In the summer between the ninth and tenth grades I had a strong experience of the presence of God at a youth camp in Oklahoma City. I grew up in church, but by far this was the most fun and most real experience I had as a believer up to that point. The struggles I had as a violent and depressed teenager, paled significantly in comparison to the love of The Father that was revealed to me that week. It was like meeting someone famous for the first time, but I already knew Him and He knew me, and He exceeded every expectation I accumulated of Him throughout my young years. I’m sure for anyone who has truly been blessed enough to experience the presence of the Living God can attest to my words.
This was a time of purity in my relationship with The Lord. I mean that in the sense of motive of the heart. I didn’t feel pressured to do anything or promise to accomplish great ministerial feats and become a great and mighty warrior for God. All I had a desire for was to know Him more intimately and to become more like Him.
Over the course of a few years and intermittently obtaining words from The Lord, I began to learn obedience is crucial in this relationship. As Samuel said to Saul when he allowed some of the Amalekites and their king to live, “obedience is better than sacrifice.”(1 Samuel 15:22). Understanding this only seemed feasible to me in the times of when my heart was in good standing with The Lord. However, over time, when I was focusing on my “calling” more than my relationship, things took a turn down a road of confusion and doubt.
This, I’m sure, is a common condition for a lot of believers. We somehow always come back to a fleshly nature of works and forget to focus on our first love. After all, is He not our reward? As I traveled this path, a slew of issues began to happen. I began to believe my relationship with God was based on what I was called to do for Him. I felt that if I didn’t do “Kingdom business” He would surely not bless me. I pursued worship ministry as I believed it was my purpose. Sin was easier to commit because my heart drifted further from my relationship with The Father. It was a cycle that was spiraling out of control and it led to a rotten heart wanting nothing to do with ministry…
… right where He wanted me.
What is any action worth to God if our hearts aren’t right in doing them? God, being the same yesterday, today, and forever, will always see our heart. The willingness to obey in our hearts is greater to God than doing something that looks righteous, but isn’t something God commanded us to do. By having a willing and pure heart alone qualifies us for the work of God. This means that when He instructs us to do something, we act upon it out of our love for The Father. Nothing more, nothing less. We even see Jesus keeping to this standard while He walked this earth. John 5:19 says, “Therefore Yeshua answered them, “Amen, amen I tell you, the Son cannot do anything by Himself. He can do only what He sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise.”, and also later in the same chapter, verse 30, ““I can do nothing on My own. Just as I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, for I do not seek My own will, but the will of the One who sent Me.”” The implementation of this is imperative! The Son of God Himself showed us the proper order of heart, obedience, and action.
Very recently, after I consequently obtained the position of throwing my hands in the air and basically saying, “Screw it! I’m done trying!”, The Lord started to show me my error. What grace my God has to show me where I messed up so that I may repent and turn from my faithlessness! To be specific in one instance, my wife and I were attending a much needed worship night. I normally will pay some attention to the electric guitar players because that’s what I played and loved watching their precision. During this night though, I really felt drawn to the heart of worship from the worship leaders. I began to remember that’s where I started and that’s what I was gifted to do. The Lord then spoke to me and said, “Look back and find the time I instructed you to focus more on lead guitar playing.”. Of course, as I did just that, the time of which He spoke of was nowhere to be found. That’s all He had to say. It’s not that I was doing anything wrong in the eyes of the people around me, or even myself for that matter, but nonetheless, I was in disobedience to God. I have since sold the majority of my electric guitar equipment and went back to focusing on being a worship leader. I believe this has allowed The Lord to infiltrate my heart again and correct my course.
So, as time has gone by since these events, I have set my face like flint and resolved that I will not lose the focus that my relationship with Him goes before anything else. Who I am is above what I do… But I still wonder what specifically I am called to do. Along with music ministry I have also felt the desire to teach and preach. So one night laying in bed, I was having thoughts about becoming a preacher, or pastor, or whatever else pertains to that kind of position. As I thought these things I got a sharp and quick word in my spirit from The Lord. He said, “I don’t need another man behind a pulpit.”… “hmm… ooook… well that was awkward.”, I thought to myself. This was obviously something that I would need to meditate on and digest for awhile. As I did, my heart started to find a peace that I once felt before. These words, as they settled, began to comfort me in a way that can be difficult to explain. For once I felt like I was able to allow myself to not desire a position in ministry. Not because I don’t feel called to ministry, but because I had a misunderstanding of what true ministry is. It isn’t a position in a church. It isn’t yelling verses from the Bible from a stage. It isn’t singing into a mic and strumming a guitar. It is living a life of seeking the face of God and desiring an intimate relationship with Him. That is above ALL things! What good is a preacher who doesn’t know God? He can spit every verse of the Bible if he wants, but in the end, Jesus Himself will say, “Depart from me you worker of iniquity! I never knew you!”
If you have struggled with whether or not you are called to ministry I will assure you this… YOU ARE! But please understand, ministry has nothing to do with what you are supposed to do for the rest of your life! It has everything to do with who you are supposed to walk the rest of your life out with! That person is Yeshua The Messiah! Having the revelation that Yeshua is to be your one and only desire will show you true contentment, true faith, and mostly, true love! Nothing else comes fractionally close!
It is my hope and prayer that sharing my testimony regarding this matter helps at least one person truly overcome a heart of works and grasp the blessing of resting in Yeshua.
Please feel free to leave a comment if this helped you in anyway!
With love and shalom
– From Death To Life