar.

As an adult, have you ever wanted to be someone else? Some of us would say, "No, I have never wanted to be anyone but me." Some of us would say, "Yes, I would like to be someone else every day of my life." To those of us who say, "No, I have always wanted to be me," have you ever wanted to swap places with someone else? That is wanting to be "me" in his or her circumstances. That is awfully close to wanting to be someone else.

As a Christian, have you ever wanted to be someone else? Have you ever thought, "Spiritually, my life would be a lot simpler if I could change places with him (or her). Have you ever thought, "I could do what I want to do for the Lord if I had her (or his) life!"

Perhaps more often than we realize we say to ourselves, "If I had her money...," or, "If I had his voice...," or, "If I had her talent...," or, "If I had his education...," or, "If I had her opportunities...," or, "If I had his leadership ability...," or, "If I had her background...," or, "If I had his speaking ability then I could do something truly significant for God."

Let me ask the same question in several different ways. What is the most important thing a person can do for God? What is the most significant thing a person can do for God? What is the most valuable thing a person can do for God?

The most important thing you can do for God is to let God reveal His glory through your life. The most significant thing you can do for God is to let God reveal His glory through your life. The most valuable thing you can do for God is to let God reveal His glory through your life.

Nothing we can do brings greater tribute to God, nothing more fully accomplishes God's purposes than our allowing God to reveal His glory through our lives.

  1. Unfortunately, most of us believe we have to be something we can never be before God can be glorified in our lives.
    1. We just do not believe that the life we have, that the abilities we possess, that the life situation we are in can be used by God to bring glory to Himself.
      1. If we were a person that it is impossible for us to be,
      2. If we could do things that it is impossible for us to do,
      3. If we had opportunities that will never exist for us,
      4. Then, if we were that other person, doing those impossible things, and having those impossible opportunities, God could use us to glorify Himself.
      5. But God cannot glorify Himself in us if we are who we are, with our situation, with our struggles, with our problems--or so we believe.
    2. About 2000 years ago some Christians came to that same conclusion.
      1. Listen to what Paul said to them in 1 Corinthians 7:17-24 (read).
      2. If I understand that situation correctly, this was what happened.
        1. Some converted Jews said, "If I had not been born and reared as a Jew, I could really serve Christ--I would not be steeped in all these legalistic, isolationist attitudes and perspectives that hinder me spiritually."
        2. Some converted non-Jews said, "If I had not been born and reared in a family of idol worshipers, I could really serve Christ--but I don't know anything about scripture; I don't even know much about the true God."
        3. Some converted slaves said, "If I were not a slave, I could really serve Christ--but I am not free, and so many things happen in my life that I have no control over."
      3. Paul said, "Your thinking is completely misdirected--you miss the point."
        1. "You can be the Christian God wants you to be just by being who you are where you are."
        2. "You do not have to change life situations to be able to accomplish God's purposes in your life."
        3. "Allowing Christ to live in you in your life situation and circumstances is precisely what God wants to happen."
    3. What Paul said and the New Testament repeatedly affirms is a message we need to shout in Fort Smith.
      1. Too long we deliberately have created the impression that God's glory can be revealed only by one particular type of life and distinctive kind of person.
      2. That impression is this: "God can be glorified only by:
        1. "The person who establishes a Christian family and maintains a Christian home.
        2. "The person who has no struggles, has no 'serious' personal problems.
        3. "The person who always makes the right decision and does the right thing.
        4. "The person who never had a moral problem.
        5. "The person who never had an addiction problem--greed, alcohol, or drugs.
        6. "The person who never had any financial problems.
        7. "The person who never made any horrible mistakes.
        8. "The person who was 'good' before baptism and remained 'good' after baptism."
          1. He did not need to repent of anything serious.
          2. He just need to keep doing what he was doing and living like he was living.
      3. When we affirm that this is the only person who can reveal God's glory, we automatically affirm these things.
        1. We affirm that if you are not married you cannot glorify God as well as the Christian who is married.
        2. We affirm that if your marriage failed, you cannot fully glorify God.
        3. We affirm that if you experienced moral problems, you cannot glorify God fully.
        4. We affirm that if you struggle with any kind of addiction, you cannot glorify God.
        5. We affirm that if you made bad decisions and choices, if you made serious mistakes, if you struggle with serious problems, then God is limited in the way He can use your life to bring Him glory.
        6. God just cannot be truly glorified in lives like those.
      4. Just who declared that? Is that God speaking, or that us speaking?

