How to Get High in Christian MinistryOctober 21, 2013 at 11:13 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
Tags: 2 Corinthians 10, devotions for teachers, Ephesians 5, I Timothy 2, Isaiah 57, James 4, John 8, Psalm 24, Psalm 51
And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.
Christians are supposed to operate on a different level: the level of Christ, not the level of this world. The level of Christ is a higher, better level, where God is honored and people are truly helped.
1. Get High by Climbing Up
Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place?
Psalm 24:3 (emphasis added)
Who can ascend? Who can climb the hill of the Lord? The strong? The swift? The worldly wise? The prestigious? The famous? The wealthy? The influential? We must throw out our worldly ideas of what it means to “ascend” – to go up. You have to be bold to climb, says the world; but Gods says the contrite are the ones who will climb up to higher ground.
For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
Contrition is a recognition that you have been conquered by someone more powerful than you. Contrition is freedom before God; it is bondage, oppression and terror before anyone else. It takes strength to climb, says the world, there are no handicapped mountain climbers; but God says the broken are the ones who will climb up to higher ground in Christian ministry.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
Someone who is broken before God is someone who realizes that he or she has messed up badly: someone who is willing to admit that he or she is wrong. Common sense would tell us that this is disastrous in a setting where other people can use your admission of wrong-doing or failure against you, but God requires a brokenness – a willingness to admit mistakes, faults, sins.
No one will ascend to higher ground under his own power. The only ones who will ascend are the ones who do not get weary in well-doing because they do not depend on their on strength. The only ones who will ascend are the ones who have a guide Who will lead them over or around the streams and boulders of temptation. The only ones who will ascend are those who have the right foot-gear: their feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace. That means we need to be prepared to be Gospel-centered when we deal with non-Christians and with each other. Our distinguishing characteristics should be grace, mercy, love, truth, peace, forgiveness, and longsuffering.
The only ones who will ascend are the ones whom the Lord Himself will lift up.
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
In Christian ministry you “get high” by “getting low.”
2. Get High by Cleaning Off
Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.
Psalm 24:3-4 (emphasis added)
What makes our hands so unclean?
I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.
I Timothy 2:8
Wrath makes our hands dirty. You can’t get right with God while you’re not right with your brother or sister in Christ. Wrath is reserved for God with the exception of our wrath against sin and against our spiritual enemies in high places. Wrath makes hands unclean, and so does doubting. When we have an unpleasant ministry job to do, we say we’re getting our hands dirty, but really we’re getting them clean. Jesus was not afraid to touch the unclean.
If loving ministering in love cleans the hands, what washes the heart to make it pure? The Word of God.
Christ gave Himself for the Church That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
3. Get High by Casting Down
He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.
Psalm 24:4 (emphasis added)
Vanity is a type of idolatry. It is anything you are pursuing, or walking after the course of, that is not of God. Hopefully, you do not worship a graven idol, but if idolatry is giving your heart to anything that that is spiritually empty, then I am afraid that too much of what captures our hearts is vanity, and we are guilty of lifting up our souls to it. What should we be doing with vanity? With emptiness? With anything that is what the Bible calls “imaginations:” anything without eternal worth?
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
II Corinthians 10:5
We should be casting vanity down, not lifting ourselves up to it. Casting down means destroying: the way that God’s people were at times supposed to destroy their enemies under the herem (the “ban”). God wanted them all destroyed: women, children, livestock, altars, statues of false gods – everything. If a weed is simply pruned back, but not utterly destroyed, it will always grow back, often stronger than it was before. If we are going to climb up to higher ground, we are going to have to cast down imaginations, not just what the imaginations produce. If I am not reading my Bible regularly, it’s not enough just to determine to read my Bible more. If I am not praying regularly, it is not enough just to determine to pray more. I must get to the thinking which is causing these problems. I must get the root out by casting down imaginations and worldly thinking.