Saturday, January 17, 2009

Random Principle of Ministry #1

Your relationship with God must come before other people's relationships with God.

Paul, who wrote half the New Testament, was deeply concerned about being "disqualified for the prize." This man preached to many and wrote Scripture, yet he knew how fragile he was. Preaching to others does not guarantee right standing before God. It's easy to get so wrapped up in "ministry" that it becomes more about the ministry than the God who makes it all possible.

It doesn't matter what we say about God if we never talk to Him.

I've noticed when I give real, emotional time in prayer to God, offering myself to Him, I have much strength to minister to others. But when I stop praying, feeling like I've "got it all together" I start to fade in passion and zeal. It's so easy to get caught up in what's going around us that we forget the invisible. We give so much attention to our lives, yet we neglect our relationship with the Father, the only part that really matters.

Whatever you need to do to nourish your soul, do it. Pray, really meditate on Scripture, read Christian books, have spiritual conversations, go by yourself in the wilderness, whatever. Sometimes taking a day off for a real Sabbath is healthy for the soul. And it's productive.

What will it matter if we convert the whole world, but everybody gets to Heaven but us?


jasonbrowning said...

Great thoughts! Thank you... this is so true.

alisha dawn said...

I need to take a Sabbath. It's sad how easy it can be to keep talking about God but not be in a good place with Him. Satan works pretty well in this area.
Thanks for the reminder that we have to help ourselves before we can help anyone else.

brandon said...

Very true, and particularly for me right now. Good post, Josh.

Paul Ford said...

Joshua, what you're saying to me is that I need to worry more about my standing with God, than I do in trying to point out all the "faults" I see in others.

"So be careful. When you think you are standing firm, you might fall." - 1 Corinthians 10:12

"...So continue to work out your own salvation. Do it with fear and trembling." - Philippians 2:12

Thanks for your encouraging words. I struggle with talking to God as much as I should -- I know I should do it more. Sometimes I feel unworthy to approach him, but I should always remember:

"And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." - 2 Corinthians 12:9

Keep up the good work, brother, you are an encouragement to many others.

Like a Mustard Seed said...

great reminder, I need to be reminded of that like every day....


Demara said...

Wow this is SO true! Thanks!!

Joshua Tucker said...

Jason - Thanks, I feel like I have to keep learning this the hard way.

Alisha - Thanks sweetie, maybe we should try to find some time to go to a park for a day or something.

Brandon - Thanks Brandon, me too.

Paul - Thanks for the Scriptures, I think we all need to be reminded of this from time to time.

Daniel - Same here!

Demara - Thanks for dropping by, and I'm glad it was encouraging for you.

Daniel Coutinho said...

Now this might be because of Ed's Galatians class, but this seems to reflect a little bit of "modern legalism". Don't get me wrong, what you said is true. Being focused on Bible reading and meditation is important for our growth and strength, but how important to our salvation is that? Do we really have to worry that if we aren't meditating enough or reading our Bibles enough we won't be in heaven? wouldn't that be trying to be good enough and do things the right way to get to heaven.

You know me well and you know I'm not pessimistic or anything of the sort (unless the occasion calls for so), but I would like to play the devil's advocate and see where our thoughts stand today on this subject. I feel that in a lot of small congregations around the country this is a type of legalism that is often noticed. Are we reading our Bibles enough in order to get to heaven? Are we evangelizing enough to get to heaven? Are we praying enough to get to heaven? A lot of Christians have been forced to feel guilty for not being good enough and that's not a good thing.

Again I'm not trying to be dogmatic, but rather interested in seeing where our views on this subject stands today.

Thanks for the thoughts! Keep up the good work!

Joshua Tucker said...

Daniel - Hey man, I totally know what you mean, and I'm sorry if you misunderstood my last sentence to mean that not doing enough will condemn us.

However, Paul, in the end of 1 Cor. 9 with this context does say, "so that I may not be disqualified for the prize." I think the thing is, it's easy to believe that just because we teach others that we have a strong faith, or faith at all.

Plenty of preachers and ministers have been involved in adultery, molestation, and a host of other sins that show that they probably didn't personally believe in their own message. Or, at the least, the made their own relationship with Christ not as much a priority as their jobs.

That's just what I'm getting at. We can be so focused on others that we forget to personally interact with God. It's easy to know things ABOUT God, but not KNOW GOD. But when we treat Him as our Father, that doesn't happen.

You can see from several of my other posts that the heart of the gospel is this: "I'm not good enough, but God makes me good enough." No amount of praying, reading, ministry, or good deeds can even make a dent in right standing with God. Only a relationship with Christ does that... but sometimes a relationship with Christ does come out in the daily, tedious habits of things like prayer and Bible reading. And while those things have no redemptive quality in themselves, they are more like a security or signpost that keeps our focus on Christ personally.

Hopefully this helps clear it up a bit.

Chris Johnson said...

I can't agree more. Relationship does matter!