We have an army of ministers and servants in the body of Christ, commissioned and thrust forward into the Harvest field. Unfortunately though as Roy Hessian puts it in His book 'We would see Jesus' "declaring a gospel that they themselves haven't come to terms with." The fault lies primarily in inadequate teaching.
We are taught that we need to take our attention off of ourselves and focus on the needs of others, "live a selfless life and you'll become more grateful for your lot and you'll obtain fulfillment through helping others in their situations."And believe me many well meaning people look at life through this perspective, hoping to make a difference.
The issue is that the gospel holds pertinent answers to life's circumstances and situations, but unless we have truly harnessed them for ourselves we become irrelevant to the very people we set out to help.
For years the image of the mad man wearing a sandwich board on the street corner shouting "The end is nigh" has become the mocking symbol of the evangelist. And while this is offensive, perhaps the world has come across too many characters that stand and point the finger in judgment only to hear shortly after that that great preacher has fallen by the same vices he so ardently condemned.
Believe me when I state as a member of the human race, I am equally touched with the weaknesses inherent in my counter parts and this is not a self righteous rant. But what I wish to convey is that the gospel so often remains untapped in its immense potential because we miss certain key points in its intrinsic message.
It's been said hurting people hurt people; Jesus said I have come that you may have life and life more abundantly. The hurt and pain life has dealt us can receive complete healing in the gospel, but despite what we are sometimes taught, this probably won't happen over night.
If we are to really be individuals that can be a blessing to the lives of others, we need to develop our selves. John Maxwell made the statement; "Leadership is influence." And this essentially puts us all into the position of a leader because were all influencing some one. Jesus describes us as the 'salt of the earth', the 'light of the world'. As His body we are to be His 'hands and feet', the church is a representation of God on the earth. If we are to be 'Christ like' what did Jesus do? He went around doing good healing the sick, raising the dead, casting out devils, providing peoples needs and teaching with authority the truth that sets men free.
To be an agent of this nature you definitely need Gods spirit inside you, manifesting Him through you, but you also need to invest in your self. And I don't just mean the occasional bible study or prayer meeting. While the key spiritual disciplines of Bible study and prayer are essential, we also need to recognize our need to grow.
Christianity has been dogged more by a poverty mentality, than any over ambitious prosperity preacher. If we are always 'scrapping by', we are not in a position to realistically help others. 'It's right and healthy and Godly to invest in ourselves and our own personal development so that we can actually be a testament of Gods power to change a life.'
I would like to highlight three things that I believe will help us; the apostle who originally put them in this order, said essentially "when all is said and done, these three remain." They are inevitably "Faith Hope and Love."
"Now Faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews Ch 11v1. Faith is the very essence of a walk with God, The bible goes so far as to say; "That without faith it is impossible to please God." Hebrews Ch 11v6. Its so easy to live our lives getting our doctrine perfectly right, but in James Ch 1 v 27 the Bible says "Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you." So simply getting all the jigsaw pieces right with no expression renders our faith worthless.
In James Ch 2v15-17 it says; "Suppose you see a brother or a sister who has no food or clothing, and you say "good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well"-but then you don't give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?" The truth is if we don't have enough to meet these basic human needs why are we purporting ourselves as leaders and the solution, scripture reveals the oxymoron at work here, faith applied practically to our lives enables us to be blessed to be a blessing.
In Jeremiah Ch 6v14 The Word says; "They have healed the hurt of My people slightly saying, 'Peace, peace!' When there is no peace." If we assume we can wade into the sea of human chaos and make a difference when our hurt is only healed slightly, we involve our selves in a very destructive cycle. Nothing I'm saying is to condemn us for not being where we want to be, but I'm encouraging us to invest in ourselves applying faith with a visionary perspective that see's the need and develops ourselves in to a vessel to meet it.
Proverbs Ch 13v12 says; "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life." Bacteriologist Rene Dubois of the Rockefeller Institute has made this statement: "Aimlessness and lack of fulfillment constitute the most common cause of organic and mental disease in the Western world." There is hope! And as Gods people on this earth we are to be 'symbols of hope'. As the text and statement above convey; hopelessness is very destructive. Therefore it stands to reason that as 'symbols of hope' we should exude hope and expectation.
The bible says for lack of vision the people perish and cast off restraint. If we don't know what were aiming for, were not only guaranteed to hit it, but we'll also find we have nothing to hope for and by default will live hopeless lives. If we desire to be a part of the solution a genuine sense of hope routed in practical faith is going to be essential to enabling us to see lasting change in our lives and in the lives of others.
Corinthians Ch 13v13 says; "Three things last forever-faith, hope, and love-and the greatest of these is love." As we come to the crescendo of our trio, we see the real essence of all we have been discussing encapsulated in this one word love. The bible says in 1 John Ch 4v8 "for God is Love." If we are to be agents for change in a world racked with need, we need to recognize the solution to the world's predicament is a personality that is knowable even God almighty, who in our text we discover is the entire embodiment and persona of love itself.
Coming to terms with the gospel is; 'knowing Him' and the power of His resurrection life. Having His resurrection life coursing through our beings. This comes from walking with God and the ennobling dignifying work that this brings.
Attending services and involvement in ever so much religious activity will never make us competent in meeting the needs of humanity; we have to love ourselves, in order to love our neighbor as our selves. And we demonstrate our love for God by knowing Him, then allowing our characters to exude His very presence, diffusing the fragrance of His knowledge in every place; as His word says in 2 Corinthians Ch 2v14.; (
Omar Phillips writes articles aimed at helping us live the abundant life we were put on the earth to live. He firmly believes, God is on our side and that life is to be lived to its fullest. He invites you to join him as he documents his journey. Visit him at:[http://www.facesetlikeflint.co.uk] to find out more.