In prayer, I began to think about some of the people in my life. There are those who are mere acquaintances, others who I know rather well, and still others who I would consider to be intimate friends. (While I most definitely haven’t retreated into some kind of monastic solitude and ceased to interact with those outside of Christ, I should point out that I am talking about brothers and sisters in the Lord). Anyhow, I was thinking about how my closest friends love the Lord and seek him just as I do, yet; we have such different thoughts concerning life and ministry. I began to ask the Lord to help me understand theses things. Honestly, I must say as of now I haven’t received any great “revelations,” but He did show me some things – about me.
Isn’t it strange that when you go to the Lord with your complaints about “every body else,” he is usually more interested in talking about you? The Spirit brought to my mind that passage in James 4 that asks, “What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you?” I immediately began to ask God to expose my motives. I started thinking that maybe some of the difficulty I was having with my thoughts about others was due to my own selfish desires. I wondered if perhaps my expectations of others had become centered on my desires instead of the will of God. I thought of how strange it is that in the midst of our pursuing Jesus, we are still able to hurt each other; if not outright, in the secret place of our hearts. Something just didn’t seem right about that. I began to suspect that perhaps even my supposed selflessness was selfish, and that my love for others was shallow and disingenuous.
As I waited before the Lord, I began to ask him if I had come to cherish the act of ministry more than the people to whom I minister. Am I truly seeking to build up and equip the body of Christ, or am I in love with preaching, teaching, and singing? Am I holding on to my position out of fear that if I let go, I wont be able to “minister” as I have I have become accustomed to doing? Has my service to God become about me? Perhaps the conflict regarding ministry I sometimes sense with others is merely a result of my own selfish desires.
Pondering these things in his presence, I began to cry out for God to heal me. I thought of David’s prayer to God for a clean heart and a right spirit. I was reminded that it is the willing spirit that the joy of fellowship with God produces that yields fruitful ministry. I was brought back to the realization that knowing and loving him is what life is all about. Anything that is pleasing to the Father is produced out of our intimacy with Jesus. I don’t have the capacity within myself to truly love or sincerely minister. I need God’s Spirit to expose me, and give me discernment as to my motives, and then produce in me the heart of Jesus. Yeah, there are always going to be trials, especially when it comes to relationships (real boats rock), but honestly; I’m beginning to think that the biggest problem I have with everybody else is me.
“So Peter seeing him said to Jesus, ‘Lord, and what about this man?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!’”