In Whose Name do You Live?
I'm going to say something that might sound ridiculous:
"It is very important for a person to be born again before he starts ministering to others."
The reason it has to be said is that many who call themselves Christians and who go about "doing ministry" using the name of Christ have never received Jesus as their Lord. These are not born again. They are not Christians. They are not saved. They are lost and still hell-bound. Christ does not dwell in their hearts.
If the Lord does not dwell within our human spirits the only power we manifest is our own, puny, limited human power. That runs out fast and its never really all that effective. Its very important for us to realize that outside of Christ we can't accomplish much of lasting importance; however "we can do ALL things through Christ Who is our strength."(Philippians 4:13).
"Now Asa had an army of 300,000 from Judah, bearing large shields and spears, and 280,000 from Benjamin, bearing shields and wielding bows; all of them were valiant warriors." (2 Chronicles 14:8)
That sounds like a lot of men....until you see who he was up against!
It's very important that we assess the spiritual battlefields in which we find ourselves. We're pretty much always outnumbered. Then we must follow Asa's example: we must call on the One who DOES have power.
"Now Zerah the Ethiopian came out against them with an army of a million men and 300 chariots, and he came to Mareshah." (2 Chronicles 14:9)
Asa and Judah were vastly outnumbered! Zerah had twice as many men, plus chariots! What would you do in a situation like this? I would be tempted to take it home and maybe try again some other time!
"So Asa went out to meet him, and they drew up in battle formation in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah." (2 Chronicles 14:10)
They assembled and prepared to fight anyway. Watch the best preparation that Asa could ever do:
"Then Asa called to the LORD his God and said, 'LORD, there is no one besides You to help in the battle between the powerful and those who have no strength; so help us, O LORD our God, for we trust in You, and in Your name have come against this multitude. O LORD, You are our God; let not man prevail against You.'" (2 Chronicles 14:11)
There are some important elements to this part of Asa's prayer that we should see and practice:
1) He called out to the Lord. If we do not invite the Lord to intervene, He will not. He is not a bully. He will not force us to walk in this partnership He wishes to have with His children.
2) He admitted his weakness and his need for God's help. This sort of humility allows us to receive what God is about to do in our lives.
3) He invited God to help him. The Hebrew word used here for "help" is "azar" and it literally means "to surround". Wouldn't it be a great sensation to feel yourself surrounded by God?
4) He proclaimed his trust in God. "Trust" means "reliance upon." What would happen in our lives if we literally RELIED upon Him for everything, every decision? We would see His hands in everything that happened in our lives!
5) He proclaimed that it was in God's name that they had come into this battle. The idea of "in the name of God" isn't as much about saying the words "in the name of" as it is about authority. The term "in the name of" means "in the authority of". True authority is always granted to one from someone who is already in authority.
This is important for us to know as Christians because many of us are in battles that the King (Jesus) never told us to enter. We have no authority to be in it and, therefore, have none of Christ's power to lend to the battle. No wonder we feel overrun!
Asa and the Israelites were on the battlefield with the Ethiopians that day because they were authorized to be there by God. There were there IN HIS NAME. When Asa pronounced this he AND his warriors were reminded of that. It sank deep inside their souls. When Asa did this he received a special sort of confidence that is available to Christians today: the KNOWING that this battle belongs to God and no one can stand against Him.
6) He made the battle personal for God - he said, "Don't let these mere humans prevail against (literally, 'rule over') You."
When we approach anything we must know that God would have us do this thing. We must know His authority is in it. We must know our limits. We must know that God has no limits except that He has given us the right to resist Him. (We must not resist Him.) We must invite Him into the battle. We must allow Him to fight it. We must fight with Him.
"So the LORD routed the Ethiopians before Asa and before Judah, and the Ethiopians fled." (2 Chronicles 14:12)
Asa and Judah and their armies were not passive. As God routed their enemies, they fought and if you read on you will see they destroyed their enemy and took away all their stuff. They benefitted from their trust in the Lord.
As we enjoy the lives Jesus has given us to live, let's keep Asa's example in mind. He was able to so instinctively call upon the Lord that day because he was in the habit of praying and because he lived his life knowing that he belonged to the Lord.
I hope this article is an encouragement to you to live as Asa did that day. Living this way, the people to whom we minister will experience God through us, and we will model for them a lifestyle that will benefit them the rest of their days, should they also live it.
Having said all this, if you are a person who is active in "ministry" but have never obeyed the Word of God (Romans 10:9ff), do not believe Jesus was raised from the dead, have not confessed Jesus as your Lord.....please consider doing so. It will take real humility to admit to those around you that, while you have a heart to bless the lives of others and to serve God, you have never become born again. (YET.)
In the end, what matters more to you: the opinions of other humans or the prospect of living forever in heaven with our Lord? What people think about you does not matter at all. I urge you to pray aloud right now to receive Jesus as your Lord. Confess your need for Him and ask Him to save you and He will! And then tell someone what you just did. They might need to be born again too!
May the order and power of God be evident within you!
Pastor Mike McInerney
Mike McInerney Ministries, Inc.
© September 25, 2013
(For use with permission)