God gives us two commandments: love God and love people. As long as we remain focused on ourselves we cannot obey these commandments. People are focused on themselves because of pride, problems or purpose.
These are not wrong; we should have a healthy self-pride, deal with our problems, and discover our purpose. If we only do those things, however, we never get beyond ourselves and our lives remain in self-seeking maintenance. As we get past ourselves and focus on loving God and loving others, we enter the world of ministry. That is what we were made for.
An old car can function well if it has been well maintained. If not, the motor is smoking, the brakes are squeaking and the body is rusting; it is unsafe. Some people are like that; if they have forsaken the Bible maintenance plan, then sin brings darkness, failure and destruction. Sometimes life is so bad that people need more than a tune up; they need a complete overhaul, a rebuilt motor, new brakes and even a new body. Restoration miracles are possible with Jesus, but it requires spending lots of time in the mechanic shop and afterwards, one must live in obedience to God’s Word. Failure to receive fresh Holy Spirit oil in your motor and failure to stay on the road of life will ruin your ride and result in constant breakdowns and disasters. If we do not live with a good spiritual maintenance program then our lives are a wreck and we are always in need of repair. Self becomes the sad focus of our lives.
FORGET ABOUT IT
Living in obedience to God’s Word will result in abundant blessings and a well-maintained life. Then you can get beyond yourself, focus on ministry and discover the reason for your existence. You can forget about yourself because God will take care of you. Then you can experience the adventure of serving others.
The Bible says, “The Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go.
He told them, ‘The harvest is plentiful…Go I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.” Lk. 10:1-2-3
It is time for you to go beyond maintenance and into ministry. It was not only the twelve disciples that Jesus sent out; here are seventy-two disciples. Who are they?
We do not know their names but they preached the gospel, healed the sick and cast out demons. Wherever they went they brought the government (kingdom) of God (Lk. 10:1-17).
They were not focused on themselves. Jesus sent them to minister and told them that He would take care of their needs.
Jesus instructed the Pharisees to obey God’s Word but also to go beyond biblical maintenance and to minister to people. He said, “You give a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.” Lk. 11:42 These Pharisees were obeying the Scripture for tithing and for good personal maintenance, but they were not caring for people.
The first step is to take care of your personal obedience to God’s Word; the second is to step forward to care for others. You can err by having poor spiritual maintenance but you can also err by staying in a good personal maintenance mode. Once you are there, forget about it, and minister to others.
A REPAIR SHOP
Recently, I ministered at a men’s retreat on the theme of, Marriage that Works. I spoke on The Cost of Unity, Baggage We Bring Into Marriage, The Sacrifice of Communication and Intimacy in Marriage. Besides these themes, the Lord led me to address the personal lives of these men. Some were in need of healing and restoration. They repented of their sinful ways and forgave those who had hurt them. Everyone cried as the Spirit of the Lord poured His love and kindness over them. They were being renewed.
A NEW NAME
I knew that their focus needed to shift from maintenance to ministry. In the midst of their personal healing they needed fresh vision that would take them beyond themselves. I spoke to them about their names and that God had many names for them. In the Bible, God changed the names of people and some were given new names.
Jesus has many names: Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace, Savior of the World, Lily of the Valley, Bright and Morning Star, Everlasting Father, Messiah, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, to name just a few. Each of those names describe an aspect of His greatness.
So it is with us, the Holy Spirit has new names to give us and we can receive them as we reach certain mile markers in our God-given destiny. Those names describe who we are. They give us vision and purpose and lead us to serve with strength and confidence. The Holy Spirit gave me a name for each of the men.
Each one cried as they received fresh grace because each name was personal to them and resonated with the call of God that was already in them. Each of their new names had to do with ministry and not maintenance. Each man was called up to a higher purpose and they were changed because of it. They will be better husbands because of our time together.
REVIVAL REQUIRES MINISTRY
Revival can only come when the church stops its ego-centric focus and learns to love people. I know of many in the church who minister like this. They are the happiest people. Strong, godly families are the best examples. Dads win other dads. Moms minister to other women. Teens reach out to their friends and draw them into a life of goodness and purpose. Even little children of godly families include their friends and neighbors in Sunday School and other church activities that are fun-filled and God-focused.
A family that puts God first and walks in His ways is freed up to serve, love, and care for others. That is the greatest family to grow up in. It is a family of adventure, tenderness and purpose. Nothing in the world is more attractive. Move from maintenance to ministry. Be the light of the world and let Jesus shine.
BE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD AND LET JESUS SHINE
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DR. PETER WYNS
Founder & President
Christians for Messiah Ministries
Senior Leader at Antioch International Church
Instructions in Righteousness is produced by “Christians for Messiah Ministries” (CFM). Dr. Peter Wyns is the President of CFM and the Head Pastor of Antioch International Church. He has served as a pastor for 54 years and ministered in more than 45 nations.