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How shall we share the word?
- Jacob Ninan
We will all agree that the purpose of sharing God's word, whether it is in a sermon or an article, is to bless the others. When we do it in the right way, we become a channel through which God can speak to the others. It is God's word, and it is He who wants to speak to the others, and we do well as channels when we allow the Holy Spirit to work through us as He wishes. It should be obvious that the cleaner the channel is, the purer the message will be that goes through it (2Ti.2:21). More important than homiletics is the state of our heart, including our motives and desires.
We are all aware of people's opinions about us. But the more we allow that to influence our message, the more defiled God's message will become. We may hold back what God wants us to say, soften what we would consider as a 'blow', and add elements that would impress rather than bless. The result would a greater impression on people but a sad heart for God. What He wanted to say didn't get through.
Our ambition has to change from impressing people to be totally pleasing to God. Then we can become a pleasing aroma to all who are in tune with God (2Co.2:15,16). The more we become pleasing to God the more we will be hated by people who hate God. But that wouldn't matter much to us because we are enraptured by the grace that overflows to us from God through Christ Jesus. Selfish ambition--for fame, power, influence, wealth--will be like dirt that defiles everything we touch (Jas.3:14-16).
Jealousy can be another wrong motivator. We are then trying to outdo someone else or draw people from others to us, or feeling bitter because we aren't getting as much attention as the others. This green monster hides itself deeply within us and poisons even our best 'messages'. Even when no one can detect anything in what we say, the flow of the Holy Spirit is hindered in our channel.
It is God who can touch people's lives, even when we are the ones who are speaking the message. It is a sobering truth to realise that the best words we can use will have no lasting result in the lives of people unless God works in their hearts through the Holy Spirit. It's all about Him, even though He uses us as channels. So if we want to be effective in our ministry to people, we must make ourselves available to Him as clean vessels which He can use. It doesn't really matter if we as channels get forgotten by the people, as long as God has been able to do His work in them.
The apostle Paul was very aware of this. He made deliberate efforts to avoid projecting 'himself', in order to make it possible for the power of God to work through him perfectly (1Co.2:4,5). For this he chose his words, the concepts he shared, and the way he spoke, so that the wisdom and the power of God would not be contaminated with human ideas and wisdom (vv.1-3). Now we can understand how God could use this man even to write scripture.
It's not about us, but all about God, His word and His work.