I am the greatest threat to ministry. I’ve wrestled with this and experienced how my own sin is the greatest danger to the advancement of the gospel.
If you’re reading this post, I expect that we are much the same. We love the Lord. We yearn to know Him and make Him known. Our intentions are good but our deceptively wicked heart hoodwinks us into twisting the things we desire to do for the Lord until they serve us. We think about self far too much and it threatens the advancement of the gospel we proclaim.
It happened to me this past week. Twice, I was so wrapped up in my own life—so inwardly focused—that I missed two opportunities to serve women whom I love. Both graciously forgave me, but instead of receiving the beautiful grace extended toward me, I wrestled internally against the screams claiming: You’re a failure! You’re insufficient! You’ll never be worthy!
The conviction that revealed my selfishness is from the Lord. It is sin rooted in the wretchedness of my heart and sin should grieve me. It was right to seek their forgiveness. However, the condemnation that rings in my ears long after repentance is expressed and restoration is achieved is not of the Lord. That is the enemy trying to prevent the gospel from unleashing its power. The enemy’s voice will always try to drown out or twist our efforts to apply the gospel to our life.
He subtly twists the truths I self-speak, truths about how I am clean, how I am ransomed, and how I am saved. Look at them again. The subject of each sentence is still me. I will never properly understand who I am until I know the great I AM. And neither will you.
When we really understand the attributes of God we learn who we are by default. God is the redeemer. We stand in need of redemption. He is perfection. We are sinful. He is holy. We are corrupt. It is not about us living perfectly, it is about a perfect God redeeming the people He loves through His perfect Son for the glory of His name.
Because of who God is and because He has imputed the righteousness of Christ onto his children, you can believe the truth statements that define you. You are clean because Christ has clothed you in righteousness (Isaiah 61:10). You are redeemed because Christ paid the ransom (1 Timothy 2:6). You are saved from the wrath of God because Christ’s death has satisfied that wrath (Romans 5:9).
Your tendency toward sin may be the greatest danger to ministry but God’s tendency toward making all things new makes this moment a new moment. It makes now the best time to repent, seek forgiveness, and focus on the only One worthy of our praise who can do far more than we ask or imagine.