Position Yourself to Help Others
- Thursday, March 23, 2006
One of the marks of a Christian is the desire to help others. Because Christ has changed the believer's heart, given him a new nature, and resides in him by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, that believer longs to see Christ and His character put on display through himself, craves to see hurting people helped, and yearns to see broken people transformed into worshippers of God. The Christian's supreme need is to see Christ glorified. Yet, many Christians find it difficult to minister to others for a variety of reasons. For those individuals, it may be that they need only to avail themselves of a few, simple biblical principles that would put them in a position to effectively minister to others.
First, the Christian's ability to help others will grow in direct proportion to her willingness to examine her own heart before God. Christians are admonished to engage in self-examination on a regular basis. This endeavor is beneficial for many reasons, yet three will suffice here.
The first benefit is the constant discovery and confession of sin, leading to an assurance of salvation, which enables the Christian to minister with confidence. Paul exhorted, "Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you; unless indeed you are disqualified (2 Cor. 13:5)?"
The second benefit is the constant mortification of pride, spurring us toward perseverance in the faith, which enables the believer to offer Christ with a humble spirit. Again, Paul affirmed, "But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified (1 Cor. 9:27)."
The third benefit is the constant preparation of the heart, leading to love for and humility before others, which enables us to see clearly how to proceed with ministry. The Lord Jesus Himself said, "First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye (Matt. 7:5)." Self-examination is prerequisite to ministry to others.
Second, the Christian's ability to help others will be fostered as he constantly applies the word to his own heart. We must deal with our hearts if we are to deal with our sin, our lifestyle, or anything else for that matter. The Scriptures are clear: "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks (Lk. 6:45)."
James exhorted quite plainly: "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves (Jas. 1:22)." If we fail to apply the word to our hearts and live accordingly, we deceive ourselves into thinking we are something we are not.
And remember, it is the word of God energized by the Spirit of God that brings about the change in our hearts we so desperately and continually need. Paul wrote the Thessalonian believers concerning the effectual power of the word of God. "For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe (1 Thess. 2:13)." The Christian must have the effectual working of the word in his heart if he is to minister to others.
Third, if a Christian wants to position herself to minister to others, she must establish a biblical pattern of life. Paul exhorted, "As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ (Col. 2:6-8)."
Note that our lives are to be rooted and built up in Christ. No substitute will do. If our roots are deep we will stand firm in the day of trouble. If they are not, we will fall. We sink our roots deep as we drink of Christ on a daily basis. We worship Him in spirit and with passion as our hearts and minds are gripped with truth. That comes by constant bible intake. As those roots sink deeper, we are built up. The superstructure of our lives is stronger and taller for Christ. We become mighty in the word, in the faith, and then in good works.
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