We are not saved to be “channels only,” but to be sons and daughters of God. We are not turned into spiritual mediums, but into spiritual messengers; the message must be part of ourselves. The Son of God was His own message, His words were spirit and life; and as His disciples our lives must be the sacrament of our message. The natural heart will do any amount of serving, but it takes the heart broken by conviction of sin, and baptized by the Holy Ghost, and crumpled into the purpose of God before the life becomes the sacrament of its message.
There is a difference between giving a testimony and preaching. A preacher is one who has realized the call of God and is determined to use his every power to proclaim God’s truth. God takes us out of our own ideas for our lives and we are “battered to shape and use,” as the disciples were after Pentecost. Pentecost did not teach the disciples any thing; it made them the incarnation of what they preached – “Ye shal be witnesses unto Me.”
Let God have perfect liberty when you speak. Before God’s message can liberate other souls, the liberation must be real in you. Gather your material, and set it alight when you speak.
“. . . so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus.” Acts 20:24
Joy means the perfect fulfilment of that for which I was created and regenerated, not the successful doing of a thing. The joy Our Lord had lay in doing what the Father sent Him to do, and He says – “As My Father hath sent Me, even so am I sending you.” Have I received a ministry from the Lord? If so, I have to be loyal to it, to count my life precious only for the fulfilling of that ministry. Think of the satisfaction it will be to hear Jesus say – “Well done, good and faithful servant”; to know that you have done what He sent you to do.
We have all to find our niche in life, and spiritually we find it when we receive our ministry from the Lord. In order to do this we must have companied with Jesus; we must know Him as more than a personal Saviour. “I will show him how great things he must suffer for My sake.” “Lovest thou Me?” Then – “Feed My sheep.” There is no choice of service, only absolute loyalty to Our Lord’s commission; loyalty to what you discern when you are in closest contact with God.
If you have received a ministry from the Lord Jesus, you will know that the need is never the call : the need is the opportunity. The call is loyalty to the ministry you received when you were in real touch with Him. This does not imply that there is a campaign of service marked out for you, but it does mean that you will have to ignore the demands for service along other lines.
“I am impressed with the wonder of what God says, but He cannot expect me really to live it out in the details of my life!” When it comes to facing Jesus Christ on His own merits, our attitude is one of pious superiority – Your ideals are high and they impress us, but in touch with actual things, it cannot be done.
Each of us thinks about Jesus in this way in some particular. These misgivings about Jesus start from the amused questions put to us when we talk of our transactions with God – Where are you going to get your money from? How are you going to be looked after? Or they start from ourselves when we tell Jesus that our case is a bit too hard for Him. It is all very well to say “Trust in the Lord,” but a man must live, and Jesus has nothing to draw with nothing whereby to give us these things.
Beware of the pious fraud in you which says – I have no misgivings about Jesus, only about myself. None of us ever had misgivings about ourselves; we know exactly what we cannot do, but we do have misgivings about Jesus. We are rather hurt at the idea that He can do what we cannot. My misgivings arise from the fact that I ransack my own person to find out how He will he able to do it. My questions spring from the depths of my own inferiority. If I detect these misgivings in myself, let me bring them to the light and confess them – “Lord, I have had misgivings about Thee, I have not believed in Thy wits apart from my own; I have not believed in Thine almighty power apart from my finite understanding of it.”
“The Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister.” Matthew 20:28
Paul’s idea of service is the same as Our Lord’s: “I am among you as He that serveth;” “ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.” We have the idea that a man called to the ministry is called to be a different kind of being from other men. According to Jesus Christ, he is called to be the “door-mat” of other men; their spiritual leader, but never their superior. “I know how to be abased,” says Paul. This is Paul’s idea of service – “I will spend myself to the last ebb for you; you may give me praise or give me blame, it will make no difference.” So long as there is a human being who does not know Jesus Christ, I am his debtor to serve him until he does. The mainspring of Paul’s service is not love for men, but love for Jesus Christ.
