Is doing the work of God killing God’s work in us?

4 01 2011

“Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” (Matthew 7:21-23)

 

Today is my first day back at work after having two weeks off for Christmas and vacation. Crazy how just a few short weeks gives you a whole new fresh perspective. During my vacation home, I couldn’t help but notice that an overarching theme was a sense of exhaustion, a weariness and a tiredness despite my futile attempts to rest in between a series of lunches, meetings, coffee, shopping, driving from here to there and back again. Although I loved every second of my time at home as well as all of the stories and fun moments with friends, I was almost relieved to come back to California where life isn’t quite so crazy.

I know that God has put me in ministry for a reason. And that reason is to glorify Him, to worship Him, to put Him first. I was listening to a sermon by John Piper today that mentioned this very idea. No matter what I do, where I go or how I do it, what is my underlying motivation? As I always say, every time I do anything I should be adding the words “for the glory of God” at the end of my sentence ( a nifty lesson I learned from another John Piper sermon awhile ago). But there is more, even though I am working for the glory of God, what is my motivation? Is it simply to make much of God, out of utter reverence for His kingdom? Or is it because I feel more loved by God when He is making much of me? As Piper said, the second is idolatry of the worst kind. It’s the kind where we trick ourselves. We think we are doing all these great things for God, for His Kingdom, but instead, we have an underlying belief that the more we do, the more God loves us, the more we do, the more glory we get for ourselves. And God will say to us, “depart from me, I never knew you.”

 

So how can we ever know that this is not happening to us? How can we know that what we are doing is for God’s glory alone and not our own? During Spiritual Formation this morning at Amor, we talked about this very thing. Our leader, Mark Summerfield (an Amor Ministries partner from Urban Saints) asked us the question, “How do we know that doing the work of God is not killing God’s work in us?” Weird how God uses different people in completely different places for the same goals 🙂 In order for God to work in us, we need to give God a chance. If we are constantly busy running 18 different directions and only giving God a passing glance in between, how can we let God feed us spiritually? We can’t.  God wants us to fall on our face before Him. To give ourselves completely to Him in worship and to rest in Him. To listen for His whisper, to follow His direction. But we can not do this if we never stop. We will be weary, drained, lackluster people. Not shining, rejuvinated worshipers of the only true God.

So I will put my hope in Christ, and He will fill me so that I can continue in His purposes. He leads me and directs my paths, he gives me rest and I will glorify Him, not for myself, not for my goals, but for Him alone, that He is adored by all.

 

In His love,

Stacey

 

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