The two “I”s critical to Ministry

Have you ever tried to work for God and felt like you weren’t getting very far? Not that it was God’s fault really, you just kept noticing how inadequate you are.

I find myself taking account of myself and my service to God a lot. Too much.

But, I don’t think that’s really what God had in mind when He called us into relationship with Him. I believe that serving and sharing the hope that we have with others was meant to spring from the heart. Yet, at the same time, it is often these very opportunities to do “God’s work” that make us most aware of how devoid our hearts are of love and holiness.

But with God as the One Who has called us into a work of His holiness — that has been going on since before we came on the scene — we must conclude that these realizations of our weakness were deliberately provided for us by God Himself. For, isn’t our usefulness in our humility, our Spirit-dominated predisposition to see Him and His glory before our own?

If working for God produced any other, more self-exalting consciousness in us, would it not surely become a false mission that would live according to us, while still boasting movement for Him?

The more God moves me ahead in the work He has provided for me to do in Him, the more crucial that last phrase “in Him” becomes. I am doing a work that I can’t lead, for results that I can’t produce. Where is there room in this activity for anything but faith?

Faith enables me to come to know God in such a way that His ways are known and enacted in me to the advancement of His pleasure.

Faith reminds me that the whole scheme of my life and legacy is no longer wholly contingent on me because Jesus Christ already did the very best thing that could be boasted of in these areas.

He took the crown for accomplishments and heroism with such a flare of substance and transcendence that I cannot compete. Rather, I die so that He might live. There is no longer any such thing as what I do, but what He does in and through me. I wait on Him, I delight in Him, and I desire above all things that He would so satisfy my soul — as I hold it up to Him — that others would be drawn to the One Who wells up within me. That is ministry.

Real is just too far away from fake

Do any of us truly know how to be real? Real as in who we are, able to stand for what we believe is absolutely true, willing to die to compulsion to blend in with others at all costs?

I think it is possible to be like this, think like this, live like this, and — incredibly — inspire others to also stand for something too. But, I think it is something very few of us have the vision or encouragement to do so.
I think we could be strong, we could stand up and stand out, and set our wills to be true to something that is head-and-shoulders-above our peers. But, first you must ask yourself the question, What do I believe?

Considering what you believe is imperative deciding what you will live for and who you will become. Perhaps you find that what you believe is not something you want to build you life upon — whether there are not enough absolutes that you are depending on or they are not consistent with the kind of life you want to lead.

It is also possible that you are just fine with your life and how it mirrors the world you live in, or the culture you’re apart of — even if this is the case, I would encourage you to evaluate lifestyle thesis, objectively assessing its positive and negative implications for yourself and the world around you. This is a useful exercise, if for no other reason than that you may more thoroughly identify your niche in this way of life — how you can most positively affect the people around you, and grow yourself according to the principles you have chosen.

Evaluating these things can be a little scary at first. I say this because confronting the truth will naturally put us all on edge to a certain degree, but searching for the truth will also prove to be the most liberating experience of you life — provided you’re willing to forsake whatever lies the truth presents to you.

It is no coincidence that the phrase “the truth shall set you free” continues to be repeated to this day. We live in a world that makes it’s living on lies, yet what it doesn’t advertise is that it must take us down to accomplish success.

Our beings were meant to live according to unchanging and uncompromising truth. Lies and incomplete truths are to us what dust and dirt are to an air filter. Both are a natural part of life, yet they are substances that must be looked out for and removed in order to prevent them from blocking air from flowing through and damaging the filter itself. Lies, just like dirt and dust may seem harmless in certain lights, but if we study the effect it has on us our minds and bodies we will recognize the damage it is capable of in its subtlety.

Now, lets get back to our evaluations. What have you come up with? Have you located the lies that are compromising you from being real?

If not, may I suggest consulting an authority on the truth that you might become equipped in spotting any divergence when it comes across your path or arises in your consciousness?

Before you can begin any significant proofing, you need to choose what you will submit to as your authority. To protest such an idea is to display an ignorance of the nature of our behaviors: they are all the result of submission to some set of ideas. The good news is that we get to choose the set of ideas to which we will submit ourselves.

Now, at first it will appear that you have a baffling range of choices, but in the course of any lengthy investigation you will discover that they can all be boiled down to two basic premises.

The first, life is all about us; our troubles on this earth are subject to our potential to readjust our course and arrive at success and paradise — however we may agree to define it.

The second, couldn’t be more different:Life is all about God; our troubles are the direct result of our sin and rebellion against God and the penalty they bring; our only hope to be delivered from the wrath that we deserve from our enemy God is in believing that His Son came to us according to God’s will to take our penalty for us, die in our place, rise again and declare us set right with His Father forever.

In light of the comparison we have just drawn, we either define who we are by a second-hand definition handed down to us from something a world that itself must be defined by something greater, or we are defined in all our states by Someone who defines and refines us.

Now, I’ll admit that the definition the world offers us is certainly more flattering to our ego than God’s definition, but we must ask ourselves again at this point, am I going to live by the truth or a lie?

The misconception here is that if we are not flattered we cannot live an abundant and satisfying life. When, in actuality, we cannot live in harmony unless we at first live in the light of truth.

And the good news here is that the truth doesn’t go bad on us because it doesn’t end with us. It’s objective, instead, is to point us ahead to God. When we know what is real about God, we realize that we are in the midst of a story that we have had no idea was going on; a story that tells us about God’s determined pursuit of us. He ran after us, to clear our record with His blood and adopt us into the family that we belong.

If this isn’t the closest thing we can have of being real, then I don’t know what is!