Oftentimes in our churches, pastors are confronted with those who have blown it spiritually. These folks feel like “leftovers” or “has-beens.” Sometimes people mess their lives up to the point that they feel useless to God or anyone else.
Many folks get saved young in life and then take the wheel away from God and steer their own life into all kinds of trouble. Eventually they wake up and start to take their Christian life seriously, but they have so many scars from the world—drugs, alcoholism, financial failure, jail-time, adultery, failed marriages, and bad reputations.
The questions come, “What can I do, now?” “Can God still use me?” The answer is yes! There are no leftovers with God. Adam plunged the human race into sin. Moses was a murderer. Jacob was a liar. Samson lusted after heathen women. Rahab was a harlot. Peter denied the Saviour. God used them all.
Realize You Are Sealed by the Holy Spirit
According to Ephesians 1:13 the moment you get saved, the Holy Spirit comes inside to live and seals you until the day of redemption, “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also, after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.”
Because you are saved, you have an Advocate—Jesus Christ! He is your lawyer. You have His help if you want it!
Remember to Keep Cool
This is not the time to “jump off the deep end.” Repent and make things right with God. You must forsake your sins and wait on God. This stops the spread of sin in your life.
Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek. Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation. When my father and mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up. Psalm 27:7–10
Create New Ideas to Serve God
We must realize that although God forgives, certain sins limit what service a person can have. Those who have had DUI convictions, cannot drive a bus. Some people would not be permitted to work with children. These limitations do not give one the right to quit and do nothing for God. We must look for fresh new ways to serve. There are hundreds of ways to serve God!
Early in my ministry my wife and I were shopping and ran into a man who used to be a faithful and vital part of our church before I was the pastor. He had been a deacon and had helped build the church. He and his wife had marriage problems which eventually led to him getting out of church. He had remarried an unsaved woman and ran from God.
On this day, he asked me to come see him in his home. As he left he whispered to me that his wife was not saved and he thought he could get his life back on track if she would get saved. I visited a few days later, and she was gloriously saved. She was so excited as a new Christian that she dragged that man to everything at the church.
That man is so happy today. He is not a deacon. He is not out front leading. He still has the scars of sin, but he is winning souls. He has a contagious smile. He is singing. He helps in ways that he can in the church.
Let us never write off a church member as having too much baggage. Our God is standing ready to help these folks in our churches. As pastors, let us allow God to use us to encourage them to serve Him in some way.