Can God use me?
I feel like I’ve asked myself this question a million times. Am I worthy? Can I be used?
And I’d be willing to bet that many of us have.
Even within the Christian culture, sometimes we can be made to feel like we have nothing to offer, like we’ve sinned too much to actually contribute not only to the ministry efforts of our local church but even to the greater missional work of the body of Christ.
Maybe it’s just me who’s felt that way. Either way, it’s a life-sucking thought. It drains you of motivation and inspiration. Anything you thought you had before slowly seeps away until there’s nothing but just your thoughts of your perceived or real inadequacy.
In those moments, I hope you remember that God used a prostitute.
When we speak of Rahab today, we refer to her as a “harlot,” or, in the most “relevant” and blunt of Christian settings, a “whore.” She was a prostitute. We meet her in Joshua 2:1-7.
And Joshua the son of Nun sent two men secretly from Shittim as spies, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” And they went and came into the house of a prostitute whose name was Rahab and lodged there. And it was told to the king of Jericho, “Behold, men of Israel have come here tonight to search out the land.” Then the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying, “Bring out the men who have come to you, who entered your house, for they have come to search out all the land.” But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. And she said, “True, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. And when the gate was about to be closed at dark, the men went out. I do not know where the men went. Pursue them quickly, for you will overtake them.” But she had brought them up to the roof and hid them with the stalks of flax that she had laid in order on the roof. So the men pursued after them on the way to the Jordan as far as the fords. And the gate was shut as soon as the pursuers had gone out.
A few things to note about the situation here: Rahab is a prostitute. She lied to authority. Not exactly the most “Christian” woman we can think of or would point out.
If we were to see a modern-day Rahab, who was a prostitute by profession and lied to authority, we might question the validity of her faith, even if she said things like this (v. 8-13):
Before the men lay down, she came up to them on the roof and said to the men, “I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you. For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you devoted to destruction. And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the LORD your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath. Now then, please swear to me by the LORD that, as I have dealt kindly with you, you also will deal kindly with my father’s house, and give me a sure sign that you will save alive my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.”
She acknowledges the “God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath.” She calls Him “the LORD.” And she acts in obedience. She walks by faith. She’s credited in Hebrews 11:31 as a woman of faith: “By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.”
God used a prostitute to accomplish His purposes, but it wasn’t just a use-and-leave situation. She was obedient and faithful, and she is praised in Scripture. This is the grace of the Gospel, that God can use someone who was in a profession that today we would consider, right or wrong, among the most sinful to work out His plan.
So if you’re addicted to pornography, have a gambling problem, smoke marijuana illegally twice a day, sell your body for sex, cheat on your taxes, yell at your spouse every day, whatever your deal is, you are not beyond being used by God. And you don’t have to change completely before being faithful. All you’ve got to do is make one little decision at a time. I’m not condoning what you do, but it doesn’t have to hold you back from being faithful and being used by God.
We have no evidence that Rahab was completely changed and ditched prostitution before she was faithful and obedient. And we have no evidence that she quit prostitution afterwards. We just know that she was faithful where she was and was rewarded for it with eternal life and a place in the “hall of faith” in Hebrews 11.
I hope and pray that you begin to defeat the sin in your life, but you don’t have to have it fully defeated before you can be used by God in great ways.