Weariness of mind, body, and spirit.
Feelings of inadequacy.
Discouragement over apparent lack of fruitfulness.
What instills resiliency to face these and other obstacles to ministry motivation?
For me, one answer is memorizing timeless promises in God’s Word. The six promises that follow provide high octane fuel that keeps me going.
1. 1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.
Paul attached his call to ministry perseverance, caboose-style, to the promise of resurrection. That our service won’t be in vain (empty-handed) is as sure as Jesus’ resurrection, and ours. Also see the sow-reap principle in Galatians 6:7-9. Paul applies it positively so we won’t lose heart in ministry.
2. Matthew 28:19-20 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
Though God guarantees His constant presence to all believers (Isaiah 41:10; John 14:16; Hebrews 13:5), Jesus applied this particular promise to those who share the gospel, teach converts, and assimilate them into the life of a local church.
We won’t always feel His presence, but His promise to be with us is more reliable than our fickle feelings.
3. 2 Corinthians 12:9 My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.
What we think hinders our effectiveness—frailties of temperament; disadvantages linked to our past, or limitations of any sort—actually increases rather than decreases the likelihood of usefulness to God. He employs weak people to accomplish extraordinary things so He receives the credit. See this reason for God’s tendency to use the weak in 1 Corinthians 1:26-29 and 2 Corinthians 4:7.
4. 2 Corinthians 3:5-6 Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant.
Human endeavor is necessary, but never sufficient for effective ministry. Unless the Holy Spirit works within us and within those we serve or teach, nothing of eternal significance happens. According to Acts 16:14, God opened the heart of Lydia, not Paul. Our adequacy depends on His power, not ours.
5. Hebrews 4:12 The Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
What engenders confidence in our witnessing and teaching opportunities?
Not our degree of giftedness. Not our experience or past successes. Not our personality or public charisma. The only valid answer to the question is the inherent power of God’s Word. When we feel unworthy or unqualified to communicate His Word, we’re rejuvenated by remembering that His Word—not ours—is what penetrates minds and hearts.
Buttress this promise with other verses on the efficacy of Scripture: Jeremiah 23:29; 1 Thessalonians 2:13, and 2 Timothy 3:14-17.
6. The Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.
Serve God and spiritual warfare escalates. Whether the attacks come from opposition, a convergence of aggravating circumstances, or a ramping up of temptation, the enemy’s efforts to thwart our ministry are inevitable. Yet “greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
Which promise encourages you most today?
What Bible promise that instills sustenance in servants would you add?
In my book, Serve Strong: Biblical Encouragement To Sustain God’s Servants, I explain and illustrate these truths and many others. Theologian and author James I. Packer calls Serve Strong a “potent antibiotic for the Christian worker’s struggling soul.” Get it here: