Do you ever get frustrated about ministry? Do you feel as if God has put a big dream on the inside of you to help, to teach, to tell the world about Him, but it never seems to get off the ground? If you can even get started, its slow going. That project you approached with so much hope and faith didn’t pick up the steam and momentum you imagined it would. Instead of launching you like a rocket, it was more like a boulder, falling to earth with a loud thud. Have you begun to wonder if you even heard God?
Sometimes I do. I’ve long dreamed of reaching women with the truth and hope of the Gospel through writing and speaking. So far, writing this blog is my only public effort and, though I hope it blesses you, it is a miniscule part of what I see in my heart. As for speaking, I got an engagement at my sister’s church many years ago. The response was more like a rock than a rocket. More recently, I put together a retreat which had no registered attendants.
Does this all confirm my misdirection, lack of ability, total failure?
No! But perhaps you and I have missed some clues and opportunities along the way. For example, I always feel that the Holy Spirit is looking over my shoulder when I write for you, dear blog reader, and guiding me along the way. I was thanking Him for that and in His own sassy way, I heard Him ask, “So you don’t think I could write a whole book?”
Of course, He can, but I have never believed that I could. But all things are possible with God. I’m in the process of renewing my mind on that one! Taking baby steps in both faith and action.
I came across a scripture the other day, however, that gave me a different perspective on the question of how to be used by God. The world’s strategy is all about our goals, plans, and preparation to do the thing. God, it seems, is more concerned with our transformation into the image of His Own dear Son, Jesus.
“In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.” (1 Peter 5-7 NLT)
Most of us have heard these verses and taken them as the way to develop in Christian maturity, but if you keep reading, you will see they are also the path to fulfilling your dream. Verse 8 goes on to say, “The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
When we grow in character and obedience, we want to know and understand more of the truth of God’s Word. Obedience and truth are the bedrock of productive service to God. Self-control and patience combined with those means we actually do the necessary work, willing to start small and stick with it until we see results. Godliness is doing things His way and from His perspective. When we move toward these virtues, we find our work motivated by true love and concern for the audience. When these characteristics are active in us, we want to see lives changed and God glorified more than we want success for ourselves.
Now that is productive and useful! Useful because what we have to impart will really help people, productive because God will be able to confidently open doors to more and more opportunities knowing we will follow His lead.