I’m pretty sure most of the time that I’m just screwing everything up. Can you relate? Especially when it comes to the work the Lord has given me to do, I most often feel ineffective, non-influential, and basically useless.
I have little doubt that I’m not alone in this. Why? Why do we so often feel our toil for the Lord is in vain? And what do we do to remain steadfast despite the nagging feeling that it’s all somehow … worthless? Let’s consider these questions together, shall we?
Be Sure of Your Ministry
The first step to maintaining a steadfast commitment to the Lord’s work is to be certain the directions came from Him in the first place. So often, we step into roles and tasks that were never intended for us, personally, to do. While the work itself may be good and beneficial, it may not be beneficial for us – or for us to be the do-er of it.
Paul spoke of this when he said “all things are lawful, but not all things edify” in 1 Corinthians 10:23. The context of this verse is concerning believers doing things to place a stumbling block for non-believers. However, he goes on later in the passage to expand the meaning a bit further and says “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)
If we are riding in someone else’s lane, doing the work they are supposed to do we are creating two problems: 1. We are robbing them of the job the Lord called them to and 2. We are leaving a gap where we’re actually supposed to be.
That’s why it’s so important to know what our spiritual gifts are and then, operate in them. Consistently. Joyfully. Tirelessly.
Realize WHOSE Work it Really Is
If we get the first part down – we’re sure what we’re doing is the Lord’s idea and not our own – then we must always keep our Father as the focus. Jesus is our perfect example of a proper focus. He never let His focus stray from doing the will of the Father. And He did it with a perfect servant’s heart. (John 4:34; 6:38)
In addition to that, the Lord Himself has placed us in the body of Christ exactly where He wants us in order to accomplish what He has set out for each of us to do. (1 Corinthians 12:18) If you are certain that you are in line with the Lord’s tasks for you, then you can be 100% certain that it is no mistake that He placed you exactly where you are, exactly at this time, with exactly the talents and spiritual gifts you need to accomplish what He has set before you. “His divine power has granted to us everything we need pertaining to life and godliness…” (See 2 Peter 1:1-11, v. 3 quoted)
The Power Source
Don’t miss where the power to do all this comes from… Go back and read 2 Peter 1:1-11. Verse 3 says it is His divine power. Not ours. Ephesians 1 says that we can know “the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe…” (Ephesians 1:15-23) Again, His power – not our own.
Ah, so there’s the rub… His power. You see, in ourselves, we have NO power. None. It is only through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit within every true believer that we can do anything good. There is no goodness in me. The only goodness found in me comes from my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
And when I begin to think that the stuff I am doing is a result of my own efforts, I start doing things to rob glory from my Father who sent me on the mission in the first place. When my attitude heads in that direction, I start to do things that my human reasoning would tell me are “the right things to do,” rather than seeking the Lord first for His direction. I begin to manipulate, coerce, control, and dominate to try to produce the result instead of remembering that when the Lord calls me to a task, HE ALONE is responsible for the results… even if the results look like failure from a human perspective.
Do. Not. Give. Up.
Over the summer of 2015, I wrote a Bible study on the book of Galatians for Glory Books Ministry. It was an 8-lesson study and the last lesson was painfully hard to write. If you happen to be a writer, you will understand when I describe it much like childbirth. It was painful. I hit writers block like I’d never known before. (I’m the girl that can sit and type up 1000 words in an hour and zip it out without batting an eye) And when you’re writing something Biblical in nature, the pain is almost always because the writer must learn the lesson before she can teach it.
This was the case in the Galatians study situation. And once I got to Galatians 6:9, I realized why. Here’s the verse:
Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.
Ouch. Double ouch. Massive ouch…. (Did I mention this was painful?)
I will spare you the lengthy definitions from the Greek language on those words (go download the FREE study to see for yourself!). But I will tell you that I got a Holy Spirit spanking like never before.
You see, I wanted so very much to wave my white flag in surrender. I wanted to quit. I wanted to walk away from writing that study – and everything else I was doing in service to the Lord – and never come back. That would have been the most easy thing in the world to do. But it would have been the absolute wrong choice. Dead wrong.
The Lord used that verse to minister to me in a very personal, very tender way. And He has used it countless times since.
My encouragement to you is to keep pressing on. No matter the obstacle, your efforts are not in vain and they do not go unnoticed by the only One that matters. The Lord has reminded me completely out of the blue countless times that I am effective and useful to Him. On my darkest days, I’ll receive a phone call or a note of appreciation from someone I didn’t even know was paying attention. Or, better yet, He brings me to something in His Word to assure me that He truly is El Roi – the God Who Sees.
Be encouraged today, fellow soldier! Be strong and courageous and press on toward the prize. This world is not our home and Glory is within sight – just over the horizon. Just keep moving. One step at a time.