What Moves You to Minister?

John Piper

For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. (Galatians 6:8)

Faith has an insatiable appetite for experiencing as much of God’s grace as possible. Therefore, faith presses toward the river where God’s grace flows most freely, namely, the river of love.

What other force will move us out of our contented living rooms to take upon ourselves the inconveniences and suffering that love requires?

What will propel us . . .

  • to greet strangers when we feel shy?
  • to go to an enemy and plead for reconciliation when we feel indignant?
  • to tithe when we’ve never tried it?
  • to speak to our colleagues about Christ?
  • to invite new neighbors to a Bible study?
  • to cross cultures with the gospel?
  • to create a new ministry for alcoholics?
  • to spend an evening driving a van?
  • to invest a morning praying for renewal?

None of these costly acts of love just happens. They are impelled by a new appetite — the appetite of faith for the fullest experience of God’s grace.

Faith loves to rely on God and see him work miracles in us. Therefore, faith pushes us into the current where the power of God’s future grace flows most freely — the current of love.

I think this is what Paul meant when he said that we should “sow to the Spirit” (Galatians 6:8). By faith, we should put the seeds of our energy in the furrows where we know the Spirit is at work to bear fruit — the furrows of love.

Here We Go Again

God's Story For My Life

Day 192: Read today’s devotional on Bible Gateway.

Read Judges 10:6-18

The Ammonites also crossed to the west side of the Jordan and attacked Judah, Benjamin, and Ephraim.

The Israelites were in great distress. Finally, they cried out to the Lord for help, saying, “We have sinned against you because we have abandoned you as our God and have served the images of Baal.”

The Lord replied, “Did I not rescue you from the Egyptians, the Amorites, the Ammonites, the Philistines, the Sidonians, the Amalekites, and the Maonites? When they oppressed you, you cried out to me for help, and I rescued you. Yet you have abandoned me and served other gods. So I will not rescue you anymore. Go and cry out to the gods you have chosen! Let them rescue you in your hour of distress!”

But the Israelites pleaded with the Lord and said, “We have sinned. Punish us as you see fit, only rescue us today from our enemies.”

Then the Israelites put aside their foreign gods and served the Lord. And he was grieved by their misery.
(Judges 10:9-16)

Reflect

Once again the Israelites suffered for many years before they gave up their sinful ways and called out to God for help (see Judges 4:1-3; 6:1-7). Notice that when the Israelites were desperate, they did not look to their pagan gods for help, but to the only One who was actually able to help.

These verses show how difficult it can be to follow God over the long haul. The Israelites always seemed to forget God when all was well. But despite being rejected by his own people, God never failed to rescue them when they called out to him in repentance.

Is God your last resort? We expend so much unnecessary worry and effort because we don’t look to God until we’ve used up all other resources. Rather than waiting until the situation becomes desperate, turn to God first. He will not always solve your problems, but talking with him will bring a new perspective. Instead of seeing God change your circumstances, you may find that he is changing you.

Respond

Are you facing challenges that you can’t see your way out of? God may not take you out of them, but he may go through them with you. Strive to stay close to God rather than see how far you can go on your own. Then you may see just what God can do as you live life by his side.

Anyone can stand in holiness

 

 

Dallas Willard

The hunger for holiness, and for power to stand in holiness, to the blessing of multitudes of people, also knows no social or economic boundaries. This too was very important to me and was made brilliantly clear in the lives of the “famous Christians,” many of whom were of no standing among humanity, or who disowned their standing. Not only did that give me hope personally, but it opened afresh the events of scripture for me, and showed for modern times how “unlearned and ignorant men” (Acts 4:13) could also bring the knowledge and reality of God to the world. It showed how God, through one individual, no matter how insignificant in the eyes of human beings, could make a great difference for good. I resolved that should anything come of my life and ministry it would not be because of my efforts to make that happen.

From Renewing the Christian Mind: Essays, Interviews, and Talks. Copyright © 2016 by Willard Family Trust. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

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