My spiritual father has a favorite saying he’s used for years when things get tough. No matter how difficult the situation, he’ll put a big smile on his face and say, “We win!”
His Inscriptions readers are an amazing group of leaders in your local churches, families, and communities! It is you I want to encourage today with this special focus on ministry.
As I sat with the Lord in prayer this week, He gave me a picture of three doors. With the exception of our quiet times, these three doors are meant to remain open, the Presence of God accompanying us as we pass through each door into different spheres of influence.
The first door was the door to our heart, or our "innermost room." Jesus called believers to go into this innermost place and close the door so that we could commune with the Father in secret. The Passion Translation describes this place as the "resting place of His love" (Ephesians 3:17), the source and root of all that we do. Our first and primary ministry as priests will always be to the Lord.
This sacred space in our hearts is like the "Holy of Holies" - a place where there is a divine exchange of our sin for His righteousness, our unworthiness for His love, and our humanness for His supernatural Spirit. It is the only place in Scripture I know of where we are told to close the door, seal ourselves off, and be alone. We "cap our wells," so to speak, for the sake of replenishment and stillness before the Lord.
The second door opened to those closest to us: family and friends with whom we live our daily lives. The places we walk on a daily basis present us with the opportunity to love those around us as an outward expression of our inward love for Christ. This represented our secondary ministry, second only to God.
The third door opened to the world of our communities, churches, and nations; our "metron" or expanded sphere of ministry. While many believers place this sphere first, that is not the biblical pattern. (See 1 Timothy 5:8.) What exactly is our ministry? It is the ministry of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:11-21).
The beautiful truth of the New Testament is that God's "door" is always open. The veil that separated us from intimacy with Him was torn at Christ's death, and we are now able to boldly approach His throne through Jesus's righteousness! Hallelujah!
Paul said he "resolved to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified." (1 Corinthians 2:2) The message of Christ is our ministry! For our message to be authentic and powerful, we must ourselves be ministered to by the Lord.
2 Corinthians 3, 4, and 5 describe a new perspective on ministry. Ministry at its best is not an "office" or a title, but a position of servanthood. Here is what one of the most qualified Jewish leaders of Bible times thought about Christian ministry once he was converted:
As someone who grew up partially deaf, I find it hard to imagine what life would be like hearing everything! Up until a certain point, there were sounds I had simply never heard: birdsong, for instance, the purring of a cat, the hum of a refrigerator, or the whisper of a friend.
Not so with God!
Praise God, we never have to wonder whether God hears the cries of our hearts, as this beautiful word illustrates. Perhaps these quiet-time whispers He shared with me will not be as revelatory to those who grew up hearing everything and wishing for silence. But for someone who heard mostly silence and wished to hear everything, these words are good news! I pray they will minister to your hearts as they did to mine.
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A severe hearing loss from childhood caused Deborah Perkins to develop what she now calls her secret weapon: tuning in to God's voice. A Wellesley College graduate and an award-winning writer, Deborah is now a wife and mother of 3 boys. Deborah has devoted over 25 years to professional and lay Christian ministry in New England and beyond. Her passion is inspiring people to cultivate greater intimacy with God.