A Life.Church pastor has warned that the devil will often remind Christians of their past failures and insecurities to stop them from being used for God's purpose.
Pastor Sam Marin of the Edmund, Oklahoma, campus of Craig Groeschel's mutli-site megachurch preached a sermon earlier this month titled, "Facing Your Insecurities." He spoke of how many Christians struggle with self-doubt when it comes to their knowledge of the Bible, their ability to lead a small group or their ability to pray aloud.
Marin said other Christians doubt themselves because they have a sinful past or struggle with sin in their lives. And some, he added, are insecure because they were hurt by others or inflicted harm on others in different ways in their past.
But he assured: “God knew exactly what he was doing when He made you.”
Marin told the audience to practice "self-love" by hugging themselves and saying to themselves, “I love you. You're amazing. You're doing great. I'm so proud of you. You’re the best and I love you.”
“Now, some of you, that felt good, right?” Marin said. “But, for some of you, that was actually hard to say, let alone believe.”
Marin turned to Ephesians 2:10, a verse written by the Apostle Paul, who tells the followers of Jesus that “we are God’s handiwork” or "masterpiece."
“We are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago,” Marin preached. "So, what are you? You're God's masterpiece, you're God's workmanship."
Marin said that the word “masterpiece” came from the Greek word “poiema,” which means “a creation with a designated purpose.”
“This is where we get our word ‘poetry’ from. So what are you? You're God's poetic statement. You're beautiful. You're valuable. You’re custom-designed, like a good tailored suit. You’re custom fit for what God created you to do,” Marin proclaimed.
“He created you with a purpose. God gave you the right personality, the right mindset. He gave you the right preferences, and He gave you the right things in your life to do the work that He wants you to do."
When the devil tells a Christian that God cannot use them because they are "a mess," Marin said believers need to shout back, saying, “I was a mess. But, now I'm God's masterpiece.”
“Whenever God calls you, the devil is going to try to stop you," Marin warned. "You see, one of the greatest tools that the enemy uses is to attack your self-worth. He's going to tell you, ‘Who do you think you are? You're not ready. You don't belong here. You're not good enough.'"
“Think about it. If God didn’t want to use you, the devil wouldn't be trying so hard to stop you. He wants to use you,” he continued, receiving applause in response.
During the sermon, Marin opened up about his past struggle with a “secret” pornography addiction from age 12 to 30, which he said “ate away” at him for many years.
Marin admitted that even though he has been free from his porn addiction for more than 12 years, there are still times when he is tempted.
Because he struggled with temptation, dropped out of college and never attended seminary, Marin said, he experiences feelings of insecurity about his pastoral role among other church leaders, who he often views as "a lot more accomplished" than himself.
“I get the privilege of sitting and just being around some really incredible men of God. And there are many times where I'm sitting there, and I'm thinking: ‘how the heck am I sitting here?’ And when I think about my life, and I think about my past and all the things that I've done, it just kind of breeds that insecurity,” Marin said.
Marin has coped despite the internal struggles by reminding himself that no person is perfect.
“[Many times], I may not feel like I can sit next to godly men. And then, I remember there isn't nobody that godly. We all messed up. We all have our faults and failures,’” Marin said.
“And yet God called me, and because of God's favor and His grace, I can stand on a stage and deliver a message that says: if God can use someone like me with my inadequacies, with my insecurities; if He can use me, He can absolutely use you. He wants to use you."
God will most often use “the unlikely" to do the "impossible," according to Marin.
“Jacob, he was a cheater. Moses was a murderer. David had an affair. Jonah ran from God. Elijah was depressed; God used him too. Miriam was a gossiper," he explained. "Time after time, you look at scriptures, people failed God and yet God chose to use them."
Even without great confidence, Marin said that it is possible for a Christian to still serve in God’s Church because “serving God is not meant to be done alone.”
Marin spoke to those who have "been just sitting in the background, sitting in the back, watching others having an incredible time.
"And it's time to get up," Marin said. “You've been created with talents and gifts to be used in the Church. … Some of them are hidden. ... It's time to get off your seat."
“Here’s what I need you to understand. There is a need in the church that needs to be filled by you. You got to pick up your instrument and you got to join the band, baby."
Marin urged churchgoers to "get plugged in and start using your dance," adding that "some of you ... got great talents."
"You're great with kids … or maybe you're great with numbers and data, or maybe you're great with technology and you're not using your gifts,” he concluded.
"If you're not serving, there's something in the church that's not being done."