I remember the time in my life where I was wrestling with whether or not I would fully give myself to the will of God. I was 20 years old and had come to understand that my life, my thoughts, my actions, my ways, did not live up to God’s standard. I was reading the sermon on the mount in Matt 5 where Jesus was calling the meek “blessed.” I got so frustrated I threw the Bible to the floor and screamed out, ‘I can’t do it God! I am not meek. If someone wants to fight me, I want to fight them. I can’t be meek.’ It was then that I heard the inner voice of the Lord speak. “You’re right. You can’t do it, but I can do it through you.” To some, this may seem simple now, but back then it was profound. It was a revelation.
Eleven years later and gazing into the ministry that I feel that God has called me to, I find myself tempted to scream out again, “I can’t do it.” But, this time I know better. I actually get excited about this fact now!
In John 15 Jesus tells his followers, “Without me you can do nothing.” Man, that sure does take the pressure off of, doesn’t it? I don’t have to perform in my strength. I don’t have to work something up. In fact, I can rest in the fact that it’s only “in Christ” that I can “do all things.” When speaking of his ministry, the Apostle Paul says, “Our sufficiency is of God.” Wow! In a world, that teaches that our sufficiency is in ourselves and what we can work up, it’s refreshing to know that true ministry is always going to be “of Him, through Him, and to Him.”
On the other hand, it I haven’t learned to surrender to God’s ways, this reality could be difficult for me to swallow. Like some prideful man trying to carry a washing machine up six flights of stairs alone, hollering, “I got this!”; we are bound to fall and make a mess in the process. At the same time, God had his whole delivery team ready to get that thing up there for you without a sweat and have it fully installed!
EM Bounds sums things up this way, “true ministry is God-touched, God-enabled, and God-made. The Spirit of God is on the preacher in anointing power, the fruit of the Spirit is in his heart, the Spirit of God has vitalized the man and the word; his preaching gives life, gives life as the spring gives life; gives life as the resurrection gives life; gives ardent life as the summer gives ardent life; gives fruitful life as the autumn gives fruitful life. The life-giving preacher is a man of God, whose heart is ever athirst for God, whose soul is ever following hard after God, whose eye is single to God, and in whom by the power of God’s Spirit the flesh and the world have been crucified and his ministry is like the generous flood of a life-giving river.”
Now Christian, breathe easy. Missionaries, You can’t do it. You can’t make it happen. Neither can I.