Read Time: 4 minutes 45 seconds
Do not compare, compete with or covet another’s ministry or status. It kills the anointing and the unity of the body. The works of the flesh are these, but the spirit that’s full of Jesus is so full of love for everyone to succeed more than they do. That spirit is large—a man among boys, a father among little children, a king among so many peasants. Yet a servant of all.
The apostle Paul possessed it when he said, “You are already full! You are already rich! You have reigned as kings without us—and indeed I could wish you did reign, that we also might reign with you!” (1 Cor. 4:8, NKJV).
Oh for bondservants like Paul today! It would change the landscape of Christianity.
“For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men” (1 Cor. 4:9).
Today they are counted first and exalted as superheroes, bringing glee to devils. Walking frauds they are, with a big “P,” for pride, written across their chests and foreheads for the dark world to clearly see. They are popular with men but not known in hell. Hell’s demons know Jesus and Paul, but they are no threat to them. Only these selfless characteristics are marked in hell with a warrant out for their arrest.
“We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonored!” (1 Cor. 4:10). Do we have any idea what these verses mean and how far we’ve fallen?
The world had little influence on men like Paul. His master, Jesus, taught him well. He didn’t need men to give him authority. Publicity and popularity were never his goal.
Jesus, the Pattern Son
Jesus upset the demonic world. Today these imps sit among these so-called super apostles and the super elite—men who live for earth’s applause. They feed on the spotlight.
Jesus, the pattern Son and the darling of heaven, lived very differently. The moonlight, not the spotlight, was the highlight of His life and ministry. He spent many nights and early mornings in prayer. The mountain was His preference. It was there He secured the Father’s presence. It was there He made His choices while blocking out other voices. It was there He was given manna for each new day. This is where Jesus received His authority.
Ministers, hearken! If you do not spend time alone, you will always be a clone. You will clone ministry ideas, visions and strategies from others. You will copy and imitate the gifts and graces of others. Your authority will only come from man. You will drink from someone else’s well. You will steal someone else’s word. You will be a spiritual schizophrenic. Insecurity and intimidation will produce a soulish imitation void of God’s power in your life and ministry. You will always be looking to increase your status.
Except perhaps in lands where Christians live under the threat of martyrdom each day, this character of true apostles and ministers has nearly disappeared from the earth.
“To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now.” (1 Cor. 4:10-13)
The early apostles gave themselves to prayer and the Word (Acts 6:4), so they could continue walking with the Lamb in suffering and sacrifice, as lambs themselves. Always giving of themselves to others. Always loving and dying so others could live. Oh, for that spirit to gain an abundant entrance into the affairs of the church and of men today! What a change it would make! My dear brother and sister, it can only come one way, through soul travail.
Men of Soul Travail Carry God’s Presence
The travail of your own soul will make your spirit whole. Christ will come to the front. Flesh will move to the back. The quiet retreat of your soul will propel the Spirit’s attack. Your soul will extract the old and attract the new. The stale will move out, and the fresh will move in. The Lord will be drawn to your broken, subsiding soul. The light will break forth, and all will be clear as the Spirit of the Lord draws near. Wrong steps will be made right as you walk in the light. Shadows will flee in the holy of holies. Weeds and thorns are plucked out, and pure seeds will now sprout. It’s all in His presence. Rain begins; droughts end; frustration ceases; satisfaction increases—all in His presence.
Alterations are made in His presence. You are refurbished and restored in His presence. You are redesigned and remade in His presence. You advance as you dance in His presence. Expectations are raised as the Lord is praised. Your wounds are healed and your destiny sealed. Wineskins are renewed, and His words become your food—in His presence. Mishaps are averted and demons are diverted by His presence. Warnings are given and life is worth living in His presence. All His loving and all His kissing; you don’t know what you’ve been missing in His presence. Oh, what so many ministers lose by neglect—by default—when they fail to show up—when they fail to draw near!
“Oh, cry for personal holiness, constant nearness to God by the Blood of the Lamb! Bask in His beams; lie in the arms of His love; be filled with the Spirit; or all success in the ministry will only be to your own everlasting confusion.” —Robert M. McCheyne