The challenge of walking with the God who knows me
Names changed throughout except in some cases where the person involved has been or is in ministry.
If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 2 Cor 5:17
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“Blessed are the poor for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”
The service finished. I turned to the student at my side. He had just been appointed to be the leader of his Bible study group and was quite fearful of the situation. He did not feel up to the task. As we talked it suddenly occurred to me that this student was in the ideal situation – he was poor. He knew that he could not do what was needed. Whether he could or not in reality was not the issue. The point was his attitude, his feeling of inadequacy. It was only with this attitude that he would be able to trust in God. I encouraged him to realise his weaknesses and go to God with them. To ask God to fill him where he was weak with His grace. As Paul says “He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my Grace is made perfect in weakness.’ That is why for Christ’s sake I delight in weakness in insult in hardship and in persecution, for when I am weak then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV) This was completely contrary to my normal way of thinking.
One of the emphases of a ministry that is trying to develop leaders is that one looks for those who are competent, who are gifted, who are dynamic. In short one is looking for those who are richly gifted and seeking to help them develop those gifts for the sake of the kingdom of God.
As I began to think about this situation in a new light I began to realise that my whole approach to the situation of helping people in leadership was on its head. Here I was trying to help people to develop to the point where they could do it on their own. Yet this pointed to a way in which ultimate success came when they no longer needed God. It began to dawn on me that actually this was setting the practical need, the logistics or management ahead of the Spiritual. Setting the question of how the Bible study ran over whether God was present and convicting the lives of those present.
Shortly after this I was asked to give a presentation on how to lead Bible study groups for some people who had been asked to lead a series of evangelistic Bible studies. I opened the meeting by suggesting that if I helped them to gain confidence that they could do it I would be doing them a great disservice. That I hoped that they would be so overwhelmed that they would turn to God and look to him for help. The methods involved did not change, the structure, the discovery of questions, the leading people into making discoveries about the Bible and all of that. What changed was the need for God rather than the need for competence and intellect.
Now, the real challenge began: That this attitude would enter into my life; that I would realise how weak I am and turn in dependence on the living God for his power.
POOR IN SPIRIT