Everywhere I go, I am always asked why it is that God chooses to use me. People say: “You were born into a Hindu family, in a place called Bellary which no one has ever heard of. Yet God uses you so powerfully. What’s the secret?
Well, brothers and sisters, I can honestly say that God has no favorites. He never says that one man is very special and another is not. To God, every one is equal. The Bible says that we serve a God who is no respecter of persons.
So if it is true that God loves everybody the same, why are some people used and others not? Why do some see miracles in their ministry and others see nothing?
Let’s get two things crystal clear from the start and make sure we understand them.
Firstly – God has no favorites
Secondly – in the kingdom of God there are no secrets.
In the world many people keep things up their sleeve known as “tricks of the trade”. I always remember a story my mother told me on this subject when I was a little boy. It was about the day a tiger met a cat.
The tiger said to the cat: “You’re so clever. Can you teach me how to be as good a hunter as you?”
“OK,” replied the cat, and the lessons began. The cat put the tiger through his paces until the graduation day finally came. The cat gave the tiger a certificate and told him, “Right, tiger, the course is over. I’ve taught you everything and now you’re an expert in the art of hunting.”
“Thank you,” said the tiger. Then he added with a greedy grin: “You know, cat, all the time you were teaching me, I could only think of one thing. You are so clever and wise, and I kept wondering how tasty your brain must be! So I made up my mind I would find out!” Before he had finished speaking, the tiger pounced. But the cat was too quick for him, and immediately shot up a tree. Unfortunately for the tiger, when he tried to climb the tree too, he found that he couldn’t. The tiger was most put out, and angrily protested: “Now look here, cat, you said you had taught me everything, but you didn’t teach me how to climb trees!”
“You’re right,” replied the cat. “I am wise and intelligent, so I soon got the measure of you. I knew that if I taught you everything, you’d kill me, so I held back that one secret from you.”
But the kingdom of God is not like that; there are no secrets. God wants everyone to understand the entire Word of God. Jesus said in Mark 4:21:
“Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand?”
I want to share with you some thoughts about one quality you need to live your life as a Christian. It can mean the difference between success and failure. Without taking these principles on board, you won’t be able to accomplish anything, either in your Christian life or in your secular life. So if you want success, follow this advice, and I pray that God will make it plain to you and impart it into your life.
The Bible says that God used Moses to bring the Israelites out of Egypt. But for forty years, they roamed in the wilderness. After this time, they came to the river Jordan. However, God told Moses that he could not enter the promised land, only see it from a distance. Moses was to make Joshua the next leader of Israel before he died.
The Bible says Moses laid hands on Joshua and appointed him leader, then Moses died and Joshua took over his leadership role (Joshua was nearly 80 years old at this time). So Joshua surveyed the one million Israelites before him and thought: “If Moses could not lead these people into the promised land, how on earth am I supposed to lead them?” What a fine congregation Joshua had inherited from Moses. One million stubborn, stiff necked people. He must have cried out: “Of God, my master Moses could not lead them, so how can I do it?”
Dear friend, Joshua had a big challenge in front of him. Well, the Christian life is a life of challenges. Whether you like it or not, the moment you give your life to Jesus, you become a soldier of Jesus Christ. If you have given your life to the Lord Jesus Christ, say aloud and boldly: “I am a soldier of the Lord Jesus Christ!”
But what’s the use of that if the soldier does not want to fight? Many Christians don’t want challenges in their life. They just want a nice easy ride. One day a lady came and asked me to pray for her. “What shall I pray for?” I asked, and she replied: “Pray that I will have no problems in my life.” “OK,” O said, laid hands on her and prayed, “God kill her and take her to heaven.” She ducked away from under my hands, startled and angry. She said, “Preacher, I did not ask you to pray that I should die. I don’t want to die. I just don’t want problems!”
I said, “Sister, as long as you live in this world you will have problems. The only place where you won’t have any is heaven. If you don’t want problems, then heaven is the only place for you. The Christian life is a life of challenges.”
So Joshua had a real challenge before him. He was confused.
But every time a child of God stands at crossroads, he can expect God to speak to him, and God spoke to Joshua in Joshua 1:9:
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go”.
Now when God says: “I command you”, it means you must listen carefully. You have no option, you have to do it!
What was the command God gave? “Be strong and of good courage!” Courage! What a powerful word!
Courage is the most important characteristic of a Christian. Without courage in your life, you can do nothing. You cannot have a ministry and serve the Lord without courage. You cannot advance in your job without courage. You cannot succeed in your education without courage. If there is one quality I want you to go after in my life, it is courage!
God is saying to us today: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage.” Just like He urged Joshua, God is encouraging us to be of good courage.
There’s something else that creeps into our lives all too often, which has exactly the opposite effect. It is discouragement.
