“Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, . . ." Acts 20:28
Paul delivers a solemn charge to all in church leadership that they should pay attention to their own spiritual condition. Unless they were living in constant contact with the Lord, they could not expect to lead the church. The primary function of Jesus’ disciples and His church is to make God real; to demonstrate the grace of His life and work; to reveal His love; to lead others into a friendship with Christ; cultivate and deepen a spirit of worship; to live in and give a sense of awe and reverence; growing in dependence of looking to and waiting upon God.
Often, we take the task of extending His kingdom solely on our own efforts and energy. We become over-anxious and over-active. We multiply ministries, organize meetings, talk, work, and our efforts produce little results. They are met with apathy and half-heartedness from others and, eventually we become weary in our well-doing. We discover we have made one mistake.
We mistakenly believed the success of the mission depended on our own efforts; that we have to help God out. We bought the fatal idea that we are to bring the kingdom of God to earth for God. This has robbed us of effectiveness and fruitfulness in ministry to others.
Self-sustained Christianity has penetrated into our devotional life as well. Worship becomes mechanical and patronizing. In the presence of God we tend to do all the talking. We pray as though we can save ourselves. As a result, our prayers are powerless, so we cut our prayers short and return to adding to our good works. Our soul is under-nourished. The important thing in prayer is not what we say to God, but what He says to us.
In life and ministry we must learn to live wisely. We have to learn that our talents, gifts, and service are useless if God is not in it. Rest in the Lord reminds us that works without faith are barren.
Are you doing good works without the presence of the Lord?