Flaws And All
By Trina Bresser Matous
The highest-priced pieces of carved jade are those made out of solid colored stones without flaws. Going against the conventional selection process, an unknown artist selected a piece of multicolor jade containing cracks and color blotches to carve an exquisite piece now known as the Jadeite Cabbage. The artist used the cracks as veins in the leaves, the color blotches to enhance insects, and the change in color to produce a beautiful, yet realistic piece of art. Click here for a more detailed view of this wonderful piece.
Many people saw a useless piece of jade, but the artist who created the Jadeite Cabbage saw beyond the flaws to create a piece like no other. Amazingly, God does the same with us. He does not wait until we are able to present our perfect selves to Him. God sees beyond our flaws and chooses to use us as we are to do His kingdom work.
An example of this is Jephthah, whose story can be found in Judges 11-12. Though Jephthah was an illegitimate son and suffered the rejection of his siblings, he became a charismatic leader who rose above his circumstances. Jephthah showed confidence in God as he verbally battled the king of Ammon. The Lord’s spirit rested on Jephthah, indicating God had commissioned and empowered him to lead the people.
But Jephthah had a flaw. He didn’t fully trust in the Lord. In fact, Jephthah thought he could bargain with God. He believed God was like many of the other ancient gods who needed prodding in order to act favorably towards humanity. Jephthah believed he could win God’s favor by offering to sacrifice whatever came out of the door of his house when he returned from battle if God would give him victory over the people of Ammon. Jephthah failed to appreciate God’s character. And he failed to appreciate that God desires our hearts far more than He desires anything we can do for Him.
At the moment vows are made, in the heat of angst and difficulty, they can appear spiritually and logically sound. Yet they often turn out to be foolhardy, with consequences far from what was intended when it comes time to fulfill them. The rashness of Jephthah’s vow became apparent when he returned home. The first person to appear was his daughter—his only daughter.
Scholars have attempted to lessen the consequences of Jephthah’s vow by suggesting Jephthah had an animal sacrifice in mind when he made the vow. Alternatively, others suggest that a human sacrifice wasn’t made, but rather, Jephthah’s daughter spent the remainder of her life as a temple servant and was denied the opportunity to have children. These scenarios are attempts to downplay a repulsive ancient practice that was never intended to be part of God’s plans for His people in the first place.
God Uses People With Flaws
Jephthah is not the only person with flaws God used to do His work. Aaron continued in his role as priest even after he sinned by making the golden calf (Exodus 28.1; 32.1-35; 35:19). Moses was called to lead his people even after murdering an Egyptian (Exodus 2.11-12; 3.1-10). Peter became the rock upon which Jesus built the church even after denying he knew Jesus, not once but three times (Matthew 26.69-75; John 21.15-18).
Satan loves to whisper to us, “If your past were known, you wouldn’t have been asked to lead that Bible study.” “Your sins are so bad, God will never have a use for you.” “That one sin was the biggest mistake of your life and nothing will ever erase it. You are guilty!”
But just like the artist who made the Jadeite Cabbage, God takes the flaws Satan wants to throw in our faces and makes something beautiful out of our lives.
Are you allowing your faults to hold you back from following God? Is God asking you to release your flaws to Him so that He, the Master Creator, can make your life extraordinary?
Leave a comment. We’d love to hear how God is working in you—flaws and all.
Trina has a Masters of Arts in Christian Ministry from Ashland Theological Seminary and is a passionate Bible teacher and writer. For over 20 years, she has shared Biblical truths in compelling and memorable ways as a Bible study leader and a member of the Restorative Prayer Team at her church. Her three week, 2,400 mile trip through Turkey in a rental car visiting historic sites including Istanbul, Ephesus, Cappadocia, Haran and Antioch, as well as two trips to Israel’s holy sites bring reality to Trina’s teaching and writing. Additionally, Trina is an avid birder, loves to cook, travel, work in her garden, and knit, especially lace. She and her husband live in Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan. Click here for more on Trina.
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