Many years ago I was called by the Lord into the prison ministry. I resisted because my broken sensory system often makes it impossible to be around people for too long. Also, I was a loner, not confident in my speech, uneducated in the things of God, and completely unqualified by man’s standards to do the work of God. But I was obedient and did as the Lord directed me.
Just after I started serving, I was asked to pick up a Minister and escort him into the prison to teach. He was a mountain of a man with such a confidence in himself. He spoke and prayed with such passionate words.
As we were driving to the prison, he told me that I would never be effective in the prison ministry. He said I would never reach the men because my race and background were different from theirs. His words shook me because I wondered if they were true.
I had not even wanted to serve because of how I was, but felt the strong irresistible pull of God to do so. But what if this man was right? Within a few weeks this man dropped out of the ministry and I went on to serve for many years.
I cannot tell you how many men and women I led to Christ while I served in various prisons, it is more than I can count. This is not to my credit, I am just a utensil used of Christ for Him to do His work through me. But this makes me think back to the time when this man in his flesh told me that I would never be effective in the prison ministry. He was right, I could never be effective, but Christ in me could.
Friends, we can never serve God by our qualifications, but by His. If God has called you to something, man will not be able to stop it. “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).
It is the flesh in man that will try to put you down, but it is the Spirit of God who can lift you up. Never underestimate what an extraordinary God can do through an ordinary person. God does not need your power to reach souls, only your obedience to serve Him. It is in the weak that His strength prevails.
Who cares what man says about you, so long as God has stamped “approved” upon your life. “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
Consider any popularity you have may be to the detriment of your relationship to Jesus. “…do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10).
When preaching, do not worry about the approval of man but of God who will test your heart. “But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts” (1 Thessalonians 2:4).
When God has made His directions clear to you, do not allow man to detour you. “But when it pleased God, who…called me through His grace, to reveal His Son in me…I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood” (Galatians 1:15-16).
You cannot speak the light of truth and be popular in a darkened world. “…men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).
Popularity among men is often the sign you are living in rebellion to God. Jesus told the popular men of His day, “…You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God” (Luke 16:15).
The success of your ministry is not determined by the applause of man, but the approval of God. “For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends” (2 Corinthians 10:18).
The more you take credit for things, the less He can do through you. “But ‘he who glories, let him glory in the LORD.’ For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends” (2 Corinthians 10:17-18).
When man rejects you, it is really man rejecting Christ in you. “And the Lord said to Samuel, ‘…they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them” (1 Samuel 8:7).
If Jesus was rejected, do not consider it strange when you are. Isaiah prophesied of the Christ, “He is despised and rejected by men…” (Isaiah 53:3).
It is a wonderful thing to be rejected of man for the purposes of Christ. “Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you, and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake” (Luke 6:22).
Blessings to you,
All Scripture is quoted from the New King James Version. Please use the version you prefer to review the verses shown here. The best version is the one you read.