Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Life Of Faith Has All The Makings For Ministry

We often think of a ministry belonging to pastors or missionaries. If we walk in faith and are believers, friends, we have a ministry. Our ministry is our family, our friends, our local community, our place of employment,  and those we meet daily. Yes, our ministry reaches all those who walk in our path. Ministry is reaching out to others in love. As we minister to those around us we share the love of Christ through our actions and we share the gospel through our words. Through ministry we accomplish the calling Christ has given each of us. Through our ministry we use the gifts He has bestowed upon us to bring praise and glory to His holy name. Knowing our calling, using our gifts, we can reach the world together.

Are you a momma who stays home with your children? There is your ministry. Do you also work outside the home from 9-5? Those you encounter at work are part of your ministry. Are you a school teacher? A farmer? A grandparent? Our ministry begins right at home with our family and from there it grows to everyone we meet along the journey. God has a way of placing people in our path with purpose. Don't you know He is always planning ahead to give room for blessings to flow. All He needs is a vessel. That vessel is you and me.

Remember, ministry isn't about numbers. It's who the Lord has placed in our path at the moment. Ministry is about sharing the love of Jesus. It's about reaching out and sharing the gospel. Ministry is serving others with the passion of Christ. Ministry is meeting people where the are and pointing them to Jesus. Ministry leaves behind a legacy of love. We may not even know the depths of our ministry until we reach heaven.

I think of the life of Paul. He ministered to thousands and he is still ministering to thousands as we read God's Word and understand the life of Paul. He held himself to a high calling of God. He didn't measure himself to any other. He measured himself to the Word of God. He left behind his old life for the new life he found in Christ.

In studying 2 Corinthians today I came across chapter 6. Paul has written to the church at Corinth. He opens up and shares with them just how their walk should look. People should be able to see that they are different. They are set apart from the world in which they live. People know they are different by their actions. Their lives tell of the precious grace of God. He shares the example of character traits we are have. By their walk it should be clear that they belong to Jesus and that Jesus is their everything.

"We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed. but in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings; by purity, by knowledge, by long suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things." 2 Corinthians 6:3-10

That pretty much covers it all, don't you think?  In my study this morning I read over these verses many times. It almost looks overwhelming, but not impossible. Isn't it about attitude? A heart condition? Yes, change must begin in the heart. Once the heart is accepting of Christ the body soon follows. In my daily walk with Christ I stumble greatly, but I am reminded of David. Oh, how he stumbled. He too knew the will of God and he knew when he was outside God's will. David had a heart after God. He knew the tender mercies of God and was faithful. We happen to have a God of second changes. More than seconds, but thirds and fourths. Praise Jesus, all we must do is call upon His name and He answers. He is good to show us where we stumble. He wants us to realize the cause of our stumble so we can be on guard. Jesus wants to see us soar!

As faithful servants we are to hold ourselves to a higher standard. Praise Jesus we have a God who doesn't lower His standards. He meets us right where we are and the metamorphosis begins. The closer we are to Christ the more we clearly see His will. We are to live in such a way that the world sees Jesus through us. We are live in such a way that we point others to Christ and Christ alone.

Let us get back to that attitude of ours. We may say, "Gosh, I'm only human". Yes, we are human, but our Savior came to this world in human form and never sinned. He knew no sin. He was perfect in every way. Christ can be perfected through us when we allow the Holy Spirit to live and move in us.

That attitude we have? We can surrender our thoughts to Jesus. Yes, every time a thought comes to mind that shouldn't be there all we must do is surrender that thought to Christ. Remember in Matthew 16:22-23 when Jesus is predicting His death and Peter speaks against the Word Jesus is speaking, "Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!" (vs.22) What was Peter thinking? He wasn't! Read what Jesus says next, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men." (vs. 23) Satan loves to get into our thoughts. He gets into our thoughts and then the words fly. Ever utter a comment and before those words are out your regretting it already? Satan loves it when he can take our thoughts captive and speak through us as if we have no control over our own tongue.

"We capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ." 2 Corinthians 10:5

"Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life." Proverbs 4:23

Aren't you glad we have a God who is in total control? All we have to do is turn to Him in trust. As we focus on Him our actions will obey Him. Our words will give Him praise. Oh, how we fight temptation. We battle sin. Friends, there is good news. Victory has already been won! Jesus will give you strength to overcome the temptations you battle daily. He will give you courage to face your sins head on. He will wash you in grace as you surrender each and every thought over to Him in obedience.

Don't ever allow Satan to tell you that you can't do it. Satan once had Paul under his thumb. But when Jesus got a hold of Paul, Satan had no more power over him. Paul allowed Christ to use his life as witness to the world that God is good, that God is merciful and that with the strength of Jesus Christ everything is possible.

It is time we live our life of faith being specific in our prayers. We know the areas in which we struggle. When wrong thoughts interrupt our walk give them to Jesus right then and there. Change your focus. Don't give Satan in inch, for if you do he will soon take a mile.

In the closing of the first letter Paul writes to the church in Corinth, he shares these words. "Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love." 1 Corinthians 16:13-14

As we begin thinking of our walk as a ministry it changes things doesn't it? We aren't here to live a life of solitude. We are called by God and given a God size purpose. He has equipped us with everything we need and He's even given us a guide, the Holy Spirit, to lead the way. Don't fear your journey. Walk in faith and God will bless your ministry.

"Finally brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things." Philippians 4:8
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