Get on your face, pastor

I constantly have to be reminded the Spirit’s role in salvation and sanctification. If there is no Holy Spirit; if there is no divine intervention, my ministry is doomed. I have nothing apart from him. Jesus said, “Apart from me you can do nothing.” Nothing. Zero. Zilch. He must save. He must awaken. He must do it.

How difficult it is to rest in these truths! My mind races for new ideas; my heart accuses me in a multitude of ways, as if it were my job to illuminate; the devil lies about God’s sufficiency to do the work– the gaze of my mind is shifted from the thing of God to the things of man, as if the burden of eternal souls was on my back.

A few weeks ago I stood in front of a group of students and shared the gospel of Jesus Christ. In one of those rare teaching moments, when you are fully conscious of reality of what’s happening, I urged the students: “Be born again!”

How absurd.

It’s like going to the cemetery and commanding its residents to live. It’s like demanding a deaf person to listen to you. Like pleading with a blind man to “watch.”

Speak life into existence? Me? More likely I could assemble a universe with my bare hands. It’s beyond me. It’s absurd. Talk about mission impossible.

Why do I do this?

Why do I speak the words of God with the hope that it will make dead people live? It makes about as much sense as pleading with a stone to grow legs and walk.

Luke 18:27 is why:

“What is impossible with man is possible with God.”

That verse is a goldmine. That is ministry fuel. That is what I run on. Who is sufficient for these things? God. He is; I’m not. Sometimes we focus in so much on the second part that we forget about the first part– with man it is impossible. Salvation, sanctification, and any kind of real ministry is impossible with man. Man’s innovation is nothing. Man’s technique is nothing. Man’s skill and talent is nothing. Nothing that originates in me is anything. Let that sink in. Where is the power? Where does it come from? Who weilds it? Who dispenses it at his own good pleasure?

God.

Get on your face, pastor, you are attempting the impossible.

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