I recently read a very insightful article on Charisma Magazine by Kathy DeGraw, who is a Deliverance Minister. And since she identifies her ministry as "igniting and activating people, releasing prophetic destinies, and delivering people from the bondage of the Enemy", I felt a spiritual kinship and was intrigued by the title of her column: Why The Holy Spirit Doesn't Want You To Force Your Ministry Opportunities.
Like Kathy, I've been having an ongoing conversation with the Lord about what I see in people who have discerned God's plan to advance His Kingdom. I am thrilled to see more and more people awakening to Jesus's command to Seek the Kingdom first and righteousness. I see God moving among His people, and my spirit sees the acceleration of His agenda to defeat Satan's kingdom.
The number of people finding their way to Jesus's Healing table in our home has grown exponentially over the last few years. And it has not been because we have advertised or promoted ourselves. It's all because we have been obedient to Jesus's call and then trusted Him to speak to the hearts of those seeking spiritual freedom, ordering their steps to us.
I am expressing all this because there was a statement Ms. DeGraw made in her article that struck a chord with me. She said, "We can force ministry doors to open and can make things happen in order
for us to enhance our ministry, but are God's blessings upon it? Do we
want God to bless our ministry or honor our ministry? God will honor the things we do to share His word and grow our ministry.
However, when God orchestrates our advancement or the event or action
in which He has called us to do, He will bless that which He has called."
Wow! That really got me to thinking. I am seeing many people answer God's call and they are passionate about what He is calling them to. And that's good! They begin having dreams and clearly hear instructions how to grow a ministry for the Lord. They are ready to take the ball and run with it. But, I am also discerning that many times they are engaging their soul more than their spirit. Remember, our soul consists of our mind, our will, and our emotions. Many times we can become so impassioned with the possibilities of what we can accomplish for God's kingdom, that we get out ahead of God's plan and schedule; devising our own program which is fueled by our own zeal and enthusiasm.
In truth, not every dream, or thought that comes into our minds is always from God. Sometimes they are our own thoughts, prompted by our desire to serve the Kingdom; and they can seem like God is speaking directly to our spirits, when in reality it is our soul generating the dreams and thoughts. That's where the difference between God honoring or blessing our ministry. And we have to ask ourselves an honest question ... is the condition of our heart to grow our ministry OR to advance the Kingdom? Granted, you can advance the Kingdom if your ministry is growing, and God will certainly honor those efforts; He will recognize, appreciate, and value your ministry. People will also recognize the validity of your ministry.
But I think we have to ask ourselves a very important question -- are we more driven to develop and grow our ministry; or are we more focused on representing God's Kingdom and taking back territory from the Enemy? Is the focus of our ministry centered on us and our reputation, or is it about declaring "thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven"? If it is the latter, then the ministry God has called us to will be blessed; there will be bountiful fruit that is borne from it.
I'm going to be honest here. The Lord has blessed the ministry that Mark and I have been called to. It is so encouraging [as well as gratifying] to see people that have been set free through our obedience to Christ, then answer His call on their life, and begin to work with Jesus to help set others free! I find it uncomfortable when someone makes an appointment and tells us that they have been hearing about us. No! I want them to be hearing about what Jesus is doing through us! It's always been about Jesus for us; about being obedient to His teachings and commands, fulfilling the same assignments as the Twelve Disciples were given. I want it to be said of us as it was said of them ... And they went out and
preached [the Gospel of the Kingdom] everywhere, while the Lord was working with them and confirming
the word by the signs that followed. And what did Jesus say would be the signs of those who believed in Him and were baptized in salvation? In My name they will cast out demons, they will speak in new tongues; they
will pick up serpents, and if they drink anything deadly, it will not
hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will get well. That is some fruit that cannot be ignored!
We are not interested in chasing after giftings of the Holy Spirit, knowing that we will be given any [or all] of the gifts as we need them [to advance the Kingdom] because the Holy Spirit will counsel us and train us, having all the gifts Himself to give as necessary. We do not desire titles or positions; only to be known as obedient followers of Christ and Kingdom ambassadors. Our validity comes from who Christ says we are, not any man.
It all comes back to a final question that Ms. DeGraw asked in her article ... Are we doing ministry for ourselves so we can release our anointing and
preach, pray and prophesy, or are we genuinely in love with God,
desiring to release the Spirit of God within us? One draws attention from others to us; the other focuses on the intentions of our heart towards the Father. One is an honor; the other a blessing which can result in changed lives for the Kingdom, which is synonymous with fruit. Just some things to consider if you are being called to ministry....
2 Timothy 2:15 Study and
do your best to present yourself to God approved, a workman who has no reason to be ashamed, accurately handling and skillfully teaching the word of truth.