Joy-sapping workloads, feelings of inadequacy, lack of apparent fruitfulness, and battle fatigue from spiritual warfare are some of the foes that threaten ministry motivation and endurance. Here are six truths that infuse me with biblical perspective and buoy my flagging spirit.
1. No matter what circumstances you face in your ministry, God’s presence is a constant reality.
This isn’t a radically new truth for you, but when you’re discouraged, you don’t always feel His presence. He seems distant. Satan taunts you with lies that they Lord has left you all alone to face your dilemma, and you’re on the verge of believing the devil.
But God’s Word, which promises His presence, is far more reliable than your feelings. See Matthew 28:20, John 14:16, and Hebrews 13:5. Memorizing these verses will help you fight unbelief when you aren’t conscious of His presence.
2. When sharing your faith or teaching the Bible, your source of confidence is the inherent power of God’s Word to change lives. Jeremiah 23:29; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 4:12; 1 Peter 1:23-25
Your confidence is not in your formal education or training.
Not in the grace gift of teaching or evangelism the Holy Spirit has given you.
Not in the magnetic pull of a riveting personality. (Even if you are among the few who have one.)
Not in your years of preaching or teaching experience.
When you speak, you’re a conduit for God’s words. It’s belief in His Word, not in yourself, that will boost your attitude before you start the sermon or lesson.
3. God often employs gut-wrenching delays to deepen a leader’s faith and to expand the borders of your ministry influence.
Study the lives of three Old Testament heroes: Abraham, Joseph, and David. Notice the extended, excruciating delays they experienced. Their stories illustrate why V. Raymond Edman said, “Delay never thwarts God’s purpose. It merely polishes His instrument.”
While you wait, digest the words of Psalm 62.
4. Fruitfulness in ministry is ultimately God’s responsibility, not yours. He measures success by your faithfulness to a task, not by outward results. 1 Corinthians 3:1-9; 1 Corinthians 12:4-6; 1 Corinthians 4:1-2
God evaluates His servants on the basis of faithfulness to His call, not results. Normally, faithfulness to a task spawns effectiveness, but Ezekiel and Jeremiah were notable exceptions.
Charles Colson emphasized this point: “God’s call is to be faithful rather than successful. We must continually use the measure of our obedience to the guidelines of His Word as the real—and only—standard of our ‘success,’ not some more supposedly tangible or glamorous scale.”
5. Your significance or identity as a person is not rooted in what you do for the Lord, but in what He has already done for you.
God “bought you with a price” (1 Cor. 6:19-20). That price was “the precious blood of Jesus” (1 Pet. 1:18-19). Nothing you do adds to your value in His eyes. Nothing you fail to do diminishes your value to Him. You serve because of who you are in Him, not in order to enhance significance in His eyes.
6. Frailty does not disqualify you from ministry; rather, it can enhance the outcomes of what you do. 1 Corinthians 1:26-29; 2 Cor. 4:7; 2 Cor. 12:9-10
Why does God employ broken, weak persons to accomplish important Kingdom work? So He, rather than they, receives the credit. Awareness of our need and limitations keeps us humble and dependent.
Which of these six truths means most to you right now? Why?
What is another insight from God’s Word that instills resiliency in you?
In Serve Strong, Terry’s book to encourage people in ministry, these six points take up eight of the book’s twenty-four chapters. In the book, Terry expands coverage of the biblical basis for each insight, then illustrates and applies it to various spheres of service.
Other chapters address the blessing of brokenness, why failure is not final, how pain can enhance your ministry, the value of knowing your precise call to ministry, reasons for not losing heart—and much more. Get the book at Amazon: