2 Corinthians 4:1-2, 5, 7
Therefore, since we have this ministry, just as God has shown us mercy, we do not become discouraged. 2 But we have rejected shameful hidden deeds, not behaving with deceptiveness or distorting the word of God, but by open proclamation of the truth we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience before God. 5 For we do not proclaim ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake. 7 But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that the extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us.
2 Corinthians 13:5
Put yourselves to the test to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize regarding yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you–unless, indeed, you fail the test!
Examine me, O LORD, and test me! Evaluate my inner thoughts and motives!
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Students do not typically look forward to exams. It is in the moments preceding the exam that they wonder if they have done enough. Have they mastered the material? An unprepared student hopes and prays for success, but it is not based on their work; they are just hoping for mercy. So it is with us, in our calling as ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Have we been in the Word of God and diligent to seek Him? Are we prepared in season and out of season to share His salvation? Are we willing to subject ourselves to an examination by God?
I woke up this morning with a sense that my heart and this ministry God has given would be under examination this week, as we are in our final week of raising support for the new music to be recorded. As I asked God to confirm this ministry, I opened my Bible to the verses above in 2 Corinthians 4 and wept.
Stepping out to minister the word of God through song and word is the most amazing position I could ever have. Each of us who have seen and understood God’s salvation has a ministry. Each person’s calling will look different, but it is a calling, nonetheless – to share God’s salvation with a dying world. How is it, that we should have a ministry? That God would entrust this treasure – knowledge of Him and His salvation to broken clay pots? Nothing short of a miracle by an amazing God.
With such a gift comes responsibility. We must prove faithful. We must remove any obstacles that stand in the way of people seeing Christ. Any hidden sin must be seen and removed, so that we can, without hindrance, present a clear message from a pure heart. God requires nothing less. We might be broken clay pots, but God is in the business of taking broken things and making them beautiful.
Examining ourselves is a tricky thing to do. We can easily come up with excuses or believe the best in ourselves. But laying our hearts bare before God and asking Him to reveal our heart’s attitudes and hidden sins is a question God knows how to answer. We can also ask godly people around us to evaluate us. This takes humility and trust and ultimately what they share should be brought before God. Sometimes the people around us who know that we are broken clay pots cannot receive our message. That is okay – God will use another; and God can use us as messengers in other places, too.
As we examine ourselves, the litmus test cannot be man’s approval or numbers – it has to be our hearts and the evaluating tools God chooses. Instead of fearing examination or being discouraged when we are tested by trials or personal choice, it should be a source of encouragement. Being tested means we are seeking God and being prepared for being used by Him. Those who submit to God’s test will come forth as refined silver – of great worth in God’s sight. That makes the testing process worth it – beautiful indeed, and all for His glory.
Won’t you join me in evaluating the ministry God has given you? This week I will be blogging about this process. May our hearts be fully surrendered to Him.
Lord, I am Yours. I am nothing apart from You. Oh God, use me for Your glory. Use all the brokenness form the pages of my life to give someone else courage. Examine me and reveal hidden sins or attitudes that displease You and draw me nearer to You. Be glorified in this clay pot.