TOPIC: GROWING STRONGER, DEEPER AND HIGHER IN MINISTRY
Text: Isaiah 40:31
Human beings like every other living organism are created with capacity or potential to grow in size, height and weight as the period of their existence increases on earth. Growth is a major characteristic feature of all living things be it plant or animal. Using the illustration of a tree, at the very early stage of planting can easily be uprooted but as it’s life span grows or increases it becomes tough or hard to uproot. What one will observe will be three sided growth: stronger/tougher in texture, deeper into the soil and higher into the sky. What a perfect picture of what this lecture aimed at passing across to us (Clergy/Workers and wives) as we serve in God’s Kingdom to reveal God’s glory all the more in Aworiland as divine partners in progress. Whoever is not growing is not living but dead.
THE SOURCE OF STRENGTH –
“But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31
The will of God for all His children is to grow stronger, deeper and higher on earth. We cannot gain lasting strength from any other source apart from God.
“…Let the weak say, I am strong” Joel 3:10
“…the joy of the Lord is my strength” Neh.8:10
“in your presence is the fullness of joy” Psa.16:11
“Be strong and of good courage..” Josh.1:5
“David strengthened himself in the Lord..” 1 Sam.30:6
“When I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Cor.12:11
God wants every believer to be strong, hence the command in Ephesians 6:10 “…be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.”
Let the weak say “I am strong” How can we obtain this strength? Do not depend on the arm of flesh. Do not depend on yourself, on your own strength or your own resources. You must first acknowledge your weakness and connect yourself with the strength from the Lord. They that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. LET US REFLECT BRIEFLY Judges 6:13-16
13 Gideon said to Him, “O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.” 14 Then the Lord turned to him and said,”Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?” 15 So he said to Him, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” 16 And the Lord said to him,”Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man.” Real strength, inner strength, the ability to endure hardship, the ability to resist temptation, the ability to overcome the problem of life, that kind of strength comes only from the Lord not from self-motivation or other men.
WAITING ON GOD
Waiting is the action of staying where one is or delaying action until a particular time or event. Therefore, waiting on God as boldly stated in our text is the action of staying where a person is or delaying action UNTIL A PARTICULAR TIME OR EVENT SET BY GOD. In the natural parlance, when one is waiting it seems one is losing or been bye passed. But for a man or woman waiting on God, it is full of gains, gains and gains only. One is waiting to be impacted by God with power, charisma, vision and mandate to go in the Divine Strength to accomplish what a man or woman cannot achieve ordinarily. It is like saying, do not take action, make move, say anything or do anything until God gives the directive or direction.
In essence, it is a time with God for reassessment, retreat, restoration, renewal and reactivation in order to come out better, greater, higher and stronger in order to come out better, greater, higher and stronger in proficiency, performance and productivity. This is aimed at gaining the experiential knowledge of God through His Word and the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Dan.11:32; John 6:63, Acts 1:8. READ Exodus 33:15
GROWING STRONGER IN MINISTRY
There is no such thing as instant spiritual growth; it is a gradual process of development. Spiritual growth is a journey, and that means it takes time. It is a lifetime process where God teaches us habits for spiritual growth to develop our character so we can become more like Jesus.
This strength is obtained in the presence of the Lord. If we get our strength from the God, we will never run out. Because our God is limitless, being conscious of His presence with us should make our heart rejoice that we are not alone wherever we are, whatever we are passing through and regardless of how strong the opposition or forces against us. THE GREATER THAN IS WITH US. The reality is that my location does matter as long as God is there with me. There will be a turnaround. Dan.3:22-end, What made the difference here? Who is with you where you are? What is the King… seeing around you? We need strength to withstand all odds… Fall not…
Therefore, not only do we need to grow stronger moment by moment, day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year. We need to grow deeper also.
GROWING DEEPER IN MINISTRY
The strength of any structure is determined by its depth. In fact, growing deeper will make you stronger and keep you higher. The strength and the height of any building is a question of how deep the foundation is in the ground. “The stronger, the deeper. And the higher, the deeper” But it essential to score this important point here, you can only see the tall magnificent building standing, you can never see the foundation buried in the ground. Hence, this is what it means to grow deeper. To grow deeper is not done in public. It is not seen by men but hidden from them. So this is a perfect convocation, seated here with you is your ‘all season partner of life’ apart from the Holy Spirit. Spiritual deepness is not attained in the open, in the pulpit or on the stage NO! GROWING DEEPER IS DONE IN SECRET!
In Matthew 6:6 Jesus said, “when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” The open threat of the king could not stop the 3 Hebrew boys. Daniel remained unruffled when the lions were starved but when Samsom’s secret was revealed he lost his strength immediately. YOUR DEPTH IS DETERMINED BY YOUR PERSONAL, PRIVATE, TIME WITH GOD. Ps.42:7. A rise into higher ground is the direct result of a deeper life.
GROWING HIGHER IN MINISTRY
People may manipulate their ways to the top but the depth of their root will determine how long they will stay there. This is dangerous because great shall be their fall. Psalm 75:6-7 give us the genuine source of promotion or high calling in life and ministry. Other essential ingredients for attaining great heights in Church ministry are Loyalty, Faithfulness, Competence, Focus, Godliness, Faithfulness, Foresight, Diligence, All these attributes are summarized in Phil.3:14
HABITS OF SPIRITUAL GROWTH
- CORDIAL, CONSISTENT & GROWING RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD – 2 Cor.5:17, Jn. 15:7
- READING THE BIBLE DAILY – Ps.119:105
- PRAYING TO GOD DAILY – 1 Thess.5:16-18, James 4:2.
- FELLOWHIPPING WITH BRETHREN REGULARLY – Psalm 84:7, Heb.10:25
- OBEYING GOD CONSCIOUSLY – Deut 28:1-2
- BEING LED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT Romans 8:14
- REACHING OUT TO OTHERS – Cloud of witnesses Heb.12:1ff
- AVIALABILITY – Isaiah 6:8
- STEWARDSHIP – Mal.3:8-10
- SEEKING THINGS ABOVE – Col.3:1ff
CONCLUSION “Two are better than one…” Eccl.4:9-12
REFLECTIONS – Things to ponder on while waiting.
Ven. Tolu Akinwande
(Diocese of Remo)