There I was, standing in line to register the first day of Bible College at Bob Jones University. The Lord had called me to ministry, and I was ready to change the world, (with God’s help of course.) My self-disicipline and hard work were going to pay off and I was going to become a great and famous minister of the gospel, just like the guys I read about in the biographies. I wasn’t in need of Christ ministering to me, I was ready to minister to others. The Lord taught me otherwise. I went through three very intense struggles that first year, but I would not trade them for the world. God taught me much about myself, and most importantly about Him. I’d like to share a few of them with you today.
Lesson Number One:
I had to come to an understanding that I truly am a sinner.
When I submitted to God’s call to the ministry I thought that God was lucky to have me give up my plans to follow His. God needs ministers doesn’t he? God, however, showed me that I was totally unworthy of His salvation and grace and totally unworthy of being called to the ministry. It was His grace alone that called me to Salvation, and it was His grace alone that called me to ministry. (1 Timothy 1:12-15; 2 Timothy 1:9-11)
Lesson Number Two:
I had to come to an understanding that I was dead to sin.
Once I came to the realization that I was a greater sinner than I thought, Satan moved in and tried to get me to look back at who I used to be. The sins of my youth came back to haunt me. When God stepped in to convict me of my pride, Satan stepped in to condemn me. How could someone like me preach the gospel? Satan hammered me once again with temptations to go back to my sinful ways and a few times I even gave in. God in His grace, brought to my attention Romans 6 and 7. He also used 2 Corinthians 5:17 to remind me that I was a new creature in Christ. This process was humbling, but God was stripping me of confidence in myself in order to give me confidence in Him. It is in Him that we have all spiritual blessings, power, and strength (Ephesians 1:3). Be sure that every time God steps in to help us move forward, Satan will be there encouraging us to look back. Christ is our redeemer(Ephesians 1:7). Satan is our accuser (Revelation 12:10).
Lesson Number Three:
I had to come to an understanding that my spiritual growth was not done.
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6).
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure (Philippians 2:12-13).
I had some false understandings about what it means to truly lead and shepherd. I thought that I couldn’t have any issues and had to be flawless in every sense of the word spiritually in order to lead in Christ’s church. Yes, I must live according to the biblical qualifications found 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1, but I am not infallible. I am to model not only my spiritual victories but my spiritual struggles (1 Corinthians 11:1). I was not to give into sin freely, but I am called to model the good fight against sin (1 Timothy 6:11-12). God called me to be a living example not a flawless trophy.
- Don’t be proud. You are a sinner.
- Don’t be distraught. God has saved you and made you new.
- Be humble yet confident in Christ. We lead in our spiritual battles more often than in our spiritual victories.