Purposing To Grow In Life & Ministry!
We understand that to walk in wisdom we must have a plan for our personal and ministry growth.
Scripture Reading: 1 Timothy 4:7-8, 14-16 (Also 2 Timothy 1:6-8; Hebrew 5:12-14; Matthew 13:3-23)
When we see a winning Olympic athlete, we know he did not wake up and randomly decide that he would try the pole vault that day! No, it involved a purposed intention to not only learn how to pole vault, but to excel at it through disciplined training. The same can be said of a successful businessman, a trained soldier, or a celebrated artist. The same assertion can be made of a Christian’s personal life and ministry– it doesn’t just happen, but comes as a result of a chosen purpose and personal discipline toward that end.
Paul exhorted his spiritual son, Timothy, to “discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness” (1 Timothy 4:7, NAS)– or as one translation worded it “train yourself to be spiritually fit!” Too many Christians approach their personal and ministry growth with a lazy attitude of “it’ll just happen”– I won’t exercise and plan my prayer life; my time in the word; stretch myself in witnessing or ministering to others; practice at praying for the sick; but when the time comes God’s Spirit will automatically do through me what I’ve never done before!”
I’m afraid that this is the neglecting of the spiritual gift within us (1 Timothy 4:14) that Paul described. Just as Jesus trained the disciples in prayer and ministry before he poured out the Holy Spirit upon them, so we too must give the Holy Spirit material and effort to work with. He will not force or manipulate us to do something we are not inclined to do. In fact, we can say that there is a desperation and pressing into God that occurs in the individual before the Spirit is released through them. One can sit down at a piano, begin plunking on the keys and call the result “music played in the freedom in the Spirit,” but most would probably consider it an awful racket. Freedom in the Spirit would better seem to be one who has sat down, learned their scales, learned to read the notes, trained their ears to hear the music, and then later after practicing these things, when spontaneously asked to play “such and such song,” they are able to play it by ear with great spontaneity.
When it comes down to it, though there are leaders and teachers in the church to help build you in your faith, YOU ARE THE PRIMARY ONE GOD HOLDS RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR SPIRITUAL GROWTH AND MATURITY AS A CHRISTIAN. Paul told Timothy that he was responsible to stir up anew the flame of the Spirit within himself (2 Timothy 1:6). Too often church members blame their pastor or Bible teachers for “not feeding them adequately,” but Jesus taught in his Parable of the Sower that the issue wasn’t the sower, but the condition of the soils (or condition of their hearts). He also stated that if one doesn’t understand this parable truth, none of his other teachings would be understood! Choose today a plan for your personal growth and ministry and put it into practice!
- Have you made a deliberate choice to do whatever it takes to be Christ-like in your personal life and ministry? When did you make this choice? How are you
doing right now?
- What are some disciplines or exercises that you need to plan into your daily life that will assist you in accomplishing this goal? Are you willing to “go for the burn” in doing them?
- Have you considered setting a time each week or each month to plan your exercises in godliness for your life, your family or your ministry life? Have you asked God for an annual goal?
Declaration: As you pray today, make the following declaration…
I am endued with gifts and abilities to make a Kingdom impact on my world in my generation! I chose that destiny and submit my schedule to the necessary discipline needed to fulfill it. I refuse to neglect my gifts or leave them dormant– I stir them up today! I exercise my spiritual muscles today in preparation for my tomorrows!