So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?
Thoughts for Today:When I became a Christian, I spent the first several years of my time serving in ministry with the idea that the key to being used greatly by God was my faith. The greater my faith the greater works God would do through me. But it's not true. The key was not the size of my faith in God, but His faithfulness to people.
As a young man I would pray over one crisis or another -- ask for the healing of a sick person, a new job for a desperate brother or sister, or reconciliation of a broken marriage. When God didn't bring an immediate remedy to the situation I was praying about, I thought the reason might have something to do with my faith. Sure I understood the sovereign nature of God, but I wondered, "Perhaps my faith isn't strong enough?"
Several years later, I found myself sharing the Gospel with a group of unbelievers. During the process, I came to the realization that it was not my great faith that allowed God to bring about miracles, but it was my faithfulness that allowed me to be His instrument and thereby present when He did. Many of the people in the group accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior that day. Did they respond because of my oratory skill and expert Gospel presentation? Of course not (it wasn't very good). They responded because God called them. My faithfulness simply allowed me to participate in work God was already doing.
This concept takes a lot of pressure off of what I do in ministry. I don't need to worry about whether I did or didn't do the right thing, prayed the right way, said the right words, or referenced the correct Scripture. The only thing I need to be certain of is my faith in His faithfulness. I need to have total confidence in the great faithfulness of God to touch anyone who is hungering and thirsting for righteousness, anywhere, and at any time. And as my understanding of this began to take root and grow, I became incredibly free to serve.
So to be effective, we must first come to the realization that any accomplishment in ministry is not because of our great faith in God, but because of His great faithfulness to the people He loves. Unfortunately, until this is understood, Satan will continue to whisper in our ears: "You don't have the technique down, you made a mistake here, you misquoted Scripture there, you need to memorize more verses, you didn't pray long enough, and you don't have enough experience." If it's dependent upon us, the pressure is on: beads of sweat will break out on our foreheads, our knees will shake, mouths dry out, and words will be hard to recall. We will be paralyzed by fear because we absolutely know that we have not done enough. But once we know for certain that the God who has done it all for us doesn't require works of the law, then we are truly set free!
Questions to Ponder:Do you feel a little pressure when you serve in ministry? Most of us do, but is it because of worry about what others think, or the desire to serve God in a way that pleases Him? One is freeing, the other is not. Where is your focus? Are you free to serve?