Throughout history, God has graciously chosen to reveal himself to mankind in many ways, because He wants us to know Him. And after all, isn’t that what ministry is all about? We bring the truth about what God has revealed to others so that they might know Him too. But first, we ourselves need to know Him.
In preparing for a life of ministry, you must engage in knowing the Lord.
You may have talents, natural abilities, and strengths. You might have an impressive list of achievements behind you. You might be more qualified to serve than anyone you know. None of these things are bad, but they are not necessarily what the Lord is looking for in people He wants to use.
God has spelled out in His Word what he is seeking:
“Thus says the Lord: ‘Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts, boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness on the earth. For in these things I delight’, declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 9:23-24).
So what does this look like? How do we engage in knowing the Lord? Each believer’s journey with the Lord is different, with varied circumstances, events, and experiences. But the Lord has a few ways in which He has chosen to show Himself to all of us, no matter who we are, how old we are, or what our situation is.
1. The Bible
If you are unsure if God really wants you to know Him personally or not, think about this for a minute: The Sovereign Creator of Heaven and Earth has written a book to us. It is a book of His thoughts, desires, story, will, and a revelation of Himself. It is a history of how He has dealt with man and what His character is. It is a place where you can come to meet the true and living God.
What better way to grow in knowing the Lord than to actively read, study, and meditate on what He has told us about Himself?
Norman Douty is quoted in Green Letters, by Miles Stanford, as saying,
“Just behold Him, look upon Him through the Word. Come to the Word for one purpose, and that is to meet the Lord.”
One of the primary ways we get to know our friends is by listening to them as they speak. They tell us about themselves, their interests, dreams, and desires. God has also spoken to us so that we can know Him, and He has done it through His life-giving Word.
“The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world” (Psalm 19:1-4).
Creation displays many of God’s characteristics; His attributes silently scream in the world around us. His power can be seen in the oceans, his creativity in the flowers, His vastness in the night sky, his precision in the intricate anatomy of our bodies, and the list goes on.
When was the last time you stopped to observe the fingerprints of God in the world around you?
3. The Church
One of the things I love about the Church is that our Father uses people in it to expose more of Himself to us. He allows us to experience what He is like, by working in other believers and loving us through them.
God knows how we thrive on relationship. He knows how we need one another. And He has provided a living, breathing, family for us to belong to, interact with, and experience Him through.
Seek to know Him through the believers that He has graciously placed in your life.
Your Most Worthwhile Pursuit
“Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
Never mind being “good” at serving the Lord. Forget your strengths and your golden opportunities to minister. If you want to prepare for a life of ministry, make your chief aim be to know our God. Take on Paul’s attitude in Philippians, “I count all things as loss in light of the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus Christ my Lord”. He will be your most rewarding and worthwhile pursuit. Let Him teach you how to love others. Allow who He is to change your view of yourself and others. Take time to be quiet as you look at Him, and let Him work through you. Let Him make you a vessel of His grace as you drink deeply of Him. Depend on His character, not your own. Know the Lord.
Believers who are deep in relationship with the Lord, knowing him intimately, will be the ones who are effective in ministering to needy people. Will you be one of them?