This text is a part of the Open Letters collection.
I hope this letter finds you prospering within the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, my brothers.
I write this letter partially to reveal some refined notions which have sprung up of late in church buildings nearly all over the place the title of Christ is proclaimed. Primarily, some lecturers buffet the church with a doctrine that asserts the extra gifted, the extra educated, the extra media-savvy, the extra expert at communication, the extra vital individuals you realize, the extra books you publish, the extra convention talking engagements dot your calendar, the extra energy you wield on behalf of God as a frontrunner of the church. Now, brothers, it’s actually not a sin to talk at conferences, write books, harness new media for the sake of the gospel, search training within the issues of God, or possess divinely bestowed presents as a speaker.
However when you come to imagine these items make you an efficient minister, then you’ve got purchased right into a refined, devilish deception. It’s a matter of the center and a few minister this manner with nice humility, realizing that each one fruit that grows via ministry is given by God. Keep in mind, our Lord Jesus instructed us, “Apart from me, you can do nothing.”
Fishing with the world’s bait means you’ll merely catch the world.
Our Lord confirmed Paul the truthfulness of Jesus’s phrases in a most vivid method. He was taken into the presence of the residing God in what many suppose was a imaginative and prescient. It was so sensory-defying, Paul wasn’t sure whether or not he was within the physique or out of it. However he met Jesus nose to nose after which got here again to earth. At first, Paul certainly regarded for someone to inform. Absolutely, he needed to boast on this unbelievable expertise. Absolutely, there was not less than one small second the place Paul thought this imaginative and prescient was a sure signal that he was the best apostle of all of them.
The world says your biggest weapon is human energy, however Jesus says your biggest weapon is weak spot.
In talking engagements and non-inspired writing alternatives, Paul should have been tempted to make use of it as an anecdote to show his non secular maturity, his worth in God’s eyes, however the Lord did one thing even better to point out Paul that to boast concerning the imaginative and prescient could be to show the gospel on its head. The Lord allowed him to endure—large time. He gave Devil permission to put a thorn in Paul’s flesh. (That reality mustn’t throw you; Devil is, in any case, a created being who solely does what God permits him to do, as within the story of Job.) And it made him depressing bodily, spiritually, and mentally. In his prayers, Paul pled thrice for the Lord to remove the affliction, however he didn’t. A lot for name-it claim-it theology. God gave Paul one thing much better: his preserving grace.
The Lord instructed Paul one thing he needs each servant of the Lord Jesus to listen to, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in your weakness.”
By means of the thorn and Paul’s pleading with him to take away it, the Lord reiterated a reality I’ve discovered in my years in ministry, a reality that’s overwhelmingly offensive to the world: When I’m weak, then I’m sturdy. This implies, in fact, the other is true as nicely: when I’m sturdy, then I’m weak. How does this make sense? As Paul reminded Christians at Corinth, a minister of the gospel is nothing however a clay pot, an inexpensive, disposable piece of cardboard crockery. Sure, he’s concurrently an vital instrument in proclaiming God’s kingdom, however God’s under-shepherd is merely an instrument—a weak instrument.
That is the way in which the Lord, in his love and mercy, offers with us. God exhibits us that we’re weak, and he typically does it via affliction. However it’s a sure signal of his love. That’s what Jesus meant when he instructed Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you.” It’s type of like King David, who defeated the terrible Philistine Goliath. The behemoth warrior thought he was sturdy, however he was actually weak. David was weak, too, however the distinction was this: David knew he was weak. He knew the battle belonged to the Lord, and that’s how he toppled that enormous. The battle all the time belongs to the Lord. He, not us, is the hero in redemption, in constructing the church. Consider Israel. God may have chosen Egypt as his outdated covenant individuals, however as a substitute, he selected their slaves. Consider our father Abraham and his spouse, Sarah. They had been many years past their child-bearing season when God referred to as them. Consider the cross. Jesus was crucified in weak spot however lives by the ability of God. Our nice Lord has chosen the silly and the weak issues to disgrace the clever and the sturdy.
Your flesh goes to tempt you to reckon energy the way in which the world does. God and the world weigh issues on completely different scales. You will be instructed that it’s essential to construct a private legacy within the ministry. They’ll say that’s sturdy. However Jesus mentioned, “I will build my church.” You’re solely a device, pastor. You aren’t a kingdom builder. Our brother who wrote the sermonic letter we name Hebrews accurately mentioned we’re receiving a kingdom that can’t be shaken. Don’t miss that verb, “receiving.” Jesus additionally mentioned that it’s our Father’s good pleasure to present us the dominion. You can be tempted to develop your church with the world’s newest fads and fancies, as a result of that’s sturdy. However he’ll give us the dominion. We solely must be trustworthy and scatter the seed. That will appear weak on this planet’s eyes, however God calls it sturdy.
Keep in mind Paul’s phrases to the Corinthians: “We have this treasure in jars of clay.” The treasure is the gospel ministry, not the minister. On the base of a trustworthy ministry is self-knowledge that we’re weak. Our little youngsters generally sing a tune that features the road, “They are weak, but he is strong.” That’s good theology. Right here’s a fantastic reality to evangelise to your self every day: “I will boast only of the things that demonstrate my weakness, for when I am weak, then I am strong.”
The world says your biggest weapon is human energy, however Jesus says your biggest weapon is weak spot. It’s your biggest weapon as a result of in it, his energy is manifest. Worldly clever males let you know to be formidable, and by that I feel they imply it is best to anticipate nice issues from your self due to your training and apparent gifting. However none of that basically issues in God’s economic system. Permit me to restate that remark this manner: ambition is often self-centered as a result of it assumes human energy. You must try nice issues for God and anticipate nice issues from God as a result of he’s sturdy. You aren’t.
That’s all for now. I hope to write down to you once more quickly. I’ll pray for you that God’s energy can be manifest in your weak spot.