"Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water'." (John 7:38)

"Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual." (1Cor. 2:12-13)


Saturday, January 26, 2013

God's Will, Or Ours, Be Done

Jesus came into the world to do the will of His Father; to seek and to save that which is lost, to give abundant life, and to bring peace. Jesus came to save sinners and to set the captives free. He did not come for the purpose of changing the world or try to make it a better place to live (though these blessings are certainly the fruit of God's presence through His children). He did not come to conquer lands or rulers of lands, for God Himself establishes all kingdoms and governments. Nor did He come to eradicate evil from the world...yet. God created all things, including the vessels of wrath, that He might reveal His glory to those chosen before the foundation of the world. (Romans 22-24) Evil has its place in God's ultimate scheme and there are seasons which God will call us to confront evil.
The work God has prepared for us occurs in moments within seasons. The spiritual gifts He has given us will be called upon when and where He is working. We have only been commanded to be prepared and available, in and out of season, that He may accomplish a mighty work through us.

When Jesus told us to go, He did not mean for us to pick up our luggage of biblical knowledge and spiritual gifts to venture out and work our own heart's desires. We go when God sends us. That is what Jesus meant by, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.". (Matthew 28:19, 20) We go only when we are empty of ourselves, and equipped with His grace and knowledge so that we, too, can, "...do the work of Him that sent me." (John 4:34, 9:4)

It is God that sends us. Not ourselves. It is God who determines who and what will be brought across our path. How often do we ignore the everyday opportunities around us because we feel our ministry is otherwise? These present circumstances are what God uses to test and refine us so that He can equip us with His spirit at the expense of our own comfort and reasoning.

What, then, does ministry look like when we go it on our own? Stubborn religious traditions, conservative politics, commanded morality, and self righteousness. The church will be found defying and condemning the lost, mocking and protesting civil government, commanding God's will upon those who do not have God's spirit to understand (much less obey), and battling evil we've not been assigned to.

What does God's ministry look like? Being the presence and message of hope among the hopeless. This was Jesus' ministry and we have been called to put on the person of Christ. No hope exists for the lost and unsaved when guilt and condemnation is at the forefront of the church's witness to the world.


"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."
(Romans 12:1, 2)

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