I was discussing seminaries the other day with a good friend of mine. At some point during the conversation, a certain theologically liberal seminary was brought up. We discussed it some and noted that some great leaders and pastors have actually come from that school, but it probably was not a wise choice to go there. I then made the comment that, “sometimes people survive and thrive in spite of the seminary or their teaching and not because of it.”
I have made this same observation when it comes to weight lifting. So often people follow lifting programs that are used by genetic freaks that are on thousands of dollars worth of steroids… Sure that program may work for them… but for the 135 pound skinny guy who has never lifted a weight in his life? I think not. Some people achieve great results in spite of their program and not because of it. Just because it worked for someone else does not mean it will work for everyone.
This principle of having results “in spite of” what we do seems to hold true in many arenas… and I think it holds true in the Spiritual realm as well. So often Jesus uses me in spite of me. I say something stupid, do something dumb, and yet the Holy Spirit will use it to produce growth. I don’t give God more than twenty minutes worth of my time that day and then He uses me to affect life change.
Not only does He use me in spite of me… but He also grows me in spite of me.
I do everything wrong in trying to become a better Christ follower… and maybe that’s just it… I keep trying too hard. Yet the Holy Spirit rocks my world despite my poor efforts. He does it in spite of what I do and not because of what I do.
Not only does God use me in spite of me, grow me in spite of me… but He also heals me in spite of me.
God in His magnificent glory showed unlimited grace upon me… in spite of what I had done…
Jesus DIED for me… even though I killed Him.
Jesus continues to do things in spite of me and not because of me.
I think He likes to do it this way best. It shows us that we are weak. It shows that our only choice is to depend on Him. It gives Him all of the glory.
In spite of and not because of…