Staying healthy when serving others in ministry
Serving others tests the purity of our hearts – and if we are truly serving others because we love God. The Bible says that if our hearts are pure and pleasing to God, we will produce good fruit. How can we ensure we serve others with the right attitude?
Colossians 1:10 ESV So as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.
In any form of ministry, we will encounter discouragement, conflict or fatigue. In order to serve others well, we must first ensure we remain spiritually healthy. Otherwise, we may either implode or dishonour the very people we are called to love.
Staying healthy when serving others
1. First, understand ourselves
As a start, we need to have a healthy assessment of ourselves. What are our capabilities and our limits, our faith and our doubts, our strengths and areas for growth? We all need the help of the Holy Spirit and a godly community to help us overcome our shortcomings.
Once when we have a greater self-awareness, we will be better equipped to quickly overcome obstacles and avoid misunderstandings – and love others as we love ourselves.
Mark 12:30-31 ESV And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Here are some ways we can understand ourselves better. This list is not exhaustive and is only meant to serve as a useful start.
|1. Our spiritual gifts
|2. Our strengths and weaknesses
|3. How we plan and execute work
|4. How we communicate and interact with others
|5. How we receive and show love
|6. How do we respond to stress and crisis
2. Make prayer a priority
We cannot claim to do God’s work when we don’t first seek His guidance through prayer. This may require that ministry leaders take time out to pray and fast regularly.
3. Beware of spiritual attacks
Jesus came to destroy the work of the enemy and has already disarmed Satan.
1 John 3:8 ESV … The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.
When we serve in God’s work however, Satan will try to distract and discourage us. The more rewards God has planned for us, the more desperate the attacks can get. This is why humility, perseverance, prayer and fasting are so important.
We must stay alert and resist our enemy’s meddlesome attacks, and never allow misunderstandings, accusations, judgements or mistakes to take precedence over forgiveness, grace and love. God will always protect us and give us the wisdom we need to withstand distractions as we dedicate ourselves to His work. The key is to seek His will first, and not respond based on our carnal human instincts.
1 Corinthians 15:58 NIV Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
4. Lean on God at all times
God’s Holy Spirit unites all those who serve Him with a singular vision – His.
From young, we are taught to rely on our own logic, skills and abilities. As we serve, we must rely on God first before our own understanding. Let us not restrict our ministry work to our own limited abilities, but God’s unlimited and glorious ways.
Proverbs 3:5-7 ESV Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
Let us always be in a posture of praise for God, rather than anxiety over temporary problems. Our minds and hands are small, but God’s span the entire universe. We need to keep our eyes firmly fixed on our Heavenly Father and His purposes for our ministries. This is when He will display all His power to do amazing things through us.
5. Ask for help, never become isolated
It is very dangerous to bottle up our struggles, temptations or disappointments as we serve in ministry. Satan will try to use difficult times to isolate and attack us.
Let us ensure we have a close circle of trusted believers whom we can go to for prayer and encouragement. We must allow others to share our ministry burdens with us because this is the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
6. Always choose to love first
There is something fundamentally wrong in our ministries when we don’t humble ourselves and love others with grace and wisdom. As the Bible teaches us, we ought to be slow to anger, slow to speak and quick to forgive. There is no place for pride, self-righteousness, bitterness, envy, condemnation, complaining, impatience or sexual impurity. Such qualities are from Satan, not the Holy Spirit. Most of all, we must never attack those who serve alongside us but seek to encourage, edify, comfort and speak the truth in love to each other. Ministry is a great place for believers to serve and grow together.
James 1:19 ESV Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;
7. Remain teachable and humble
Serving brings a lot of unpredictable circumstances, both good and bad. Hence, we must be prepared to be tested and stretched. If we remain teachable, God will manifest more of His love, grace and power as we stay open to what He can do through our humble lives.
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