Scripture: Ephesians 3:16
I have been serving God for the last almost four decades and I want to thank the Lord for His grace given to me. But for the last few years there is some introspection on my service but mostly on my own spiritual life. As I look deeper into the recesses of my inner being I find out that many times I have neglected my inner life. May be this is an old age syndrome but believe or not I have become more contemplative. My question has not been how much can I do but who I can become. I have not neglected service but for me my inner life is becoming more important than my service for the Lord. In the frantic world of successful ministry we are at times deceived into thinking that spiritually we must be doing well since we are so busy for God. It is a deception I have found out and I am trying to rectify the problem as effectively as possible.
These days I am reading a book written by Steven Covey called Principled Centered Leadership. In this book he gives illustration of a compass and a map. Compass always points towards north and never changes and so anyone can know the accurate direction. However the map keeps changing and is not that reliable. He elaborates and says that if we are principle led leaders which never changes then we will be successful in all we do. I liken compass as our inner life always accurately connected with the Lord Jesus Christ and map as our ministry which keeps changing. If our life is deeply committed to God then our ministry will be fruitful.
Most of us very keen to be the best Christian workers and spend a great deal of time and money to make sure we have the best training to make us successful in our work. But how many times do we ponder deep into our lives and examine the depth of our spiritual life? Most of our training trains us in being effective in ministry and very little on how to build inner life. I am a great believer in training for effective service but then I believe our inner life is more important than service. Jesus not only said ‘go into all the world’ but also said ‘abide with me’ Abiding brings fruits that last and is acceptable to God. ‘Abiding’ motivates and equips to do real enduring spiritual ministry.
Let me share with you just few things as to how we can become strong in our inner life. First of all we must know what consists of inner being of a man. The Greeks divided inner life in three parts. The first is the power of reasoning. This helps us to know what is right and wrong. The second is conscience and it is the power to be sensitive. The third one is will and it is the power to do or not what we know. These three constitute our inner being and we need to have them all work in perfect sync to make our inner being strong. But our reasoning could be twisted, our conscience can be seared and our will could obey those things that are not right. And so all of these faculties must be trained right and dedicated to do God’s will in our life.
Paul prays that God “out of His glorious riches, He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being “ Yes, he says God gives us all his resources and power to make us strong in the inner man. First He gives us His salvation and then progressively He works in our inner man so that we can be full of God and change from one glory to another every day for the glory of God. In our inner beings exists our true spiritual life where it must grow. The divine nature imparted to the believers need to be nurtured each day so that we become more like God in an increasing manner.
How do we become strong in the inner man and what are the signs of a true man of God?
Reading the Word of God and following the teaching of the Word is crucial to our growth. The Word of God teaches us about God’s will for our life.
The Holy Spirit of God helps us in our inner growth. The Spirit of God who lives in us prompts us, corrects us and guides us each day to follow Him. As he works in us need to surrender our lives to do God’s will.
Meditate on what God has done for you. God has blessed you with all the spiritual blessing and we need to know what they are. The Lord chose us before the foundation of the world, blessed us with all the heavenly blessing, forgave all our sins and redeemed us and many other blessings. Journey through the book of Ephesians alone and you will see the manifold riches given to us. These are the true riches which no one can steal, will not rust or fade away. So when we are tempted to blight ourselves ourselves with ungodly things it will be therapeutic to think and deeply meditate on the goodness of God.
Establish regular and rigorous habit of reading Christian literature. Generally Christians hardly read Christian books and as a result they are not learning new things. It you are a Christian leader then you must keep aside good amount of time reading. It is part of your work and not something extra you do.
Most Christian workers I meet tell me they are busy and I suspect some are busy but unfruitful. One of things I have learned in life is to realize that I cannot be all over the place and I need not do all things. Someone said “Take time to sharpen your saw and you will be able to do the job at your hand effectively and in a short period of time.” Learn to laugh, enjoy nature and just delight in the company of family and friends. Think and meditate the words of Jesus “Come and rest a while”
Be a contributive member of a local church. Some people tell me they go to this or that church. This is good but better and Biblical way is to be part of a local church. In a local church you will be able to really understand the dynamics of the work of God and be a positive influence as well.
Who we are and what we do must be defined and empowered by the strength in the inner being. All are not great speaker, teacher or organizer but all can grow in the Lord and develop inner life. There are limited things we can do but there is limitless opportunity to grow in the Lord Jesus Christ.
At times those of us who have been successful in the ministry put a great faith and weight on what we do and deceive ourselves into thinking that since we are great workers we must be spiritually doing well too. This is a fallacy right from the den of devil and sooner we recognize the better it will be for us.
Our life must follow Biblical principals and values which are God given and time tested. They are true, safe and will make us secure all the time.
I love reading great biography of great men of God and recently I had the privilege to read a book called God’s Generals written by Robert Liardon. The author traces the lives of great saints from John Wesley to Billy Graham. There is one thing common among them all. They were spiritually extremely tuned to God and drew all their strength from God first to be and then do the ministry. They were indeed strong in the inner being which made them effective in the work of the Lord. They not only were saved by God but they were constantly nurturing their lives in order to be fruitful for the Kingdom of God. They were indeed trees planted by the river whose leaves never wither.
One of the marks of truly strong man realizes how weak he is and how much he needs the grace of God and prayer of saints to remain strong.
One of the things we do is to run in the rat race of successful ministry. Someone has said you may win the rat race but you will still be a rat. In the madness of doing well, we make promise we cannot keep, integrity suffers and personal holiness goes for a toss. For sometime we can keep façade but eventually we will be exposed, our seams will tear apart and at times the damage will be repairable.
How about taking time to dig deeper before building higher, abiding before going, praying before doing? Just try and you will see massive difference in your life and ministry. I know as I have my personal experience.
Take time to be holy
The world rushes on
Spend much time in secret
With Jesus alone- Longstaff
Poignant thoughts: Let each day, bit by bit and piece by piece grow deeper in God. Those who go deeper can build higher and those who have inner strength can have great volume of outer energy. Put in before putting out. Spending quiet time with God will bring quiet rest from God
I am sorry that I put more premium to my ministry than spending time with you and building my inner life. Now help me Lord to put fellowship with you first and then serve you. Let me go deeper in you so that I realize the power of the new life you have given to me.
Republished in new layout on 8/6/2013
same Spirit works in us
written by prakash bagale , August 27, 2009
This is true, now days God is speaking through His servant and calling us to be with Him [Close to Him] every day because He made us to be with Him for eternity, that practice need to be done here in this life.