You Are Your Ministry

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Can your public ministry preach something that your private life contradicts?

I am aware of individuals that believe that their ministries are separate from the lives that they live. They believe for example, that they can preach against adultery to a congregation of people on Sunday morning, yet have an adulterous affair and still be in the will of God. Even though they may believe it’s wrong to commit adultery and desire to stop, they still support the theory that their personal failure has nothing to do with their public ministry. This is a common error in Christian circles.

I believe emphatically that if you preach one thing and do another, you are living a lie! Since ministry must come through people, then in this instance, it must come through a liar. One may be fooled into believing that God honors their lives because they can charismatically get people excited or do business deals exceptionally well. But that is not the gauge of spirituality because worldly people and organizations achieve the same results. However, it is emphatically clear throughout the Bible that God pays as much attention to a person’s character as he does their gifts and abilities. Our Lord Jesus Christ states in Mark 7:20-23:

“…That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.”

There are many examples throughout the Scriptures concerning God’s view of character and ministry. For Daniel, Esther, Peter and Paul, their character actually augmented and amplified their ministries. For individuals such as Samson, Eli and Judas, their characters essentially hindered their influence and ultimately destroyed their ministry. So, ministry effectiveness can be, at least in part, attributed to character quality. Some commentaries seem to suggest that character is a barometer for ministry success. Jesus preached right to the character of ministry leaders of the religious establishment in his day:

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.” Matthew 23:27

Your character must reflect what you want your ministry to become. Paul presents to Timothy a rhetorical question in 1 Timothy 3:5:

“For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?”

...some ministries are hindered because of bad qualities. Churches will usually take on the characteristics of their pastor. If the pastor is always late, doesn’t operate in integrity and is not a giver, then the church will eventually take on the same qualities. Churches, businesses and households that have no vision are led by people that have no vision:

“Where there is no vision, the people perish,”  Proverbs 29:18

Remember, you are your ministry. I have a personal principle that I call the “Juke Box” theory. It says the only thing the Juke Box can play is that which is already inside. This is also true of human beings. However, I believe that through the power of God anyone can change their personal “records.” If you sincerely yield yourself to our Heavenly Father and lay out before him the details of your life, you will see tremendous change, not only in your character, but in your ministry. Powerful ministry comes from those with strong character.

An excerpt from The Ministry in You, by Lyle Dukes (pgs. 39–43)

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