  2. If you have been a Christian for ten years, and if you are a serious student of the Bible--you regularly study the Bible to understand and learn: and aside from Jesus Christ, there is one person who has spiritually influenced your life more powerfully than anyone else.
    1. This person who influences your life so powerfully was:
      1. A man of violence (Acts 8:3).
      2. An aggressive intimidator who used fear to destroy Christians (Acts 26:11).
      3. A man who called Jesus a liar and impostor who was anything but God's son (Acts 26:9,10).
      4. He physically abused Christians and treated them with total contempt (Acts 9:1, 2).
    2. When this man became a Christian, he had the visible appearance and personal presence of a weak man (2 Corinthians 10:10).
      1. He struggled with a problem that prevented him from serving Christ as effectively as he wanted to (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).
      2. And there is considerable evidence that a number of Christians had no respect for him (1 Corinthians 4:9-13).
    3. Yet, most Christians today see God's glory shining through this man's life.
      1. It is probable that he influences your spiritual thinking and your Christian concepts as much as Jesus Christ.
      2. Unfortunately, when we affirm spiritual truth and declare Christian doctrine, many Christians are more likely to quote this man than our Savior, Jesus.
    4. And just who is this man? In the New Testament, he is the apostle Paul.
      1. And what did Paul say about himself as a Christian?
      2. Read with me 1 Timothy 1:12-17.
      3. Did God use Paul's life to reveal God's glory? Yes.
        1. You mean that God revealed His glory through this aggressive, strong-headed, driven, unmarried man?
        2. You mean that God revealed His glory through this man who once helped kill Christians, who once declared Jesus was an impostor and liar, and who once used violence to enforce his religious views?
        3. You mean that God revealed His glory through this man who, as a Christian, was held in contempt by the Jews, who was declared weak and ineffective by some Christians, and who was a target for persecution most places that he went?
        4. You mean that God revealed His glory through this man who spent a lot of time in jail or prison, who was run out of town more than once, and who was executed as a dangerous criminal?
      4. And what did this Paul say about himself?
        1. "God was making a statement through me."
        2. "God said that He sent Jesus to save sinners--any sinner of any kind."
        3. "When God saved me, he saved the worst sinner that ever existed."
        4. "He saved me to declare to all sinners that if God could save me in Jesus Christ, God can save anyone."
        5. "I am the proof of the perfect patience of Jesus."
        6. "I am the example of God's power to forgive anyone who dares place his or her faith in Jesus Christ."

  3. God makes a statement in the life of every man and woman who places faith and life in Jesus Christ--no matter who he or she is, no matter what he or she has done.
    1. When God makes this statement, God uses the person to reveal His glory.
      1. Every time a person repents, God is revealing His glory through that person.
      2. Every time a person fails, then reaches out to clasp God's hand, God is revealing His glory through that person.
      3. Every time a person lives a life of struggle and hardship in Jesus Christ, God is revealing His glory through that person.
      4. Every time a person burdened with a weakness is sustained by God, God is revealing His glory through that person.
    2. That is not my speculation; that is believing and affirming what the Bible says.
      1. Peter cursed and swore, saying that he never knew Jesus, and God used that to reveal His glory (Matthew 26:69-75).
      2. Jesus struggled in Gethsemane, praying until he sweated, sweating as though he were bleeding, and God used that to reveal His glory (Luke 22:44).
      3. A thief begged for consideration as he died at Jesus' side, and God used that to reveal His glory (Luke 23:39-43).
      4. Paul, the man of violence, the blasphemer, repented, and God used that to reveal His glory (1 Timothy 1:12-17).
      5. Barnabas with generous and kind heart sold his property and gave the money to help Christians in need, and God used that to reveal His glory (Acts 4:32-37).
      6. Dorcas made clothing for people who had none, and God used that to reveal His glory (Acts 9:36-43).
    3. If you place your faith in Christ and hold to God's hand, if you from the heart repent of the evil that trips you up every time that evil trips you, and if you draw your life and strength from the goodness and forgiveness of God, God will use you and your life to reveal His glory.
      1. If I am single? Yes.
      2. If I am a single parent? Yes.
      3. If I am divorced? Yes.
      4. If I am in a troubled marriage? Yes.
      5. If I am really struggling? Yes.
      6. If I have made some really dumb moral mistakes? Yes.
      7. If I have a good life, a good home, and few problems? Yes--as long as you place your faith in Christ instead of yourself.
    4. Luke 8:26-39 tells us that Jesus once met a man who was a demon-possessed maniac.
      1. He was violent and uncontrollable as he terrorized the whole area running around naked, screaming--his strength was incredible, and no one dared get close to him!
      2. Jesus cast a multitude of demons out of this man and permitted the demons to enter a herd of pigs on the hillside by the sea.
        1. The pigs immediately stampeded into the sea and drowned.
      3. Everyone came from town to see what happened.
        1. They saw two things.
        2. A herd of dead pigs floating in the sea.
        3. The former maniac sitting quietly at Jesus' feet, clothed, in his right mind.
      4. And all those people were afraid and asked Jesus to leave their area.
      5. The man wanted to leave with Jesus so badly that he begged, "Please, let me go with you."
        1. Can you imagine how embarrassing it would be for him to continue to live in that place?
        2. Can you imagine how grateful he was?
        3. Can you imagine how much he wanted to be with Jesus?
      6. But listen to what Jesus said: "Return to your house and describe what great things God has done for you."
      7. Or, "Let God reveal His glory through you right here."

It takes a whole world filled with every kind of people in every kind of situation to reveal God's glory.

Do you have a great marriage? A wonderful home? A spiritual life of opportunity? Let God use you to reveal His glory.

Are you struggling? Weak? Do you have problems bigger than you are? Have you made enormous mistakes? Let God use you to reveal His glory.

Are you single? A single parent? Divorced? In a troubled marriage? Let God use you to reveal His glory.

Your ability to glorify God is not based on what you can do to help God, but on what God can do to help you.

Through Jesus Christ, God can work in all of us. It will take all of us in all of our situations to reveal what an incredible, glorious God and Savior that we have.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Morning Sermon, 23 March 1997

 Link to next sermon

 Link to other Writings of David Chadwell