”Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.“ Ephesians 5:21
I have been involved in church ministries for several years now and am grateful to be part of God‘s work. I have grown up in church, and I have seen my parents be active in and even lead ministries. I have learned there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes, and I also know the Devil will look for any angle to attack the work of God.
In most ministries, there are co-labors who work alongside you. When you take into account those you serve with and those you serve in a given ministry, you have a recipe for disaster with that many people and personalities involved. I have heard it jokingly said that the ministry would be great if it were not for people. People can get upset with one another and have disagreements over things which sometimes are quite petty. Ephesians 6:12 reminds us of our real enemies, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
In the Freedom That Lasts ministry, I have had people give me unsolicited feedback, and while feedback can be gift, it may not be a gift you asked for or wanted. I have had people question why I felt I was qualified to run the ministry, and there have been some who have complained about the length of the praise time. I will say I don’t always appreciate getting negative feedback, but I know I must bathe it in prayer so that I do not grow angry or bitter. I must remember the goal of any ministry is to lead others to Jesus Christ, whether in justification or in sanctification. We must always keep the goal of the ministry front and center and not get caught up in petty differences, and we must deal with one another with a submissive heart.
I have learned that Freedom That Lasts is not my ministry or anyone else’s ministry, but it is God’s ministry. I must be led of God in my personal life and in the ministry. I cannot afford to have continued conflict, unforgiveness, or bitterness in my dealings with God’s people and those who am I trying to win. Proverbs 13:10 states, “Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.” I must fight against my own way and my own will, and continuously submit myself to others who work alongside me and those who attend the weekly Bible studies. The Devil loves contention, but God hates it when it is born of pride. Proverbs 8:13 states,“The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward (perverse) mouth, do I hate.” It‘s easy to hate pride in others, but we must hate in ourselves first.
How is your heart today? Are you angry with one another in the ministry? Have you grown bitter against someone? Are you seeking the Kingdom of God, or are you desiring to control everything and pursuing your own way? Do you give others the benefit of the doubt or do you always see the worst in everybody and in every situation? Do you buck up when given feedback, or do you humbly submit and prayerfully weigh what is told to you? May we first submit to God and then submit to one another in humility and brotherly kindness. What a world it will be if we obey God’s Word and live with an attitude of yielding to one another.
Stay in the fight!