There are a lot of people pursuing a lot of things in ministry, and yet many of them are doing it out of self. Why do I say that? I have heard many Christians over the years tell me that they are doing many things in their churches and mission trips, so that when they get to heaven they can say, “See Lord, all the wonderful work I did for you?” The problem here is they are relying on work to get them to heaven and to please God.
“Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'” (Matthew 7:22-23 NKJV).
We are justified by faith and saved by grace and therefore have no need to predicate salvation on works, but at the same time there should be fruit being produced in our lives. I touched a bit on this subject yesterday in my blog “Justified By Faith Or Works?” In this blog I talked about how we are saved by faith, but faith and works must go hand in hand.
Now the key here is that we can not work out of self motivation, but rather out of the prompting of the Holy Spirit. When we are saved we are cleansed by the blood of Christ and filled with the Holy Spirit, who then enables and guides us to where we need to be and what we need to do for God.
The real problem lies more in the heart of the individual and what is motivating them to do work for God, is it fear of salvation, self promotion or a true spiritual calling? In the verse above, Jesus was stating that we should come to know Him and be led by the Holy Spirit to do the true work of the Spirit, rather than rely on trying to prove ourselves to God.
We can not prove ourselves to God as we are all sinners and fall short of His glory, but we can believe on Jesus and be saved. We can come to know Him and be filled with His Spirit and therefore know where He is calling us to go and do, so we do not do things out of vain. God has called us to do work and bear fruit, but we can not produce fruit without the working of the Holy Spirit in and through our lives.
“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25).
No matter what ministry work we feel prompt to do, let us make sure that it is a prompting of the Spirit and not our flesh or fear. Let us pursue God’s call upon our lives by the guidance of the Holy Spirit and being filled with His power and strength. We can not do any work for God or please God apart from the Holy Spirit. Let us not try and work our way into heaven, but believe on Jesus and allow the working of the Holy Spirit to guide our eternal home with the One we have come to know and do work for, not in vain, but in the Spirit.