God’s Means of Grace for Ministry and Life

Been thinking about last week’s post by Jeff Jackson (“The Pulpit AND the People Skills of the Pastor— http://www.crossconnection.net/2012/02/magnets-the-pulpit-people-skills-pastor).

For me, it’s a crucial topic. I have struggled with the people part of ministry, I do still struggle with it, and I will continue to struggle with it. It’s going to be with me … this struggle … until I fall asleep or the rapture comes. I’m resigned to that fact.

Because I don’t want to be one of those guys who lament, “Lord, the ministry would be wonderful, were it not for the people,” and because I do want to be one of those guys who act as Jesus’ assistant pastor … and therefore treat them as He does—I will work through these struggles.

I will utilize the means of grace the Lord has given us. I will rely upon:

1. My identity in Christ. No matter how well I do or how badly I do, I am not defined by people’s estimation of me. I’m defined by God’s view of me through His Son, which is the only wholly accurate measurement of my life. He loves me even though I may struggle with myself.

2. My calling to ministry. Paul told timid Timothy to wage the good warfare according to the prophecies that pointed to him (1 Timothy 1:18). I will remember that it was not my idea that I go into the ministry. Rather, it was a calling upon my life. I have very specific and supernatural events that I remember as part of that calling. I chew on these again and again, and am greatly encouraged.

3. The fact that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. It was David who wrote Psalm 139. Even though he was a man of great strength, he also had his weaknesses. I am probably more introvert than extrovert, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, God made me that way. I can be comfortable in my own skin.

4. His strength being perfected in my weakness. Weaknesses are opportunities for grace. My confession of relational weakness results in sufficient grace being poured into my life. This grace enables me to overcome insufficiencies, to the glory of God (2 Corinthians 12:9). 

5. God’s anointing upon my life. When Jesus told the man with the withered hand to stretch out that hand, He was telling him to do something that he may have never done. Yet, Jesus’ command was His promise of Divine enablement, when obeyed by faith. As this man obeyed Jesus and relied upon His word/commandment, Jesus gave him the ability to do something he was incapable of doing in the natural. Jesus commands me to be a pulpit pastor and a people pastor. He will enable me.

Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, {6} who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant… (2 Corinthians 3:5-6)

6. His school of relationships. I have always thought that if I can do it at home, I can do it anywhere. The home is a classroom for all of life. The things I am learning in my marriage are totally transferable. If I trust the Lord to help me apply 1 Peter 3:7, I can trust Him to extend the application to the body of Christ.

7. The word of God, the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and the power of prayer. These are the staples of our walks with Christ. The word teaches us, reproves us, corrects us, trains us in righteous living, matures us, and equips us for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The Holy Spirit empowers us for service and provides overcoming grace against the power of the flesh (Galatians 5:16). Prayer is the way we access the Bible’s  truth and the Spirit’s strength.

I’m stopping after number seven. It’s the number of completion, so I must be done.  Cool

3 replies
  1. Tim Brown
    Tim Brown says:

    Hi, Bill – like you, I felt/feel my personality to be a major hindrance to the ministry the Lord has given me. My personality almost drove me from the ministry and the things itemized in your post have been life-savers to me, too. Thanks for this. It’s a great reminder and exhortation.

    Reply
  2. Bill Holdridge
    Bill Holdridge says:

    Tim!

    Ironically, I omitted what should have been point number 8. I neglected to say that another means of grace is the strengthening fellowship and support we receive from our brothers in Christ. Very typical for me to omit writing that.

    You are one of those guys in my life, brother. I appreciate you.

    Reply

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