If we are devoted to the cause of humanity, we shall soon be crushed and broken-hearted, for we shall often meet with more ingratitude from men than we would from a dog; but if our motive is love to God, no ingratitude can hinder us from serving our fellow men. Paul’s realization of how Jesus Christ had dealt with him is the secret of his determination to serve others. “I was before a perjurer, a blasphemer, an injurious person” – no matter how men may treat me, they will never treat me with the spite and hatred with which I treated Jesus Christ. When we realize that Jesus Christ has served us to the end of our meanness, our selfishness, and sin, nothing that we meet with from others can exhaust our determination to serve men for His sake.
And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
When we pray to be sanctified, are we prepared to face the standard of these verses? We take the term sanctification much too lightly. Are we prepared for what sanctification will cost? It will cost an intense narrowing of all our interests on earth, and an immense broadening of all our interests in God. Sanctification means intense concentration on God’s point of view. It means every power of body, soul and spirit chained and kept for God’s purpose only.
Are we prepared for God to do in us all that He separated us for? And then after His work is done in us, are we prepared to separate ourselves to God even as Jesus did? “For their sakes I sanctify Myself.” The reason some of us have not entered into the experience of sanctification is that we have not realized the meaning of sanctification from God’s standpoint. Sanctification means being made one with Jesus so that the disposition that ruled Him will rule us. Are we prepared for what that will cost? It will cost everything that is not of God in us. Are we prepared to be caught up into the swing of this prayer of the apostle Paul’s? Are we prepared to say – “Lord, make me as holy as You can make a sinner saved by grace”? Jesus has prayed that we might be one with Him as He is one with the Father. The one and only characteristic of the Holy Ghost in a man is a strong family likeness to Jesus Christ, and freedom from everything that is unlike Him. Are we prepared to set ourselves apart for the Holy Spirit’s ministrations in us?
Yesterday morning I wrote about love and being in ministry. The point of being in ministry but not having love was thoroughly addressed but who ever thought that I would be tested with the very issue a few hours after? When I got to the office, things were a little heated and I saw where it could have escalated if God didn’t intervene. The flesh initially had its way but that quickly died by force. I am guessing God held unto my emotions and strapped them up because in my mind I was still raging war. Then I remembered the blog and started asking God why I had to go through this. Why did he test me so fast. My response to the situation, I am sure was not what he expected because as the day progressed, he tugged on my heart to apologize to the manager. Though I was not quite in the wrong for what happened my response was not one of Christ or love and that made an apology necessary.
There I had to be angry but love. The Christ like characteristics in me had to supersede any traits of the flesh. Believe me when I say that this occurrence gave me a resounding zeal to be even more careful about how I deal with situations and love people. For I know that, 1 Corinthians 13:1 – Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.
This morning I write this Daily Digest with a bit of a “broken heart”. This weekend was one of mixed emotions, causing me to react to some situations not in the best of ways. To make it blatantly clear, I said some things that could have cut people deep and cause them pain. Being bent on making things known on my part, I did not stop during this to consider the feelings of others. It’s almost as if I was out of my mind just on a blowing up spree. So whoever crossed my part was going to feel the whirlwind. However, as I got up this morning to spend time with God. the minute I paused, he began to deal with me.
I now see the need to use myself as an example of how we are to be forever be mindful of what we are doing and in keeping the word of God. As I knelt to pray, this verse arose in my heart.
1 Corinthians 13:1 – Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal
I quickly grabbed my bible and began to read the chapter which caused me to weep. I felt sick to my stomach. Even though I ministered this weekend and the hearts of many were touched, my following attitude caused my ministry to be “null and void”. Not to those who received because they already received and probably is putting it to use but to my life. My life before God. What was I really about? This life is much more than ministry but a conglomeration of things that must all please the heart of God. My heart is one of repentance and now I am here to remind you to LOVE and LOVE as God says to. See 1 Corinthians 13. It does not matter how powerful we are, if we hurt the heart of others, we hurt the heart of God because we don’t have love. I am committed never to hurt the heart of God and it starts by me starting with love.