To be set apart. As you read that what comes to mind? Prestige? Honor? Glory? When I look back on my journey of discovering God's will in my life, I can pin point that exact moment where I was sanctified (more on this word in a bit). I was sitting in my family's business telling my then boss I was quitting. At the time I thought it was for something else, but I can now look back on it and see that God was working behind the scenes guiding and directing me aka setting me apart for something greater... something that would bring Him the glory and further His kingdom.
Did I know what the plan was at the time? Nope! Crazy right?! Who in their right mind would leave a sure thing (pay check, health insurance, 401k, etc.) to venture out on a journey into the unknown?
Think about some of the greatest explorer - Lewis and Clark, Leif Ericson, Jacques Cousteau, and much more. One common theme resonates with all of these explorers - exploration of the great unknown. Our journey into personal ministry is one of exploring the great unknown. We don't know what God has in store for us, but by faith, we lean on him for guidance, strength, understanding, and grace as we navigate His will for our lives.
Back to our Word Work - Sanctification. Here’s another great word you hear at work or on tv. But this word is super important for those who understand their identity (His will in your life). Sanctify means to be made holy, or to be set apart for a specific purpose.
John 17:15-19 says:
I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.
When we are born again, we are made holy and set apart for a specific purpose - His purpose: to bring Him the glory and further His kingdom aka personal ministry. On the one hand, we are super excited to deliver such great news, but with this great news comes some sour information. The process of discovering His will in your life IS NOT INSTANTANEOUS.
I'm sure you're wondering, then what's the attraction of Sanctification? Being set apart typically means that we are in a class of our own, but this is not His intention. When he makes us holy and sets up apart for a specific purpose, Christ wants us to exist in a community (of other people set apart and made holy), not in solitude. But what about escaping to a place of solitude. Yes, a solitude retreat is good for meditating on His direction in your life. But remember that we are a community of Christ Followers encouraging each other, guiding each other, and holding each other accountable to sanctification.
So, when we say that personal ministry won't be instantaneous, we mean that you will set apart on a life long journey carrying out His will in your life. People are going to come and go. He will direct us from one place to the next. Since that day telling my boss, I'm quitting I've traveled many places and met all kinds of people.
Discovering His will in my life wasn't instantaneous, but I don't regret one day of it. He's provided in many ways because I've been faithful to His direction and sought out His guidance in times of struggle!
Matt Allen sums it up best in the Fully Packed Adventure Ministries Biblical Foundation material:
For those who commit to a life of personal ministry, here’s what we should expect from those that we lovingly invest in:
- Minimal appreciation, perhaps even betrayal
- A lot of repeating ourselves
- Seasons of seeing people we care about falter instead of growing
- Lots of time invested with no apparent ROI (Return on Investment)
Take heart though. While these don't seem like great sale points for diving into personal ministry we (Fully Packed Adventure Ministries) want to be straightforward with you. God does not promise us a bed of roses now that we are set apart and made holy. Remember our Biblical worldview is going to be met with hesitation and at times resistance. This is why... A proper understanding of Christ’s personal ministry and a careful examination of the Apostle Paul’s ministry can prepare us for the reality of the challenges we should expect. Beginning a program of personal ministry without this proper understanding (and a solid Biblical Foundation) will result in discouragement, depression, and unrealistic expectations of ourselves and others.
Some take aways and looking forward to the next couple post on Module 2 - Personal Ministry:
- We've been sanctified: set a part for a specific purpose and made holy. Let's all rejoice in this and give thanks to our Creator!
- Personal Ministry is not instantaneous. We are entering a journey of discovering His will in our lives. Take heart because while we're set apart, we're not alone. He has set us apart to be in community with other Christ followers to bring Him the glory and further His kingdom.
- Personal Ministry is not a bed of roses. Remember our Biblical Worldview is going to be met with hesitation and at times resistance. This is why when we're set apart it's not meant for solitude it's meant for a community - people encouraging, strengthening, and holding each other accountable.
- Looking forward: Module 2 is going to introduce you to the different aspect of Personal Ministry. Over the next couple weeks, we're going to look at:
- What’s love got to do with personal ministry?
- No Room for Favoritism
- Setting Limits and Boundaries
- Solo time
- Prioritize your ministries
Recommending reading: Three Years with Jesus- The Training of the Twelve, by A.B. Bruce
Thanks and God Bless!