Sometimes, one can get so busy in the ministry that it’s hard to discern if all you are doing is really what the Lord wants you to do. It is so easy for the many details that cry out for your attention to distract and deviate you from the call.
Last night (28 Feb 2013), I found myself asking, “Lord, am I doing what you have called me to do?” And immediately, the words He spoke to me years ago from the book of Jeremiah came to mind, “destroy and rebuild”. A while later, desiring to read the Word before retiring to bed, I picked up my Bible and it fell open to Jeremiah! And there it was, right before my very eyes …
“Then the LORD put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the LORD said to me, ‘Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out and to pull down, to destroy and to throw down, to build up and to plant.” Jeremiah 1:9,10
To me, this is a very clear reminder from the Lord to keep doing what I have been doing. Over the years, He has shown me things from His Word. There are many wrong and inaccurate teachings circulating within the Body of Christ. The emphasis continues to be on the individual more than Jesus. Standards are lowered so that numbers can be maintained. The result is, sadly, mediocre Christianity.
And yet, it is not easy to teach the right thing. Many do not want to know it for they are happy in their comfort zones. And when they hear something tougher than they can bear, they either ignore it, reject it or justify it.
For sure, this call to preach the Word without compromise is a tough one! That said, how can one build up if wrong foundations are not pulled down first? And to do this, mindsets must be broken and torn down, that new foundations can be laid. No wonder the Lord said to Jeremiah “Is not My word like a fire? And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?” Jer 23:29
“Yes, it is, Lord. But do I have to be the one to bring such fire-and-hammer messages?” I found myself protesting, “The people prefer prophetic declarations, faith proclamations, third heaven experiences and repeated assurances of how loving and gracious a God you are. These attract the biggest crowds and collect the biggest offerings.” Honestly, at times, it’s no fun being the bearer of tough news. Selfishly, I wanted people to like me for encouraging them through inspirational messages. Secretly, I desired to be a best-selling author with my face on the cover sporting a big toothy grin.
That may be my preferred mode of operation, but like Jeremiah, I find that “His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back but I could not.” (Jer 20:9) Each time I’ve tried to tone it down, to deliver a more pleasant message, I’ve found that I could not. It has been most frustrating, to say the least. Trust me, I’ve checked my heart for pride and self-righteousness over and over again for I sure have no intention to be the proverbial Pharisee!
And so, preach it, I must. As the saying goes, “I didn’t write the message, I’m only the mailman.” Obediently, I will be God’s arsonist and demolition man. Patiently, I will pour into lives that these may be raised up as true sons and daughters of God, built up as trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord!