Can Your Ministry Be A Work Of The Flesh?
"There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus…" This verse is often quoted, but most often it stops there. Read the rest of the verse: "...who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit." Romans 8:1 One can quickly discern those who are in Christ Jesus, versus those who walk in the flesh. When one is "born again" he is so filled with the Spirit of God that everything in his life centers around love of the things of God, not the love of religion, but love of the truth. This is not by effort, it's not even by his will, it is the natural manifestation of the Spirit of God within. It is a beautiful thing to see a person born again, to see his entire soul being infused with the Spirit of God, changing his whole outlook, so changing the person that the Lord is on his mind all the time. You can't talk with a born-again person without that person starting to speak of the things of the Lord in the very first few minutes. It's his whole life now. The Spirit of God fills every nook and cranny of his being. If this is not the case in anyone who thinks he's in the Lord, then that person must seriously examine whether he has actually been born again or not. Those who claim to know Christ but who don't really, that becomes very obvious soon into the conversation. Maybe they're involved in some kind of ministry, some good work, but Christ is not dwelling and alive within. They'll eagerly talk about what their ministry is accomplishing, but you won't hear them talk about Christ himself. If a pastor, he'll tell you numbers, how many are listening to him. He'll tell you how many services he has to conduct on Sundays. If it's an author, you'll hear repeatedly, "...as I said in my book..." The focus will be on himself. The love for Christ, the passion, the desire for intimacy with him, is simply not there. Their focus is on what they're doing, the things they're doing "in the flesh," because it's obvious they're not doing them in the Spirit. You can't have the Spirit of God and not be totally in love with the Lord. Can ministry be a work of the flesh? Absolutely. And you will know that man by his FOCUS. "For those who live according to the flesh SET THEIR MINDS on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit." Romans 8:5 Anything that is not done under the direction of the Spirit of God is flesh. The things done may be good things, but they're being done under the direction of the man's own soul, to gain respect, popularity; in other words, the focus is on himself. Here is an appeal to anyone who is active in some ministry or other. Examine yourself to see whether what you're doing is for yourself, or for the Lord. Examine yourself to see whether it is under the direction of the Lord, or whether it is your own soul striving to find "self esteem" through your works, to gain respect from people, rather than to honor the Lord by walking in total surrender and obedience before him. And should you see that it's all about you rather than all about him, spend some time before him in prayer and repentance, and let him direct you in getting your heart right before him. It might be that you've missed the very first step, that of being born again in the first place. "Now if anyone does not have the SPIRIT of Christ, he is not his." Romans 8:9 Let the Spirit of God so fill you that all you ever want to accomplish is only that which he wants to accomplish through you, to glorify God in all that you do, and in all that you are, while yourself being ONLY the tool.