One of the biggest questions that often goes unasked in modern ministry is, "is this of God?" So often, we run ahead of God and miss His leadership. One of the biggest pitfalls to effective ministry is attempting to minister in one's own strength. "Not by might, nor by power but by my Spirit says the LORD" is much more than a nice saying, it must be our motto. Here in East Tennessee, there is seemingly a church on every corner, yet our culture is in a disarray. There is a form of godliness, but underlying that is an ingrained worldliness that permeates much of our society and sadly, the organized church. How many people attend or even serve churches and have no discernible fruit in their lives? This is counterproductive to the great commission. Church leadership seems all too often to go to the available rather than the devout, robbing the service of the power of God.
God has caused me to look hard at my own life and analyze what parts are of Him and what parts are of my own flesh. What am I doing in my strength rather than by His Spirit. This is an introspection of all aspects of my life. My prayer is that God will circumcise that which is of my flesh and magnify that which is of His power and might. This is not an easy endeavor. Looking at one's reflection in the light of God's Word is many times a difficult thing to bear. The only grace in this is that God can transform the ugly duckling into a swan.
There are times in life when the rod and staff that David spoke of in the 23rd Psalm are beloved tools of God used to bring us back onto the right path. First God will use the staff to try to guide us back into the right place in His will but often times, the stubborn, like me, must experience the rod of encouragement to do the right thing or at least stop and analyze the direction being traveled. Praise God for His ever loving guidance and grace.
It is a very good thing for every believer to stop and take a spiritual assessment periodically to see if our ministry and life are of the power of God's Spirit or of the flesh. One day all believers will stand before the Bema seat of Christ and be tested for our works. What a sad day that would be if all my works burned up because they were done according to the motivation and strength of my heart, which God has already told me is desperately wicked above all things. Serving God is the purpose of our existence, but without the calling, leading and power of the Holy Spirit it is all for naught.
If ministry leaders took assessment of their ministries and co laborers, the church would be far more effective in carrying out the great commission. Instead, those with ambition and impure motive, or just no qualifications whatsoever find their way into positions of leadership and authority, and become agents of resistance to God's will. Stop, study, pray and assess... where do you stand with God today?