“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”
-John 15:16 ESV
Over the past two years God has taken me through a very specific path. Time and time again I have felt the Spirit stir within me the need to take a closer look at my faith. Specifically the ideas that had formed in my mind as to what church and ministry are to me. And time and time again I felt like I was hitting wall after wall, keeping me from seeing what God was trying to show me.
In my mind church was an institution, ministry an organization within that framework. Whatever path I took in my faith was framed by those two concepts. And for a time it was good. Church drastically changed my life, serving in ministries shaped my character for the better. But in essence I lived two lives. My church life, in a building, around people related to a church building. And my ‘real’ life. In which I did everything I wanted to do. And time and time again this disparity had major consequences in my life. Leading me away from the church and ministries which I deeply cared for.
“[God] who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,”
-2 Timothy 1:9 ESV
Time and time again I felt I reached a wall in my walk. For a long time doubt and fear kept me from seeing what I needed to do to push past it. And honestly a lot of the time I did not want to push past it. My life is mine to do with as I please after all. But yet that is exactly the way that God calls us to live our lives. In alignment with his will. For one another before ourselves.
“There is one body and one Spirit just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.”
-Ephesians 4:4-7 ESV
So I had to make a choice. Continue living a double life or really step into the new life and identity which I have in Christ. I had to stop thinking about Church as a place which I went to, and really think of the Church as my identity. As part of the body of Christ, regardless of where I am or who I am with. And I had to stop thinking about Ministry as a group within a building or an organization that I belonged to. And think of my life as Ministry. Wherever I am, in whatever situation, with whoever God has placed around me. That is my Ministry.
-preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching–As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.-
-2 Timothy 4:1-5 ESV
I would not be the person that I am without the churches that I have attended. I would not have learned the things I have about myself and grown as much as I have without serving in the ministries in which I have served. But yet, I would not have grown in my faith as I have, realize what I am capable of accomplishing, realize the impact that I have on the people around me; had I not shifted my thinking. And bring it into alignment with the calling which God has for us.
Church as self. Life as Ministry.