We all want to be used by God—to be part of His kingdom purpose. We hear sermons, read articles and collect books about identity and finding God’s will for our lives. But what if being used by God is far simpler than we think?
In the books of 1 and 2 Samuel, we see two men: one used by God and one who squandered his potential. These two men are David and Saul. You’re probably quite familiar with David’s story, and maybe only know Saul’s in bits and pieces—the parts of his life that crossed over with David’s. But Saul was king before David ever was. He was God’s initial choice to lead Israel, and he had a lot of potential to be used by God. But he messed it up.
There was a fundamental difference between Saul and David that led them to live the way they did. David had a heart fixed on the right things, the things God wants to see before He uses us. David wasn’t perfect, and we aren’t, either! But his heart was God’s—and Saul’s wasn’t. Following are three essential pieces for being used by God as learned from Saul and David’s stories.
1. Fear God, Not Man
Saul’s greatest flaw? He cared far too much about what people thought. From the very beginning, he placed priority on the opinions of man instead of the opinion of God.
In the Bible, the phrase “fear God” means to revere Him. It’s not about being terrified of who God is, but about placing Him as our top priority. This is what David did, and God used him mightily! But because Saul was obsessed with what people thought—afraid of their negative opinion or pursuing their applause—he was only good for temporal accomplishments. Nothing he did lasted, and his whole reign was taken from him and given to David.
If you want to be used by God, don’t base your life on the opinions of people.
2. Walk in Obedience
David lived a life that, for the most part, was characterized by obedience. He asked God for wisdom and direction—and then acted on it. Saul only occasionally asked God for wisdom, usually as a last resort after nothing was working. We see at the end of 1 Samuel that God stopped answering Saul. He had acted one too many times without God’s direction and wasn’t really seeking Him with his heart.
Obedience is a lifestyle, not just a one-time event. And obedience is more important to God than any outward action of devotion. No amount of churchgoing or Bible reading matters if you aren’t willing to follow what God has called you to do.
Being used by God happens when you live a life characterized by obedience.
3. Walk by the Spirit
If you want to see David’s relationship with the Lord, just read the Psalms! He was in continual conversation with and worshipped the Lord. He lived by God’s Spirit. In the Old Testament, followers of God did not have the spirit of God residing in them; they sought God through the law He gave them. Today, we have the Spirit of God dwelling within us, guiding and helping us to follow Him.
To be used by God, you have to be in constant communication WITH God. You must walk by the Spirit! That means listening as much as talking; waiting for His answer to take action; consulting Him before making decisions. As you walk by the Spirit you will know when God is calling you to something—and you can be effectively used by Him.