21-Day Challenge: Day 16

Not about us

For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. (2 Corinthians 4:5)

This guy obviously thinks he's pretty hot stuff. God used him anyway.

This guy obviously thinks he’s pretty hot stuff. God used him anyway.

It’s not about me. Nor is it about you.

It doesn’t matter what our strengths or weaknesses are, the ministry of the new covenant will carry on through our lives in spite of them. In this case, our strengths only serve to get in the way.

In the old covenant, we thought of our natural strengths as assets to the ministry. We brought all the best we had to the table and expected God to appreciate it and incorporate it into our ministry. We thought our best plus God equaled a winning formula. But this couldn’t be anything further from the truth.

Our best + God = Disaster.

Our best is our worst enemy. Our best only gets in the way of God. In the new covenant, our natural strengths only mess things up. Incorporating our strengths doesn’t make the ministry any better. In fact, learning the new covenant is all about unlearning what we have relied on most of our lives up until now, and this is what makes our natural strengths so dangerous. They keep us from discovering and using the power of the Spirit of God in our lives.

As long as we think we can rely, as we always have, on our strengths, we will be rendering the new covenant ineffective. God is not interested is partnering with our assets. He wants to take over.

My first mentor in the new covenant realized, and rightfully so, that he was going to have to wean me from my guitar if I was going to discover the power of the Spirit in my life. In those early days, it was all about me. With my guitar strapped on, God and I were pretty hot stuff. Problem was, my guitar and my songs were what I relied on and hid behind. My musical talent was like a veil for me, hiding all my insecurities and inadequacies. As long as I had a guitar around my neck, the Spirit of God was not in control.

But in the new covenant, our insecurities and inadequacies are not something to cover up; they are our pathways to power.

Our weaknesses are not anything we have to be concerned about, as if we had to work on them in order to overcome them. Actually, we will find our weaknesses as our greatest asset to the new covenant ministry. They unlock the power of God in us.

Our worst + God = Success.
This struggle is never over. I mention the guitar thing because it’s easy to see how it got in the way. But losing one veil doesn’t mean we can’t put up another one. Learning to stop relying on one strength doesn’t mean we don’t pick up another and not even notice.

It’s not about you, and it’s not about me; it’s about the Lord Jesus Christ and us as His servants. “Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy comes from God” … and God alone.

Challenge: Day 16
For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.

Paul is saying he serves others and does not expect others to serve him. Just like we, as ministers of the new covenant, are to serve others for Jesus’ sake, because we are servants of Jesus Christ. No one is the boss or in charge over anyone else. We are compelled by His love, for the promotion of His glory. It is the desire of our hearts.

Action items:
Who is the focus on? Who is the focus not on?
Given “For we do not preach ourselves”, why do we often notice ourselves and others enjoying praise and attention? Are any of us capable of saving anyone?
Who are we accountable to? Why?
Do we or do we not play a critical supporting role? Or are by bystanders?
What strengths do you have that could stand in the way of the new covenant ministry?
What weaknesses do you have that could unlock God’s power in your life?

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2 Responses to 21-Day Challenge: Day 16

  1. TimC says:

    I find it interesting that even though you recognize that your strengths plus God was disaster for you, nevertheless, like you have recognized, God used your music to touch many people’s lives. I remember your music and concerts, but I don’t remember the message being, “I think I’m pretty hot stuff.” I remember thinking, “It’s OK to be a Christian, and to enjoy being a Christian, and to enjoy music with a Christian message. I don’t have to listen to that other junk all the time. There is a worthwhile choice in what I listen to.” Music speaks to people’s hearts in ways that a lot of other modes of communication can’t and don’t. So again, like you have said, no matter how human and flawed we are, God uses us to be a light to the world.

  2. Markus says:

    It is obvious that the focus must be on God. I don’t think that enjoying praise and attention is bad though. This feeling, however, must be tamed with a dose of humbleness that it is born out of the knowledge that it was God’s will that put you into this position of praise and attention. As for saving anybody, well, how are *we* supposed to do this? We can let ourselves be used by the Holy Spirit, but ultimately the whole saving thing is God’s business, not ours. As for us playing a critical supporting role… sort of. We might play that important role at times, but we are replacable. We can be replaced by everybody and even by everything with whom/with which God wants to replace us.

    As for *my* strengths and weaknesses, frankly I suspect that a lot of them are identical. I can be stubborn both for good and bad. The same goes for my sarcasm, and many other things. As for “real” weaknesses, there are a couple. Weaknesses do also make it easier for others to see that you do not have to be perfect to be a believer though. It is okay to struggle.

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