Many people say: “God gives discouragement to teach us lessons and every child of God will go through discouragement. This discouragement is the cross that we have to carry.” But I like to ask those people whether they believe God will ever break His own commandment? They will probably agree that the answer has to be “NO”. When God commands us to be of good courage then how will He give discouragement?
How many of us have been discouraged and have not felt like reading the Bible and praying and worshipping the Lord? Will the Lord ever tell you not to read His Word? Will He ever tell you not to pray? So who is the source of discouragement – God or the devil? There is no doubt in my mind that it is the devil. Our God is a God of courage, and He is the one who encourages us. Discouragement is the greatest weapon of the devil.
Once I heard a story of a day when satan put all his weapons on display, and everyone went to see the exhibition. All the weapons were polished and on show in glass cases. The sign over one glass read “Smoking” and the price on the polished weapon was Rs. 10,000. In the case marked “Alcohol” the price was Rs.50,000. Another weapon, marked “Adultery”, has been polished and was on show in a glass case priced Rs. 1,00,000.
There were all kinds of weapons. The most expensive one in the entire display was priced at Rs. 1 million but in a corner was one rusty old weapon, covered in dust and not kept in a glass case, and the price of that weapon was Rs. 10 million. The people went over to satan and asked him why the weapon in the corner hadn’t been polished and was not in a glass case, yet was priced at Rs. 10 million.
Satan said, “Read the name on the weapon” and the people saw that it was labeled “Discouragement”.
Satan said: “You seem, christians are very intelligent. When I take the weapon of smoking to them they know it is from me and will not allow it in their lives. If I take alcohol, the same thing happends. It’s just the same if I take adultery or prostitution. They know it is from me and won’t have it.
“But when I take discouragement, they do not recognize it as one of my weapons. They think it is from God. And they allow it into their lives.” How true it is in the Christian life.
All that the devil needs in a christian is an entrance into his life. Once he’s in, he can use all the other weapons freely.
Note this, dear friend. Discouragement is a weapon of the devil. By now you may be saying: “So, brother Rambabu, what happens I don’t obey this command of God?” Well, you sin. If God tells us to do something and we don’t do it, that’s sin. If God tells us to do something and we don’t do it, that’s sin. When God tells us not to do something and we do it, that is also sin. For example, Jesus said, “Don’t worry about tomorrow.” But still we agonize over what is going to happen ten years from now.
I once went to see a friend, whose wife had just had a beautiful baby girl. I said “What a lovely baby!” My friend’s wife smiled and suddenly became serious. I asked what was wrong, and she said: “You know these days, education has become so expensive and schools everywhere demand donations. And then I have to get her married and pay her dowry. Where am I going to get the dowry from?” Do you know how old the baby was? Two Days!! Holding a two-day-old baby in her arms , my friend’s wife was already worrying about the child’s school, donations for education, marriage and a dowry! Jesus said, “Don’t worry about tomorrow.”
I have an aunt in Karnataka, India. She worries and worries all the time; in fact, I would go so far as to call her a professional worrier. She always has what I call a “six-o-clock face” – long and straight, with no smile. Even if somebody tells a joke, she remains expressionless.
Some Christians don’t know how to laugh. If a preacher uses humor in his preaching, they say: “What kind of a preacher is this, making people laugh?” So this aunt of mine is a serious, six-o-clock faced Christian. Whenever I meet her she has a whole catalogue of worries to talk about.
One day I greeted her with a: “Praise the Lord!” And to my surprise, she excitedly replied, “Praise the Lord, Rambabu!: Seeing my face, she added: “I’m not worried about anything today!” I said: “Hallelujah!” Then all of a sudden she became serious again. “What’s wrong now, aunt?” I asked her. She replied: “Rambabu, every day I’ve had something worrying me, but today I haven’t. Now I’m worried about why I don’t have anything to worry about!”
To these professional worriers, Jesus said, “Don’t worry about tomorrow.” He meant just that: “Don’t worry about tomorrow!” If we go against what Jesus said and still worry, it is a sin.
You may ask me: “Brother Rambabu, do you mean to say that every time I get discouraged I am breaking the commandment? Do you mean to say that every time I allow discouragement, I sin?” My answer to both questions is: “Yes.”
You kmay feel that God is not fair. We find ourselves faced with huge problems in life that make us discouraged. How can God expect us always to be cheerful? The Bible says in 1 John 5:3:
“For this is the love of God that his commandments are not burdensome.”
When God commands you to do something, He does so because He knows that you can do it. Now why did God command us to be strong and of good courage? Because … “The Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
If the Lord my God is with me wherever I go, then how can I get discouraged? Wherever I go, I go in the knowledge that my God is with me, and that thought – that the great God, the Almighty – is dwelling in me, makes my chest swell with courage.
This one truth has taken me from nation to nation, continent to continent, winning nations for the Lord Jesus Christ.