By Al Tucker
In my last reflection, I shared some of my journey of trying to move from a casual to a more intimate relationship with Jesus. Rather than specifying a list of to-do resolutions for 2019, I’ve decided to follow the Apostle Paul’s reminder to the church in Corinth, and that is to try to do everything for the Glory of God. Why, because I want to please God, not man (1 Thessalonians 2:4).
Early in the year, I was fortunate to hear a wonderful sermon on being an instrument of God, and it seemed to be a perfect fit for my 2019 focus. Don’t you love it when the Holy Spirit speaks to you through one of His instruments and inspires you to action? It led me to think and study about being an instrument of God.
First of all, when I think about an instrument, I think of things like a piano, guitar, violin or a beautiful voice. These types of instruments must be fine-tuned for them to be pleasing to the ear. Some instruments like a piano require a specialized technician using specific tools to fine-tune the strings to attain the desired sound quality. The artist often continually adjusts other instruments like guitars or violins when they are being played. Secondly, an instrument that is just sitting there by itself makes no sound, and it pleases no one. It only takes up space. An instrument must be played by someone who knows how to use it to reach its potential. For great musicians, there seems to be a loving partnership between them and their instruments. They exude such joy as they entertain and please their audiences/listeners.
That led me to think about being God’s instrument and how I become finely tuned for His purposes. We each have a purpose that is ours alone, and we have been given gifts and talents to fulfill that purpose. I think I have found mine, one of which I believe is to share my journey with you. If sharing how God saved this sinner and is using the Holy Spirit to help me in my weaknesses (Romans 8:28) to fulfill His purpose helps someone else find the Lord or their calling, I can count it all for joy.
Just knowing one’s gifts is not enough as there are forces that are always trying to get one to conform to this world and turn you away from Christ. I recognize I need to be diligent and commit my mind and body to Jesus as “instruments of righteousness” as Paul writes in Romans 6:13. How do I do that? I believe I must stay in the Word so that I know His will. I am able to do that through my daily devotionals, an active Men’s Bible study, and church attendance. I couple that with prayer without ceasing. My mum taught me to pray as a young child, and I’ve always loved to pray. Unfortunately, as I grew into adulthood, my prayers became too selfish. Since turning from it’s all about “me” prayers, I am amazed at how He answers prayer. I have witnessed miracles that came from the prayers of believers. I now focus on praying for others and for help in doing His will. My selfish stuff I leave to the Holy Spirit, as He knows what I need.
For me, there is one other requirement for being fine-tuned, that is being thankful in everything. How could one be an instrument of God and not have an attitude of gratitude for His endless grace? Some of us know people who can quote Scripture with the best of them, but wearing a gracious, warm, loving demeanor is foreign to them. Paul wrote to the Colossians (2:6-7) that we should “live our lives in Christ…overflowing with thankfulness.” That thankfulness will fine-tune us to better serve and please Him. I am still a work in progress in absorbing that level of gratitude. However, I rejoice that I am growing every day.
Lastly, as I serve God, I pray that I can avoid taking credit for what He does. I am only the vessel being used by Him. Isaiah 10:15 says “Does the ax raise itself above the person who swings it, or the saw boast against the one who uses it…” I am like that ax or saw, as I can do nothing by myself. But, with God, I am finding that all things are possible.
I am sure there are other things that God will reveal in his fine-tuning of me. That is an exciting part of the journey I am on. In the meantime, my priority is to live my life trying to bring Him glory. I don’t want those to be hollow words. I pray I can live a life of Christian integrity according to His will. I put my trust in the Holy Spirit to make me the instrument that God wants me to be, what better hands to be in than the Creator who knows how to attain the finest from His every instrument! Praise the Lord!
Feature images: Backyard Photography, Alan Tucker