Have you ever struggled with pride? It’s something that I’ve been learning to juggle the last couple of weeks. I was telling one of my mentors recently that I really have a hard time accepting positive feedback or compliments, because I’m so wary of becoming prideful. This is especially true when it comes to what I write about. I write about Grace and about God and about Christ, and honestly it just doesn’t feel like any of the truths God is sending out into the world through me are really anything I can take credit for. They are His actions I speak about. They are His words that I build from.
And so for me, to pursue my dream which is to write for Christ, is also to find a balance between what is healthy encouragement and what praise I direct toward God. With social media it is all too easy to get caught up in the how many likes, how many shares, how many comments, how many views, aspect. I have found myself clicking multiple times a day on my social media apps to check the updates and the stats. It can be overwhelming, both if a post is doing well and having to keep up that type of quality, and if a post is not doing well and questioning whether or not I have really done God’s will in writing it. I have found that I begin to experience burn out when that becomes my focus, and in return I struggle to produce the type of quality content that God’s Kingdom deserves.
Lately, I have been praying that God would give me words to keep and words to share. In other words, that I would know what God wants me to store in my heart and what God wants me to send out into the world. While I am not in formal ministry, (my ministry is really only this blog at the moment), I think this bodes true for any of us serving God by speaking to the world about Him. We have to continue to maintain and to grow in our own personal relationship with God. We can’t keep pouring Grace into hearts and lives if we are empty. And friends, if the social media aspect of our ministry is draining us…then we need to summon enough Grace to walk away for awhile…to go out into our boats across the sea like Christ did, and just be with God on our own.
Even if you’re not in ministry, it can be true for any of us followers of Christ. We feel as though going out into the world is more important than the sitting at Jesus’ feet. We are called to be on mission, but we weren’t called to give up our own Grace. We weren’t called to exhaust our relationship with Christ.
This is the height of Grace, that God who is higher does the work that only One who is Holier can do. He does the building. He lays the foundation. He opens the windows and the doors. We simply walk inside. We sit in His presence. We overflow with His message. We experience His love. We witness His faithfulness…and we yearn to be like Christ. We hunger for humility, and we thirst for Grace. We cover ourselves in prayer, and we take time with the Father. And we love others, we lay down our lives and our egos and our pride for the world…just like Christ did. Because we know that something better than all of those things is coming.
And this is what we all need to know, that Grace can only come from the God who created it. That life giving words can only flow from Him. That anything we manage to build in this life is actually established by the God who lays the foundation. It is in Him, and through Him, and by Him, that we have our being. And it is by His power that we have the work that we do set before us.
He may be using you to bring His people home to Him, but He is also speaking to you to bring you there as well. God is doing mission work in your heart too.
Matthew 6:43-45 “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”
Our mission work should be the overflow of our hearts. And to have an overflow means that we first must be full. If we are running on empty because we’ve poured everything that God was intending to fill us with out into the world to essentially build a bigger base, then we will not reach a point of overflow again and our ministry will essentially become something we use to build our own kingdoms…instead of God’s.
Our words should be an echo of what God has already said. We look for the best ways to spin the story, the most beautiful words with which to most accurately display the splendor of our God, but God doesn’t really need our dressing up. He’s already more beautiful and powerful than we make Him. All He asks of us is that we remain honest and true to Him, that we stick close by His side in Grace, that we keep looking up towards His face for assurance, that we keep our ears tuned to His voice, and that we reflect the Life of Christ. That our own lives remain filled with the fullness of His Grace. And out of the overflow of all of that building up in our hearts…our mouths will speak words worthy of the Kingdom and our ministries will exude the humility of our Christ.
This is the height of Grace, that we who are nothing possess everything in Him. That our words are washed clean and poured out through the filtering, refining, and empowerment of the Holy Spirit. That our hearts are filled to the brim with life that God places there. It is only out of the overflow of these things building up in our own hearts that our ministries can point to Him.
Ephesians 3:14-20 “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”