II Chronicles 25:2 “And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, yet not with a whole heart.”
Amaziah, King of Judah, son of Joash. Amaziah began his reign in II Chronicles 25. Verse 1 tells us who he is and who his mother was, then verse 2, “He did what was right…, but not with his whole heart.”
Do you ever feel like you are just going through the motions? Does ministry ever just feel like hard work? Are you saying the right words while asking God to make them real?
I may be a Professional Pastor or a Vocational Minister of Christ. I may be a Church leader or a passionate follower of Christ in leadership. These titles are not mutually exclusive of each other. I can hold the “position” and have the passion, but too often I may wear down and just do a job. I get lost in the “work” of ministry and move forward in my giftedness, my intellect, and my skill. I begin to do ministry for God.
Paul addressed this in II Corinthians 1:12. The middle of the verse reads “we behave in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom, but by the grace of God…” (ESV)
Not by earthly wisdom…
Is this a vote for ignorance and spurning training? No, I do not think so. Paul was eminently trained. He had scriptural and historical training. He was a trained speaker and debater. Paul, prior to his conversion on the road to Damascus, was one of the bright and shining stars of the Pharisees. He was seen as a new generation of leaders. I believe this is about being my best in preparation and training, then understanding that the Spirit is strongest in my weakness.
Salvation by grace is because man can never be “good enough” to deserve God’s love and acceptance. Saved by grace means I stop trying to be good enough and accept forgiveness, accept grace. Then with the indwelling power of the Spirit of God I begin to move into Christlikeness being sanctified and transformed because the Spirit is in me.
Ministry usually begins here. We begin reaching out in leadership out of our weakness and failure, feeling totally incompetent and unworthy to speak. But, over time, we are complemented by those around us, praised by those who are impacted by God through us and we begin to work for God. We get exhausted and we fall back on our giftedness and lean less on the work of the Spirit in our lives and more on our earthly wisdom. We turn to our earthly skill, intellect, and giftedness and away from the grace of God and the work of His Spirit in our lives.
We can see this picture historically in the kings of Israel and Judah. Kings who followed after God, experienced victory in battle, then became impressed with their leadership and started looking to other gods, failing to follow the precepts and laws of God. Then God caused them to fail. In the modern New Testament Church we know of pastors who experience the movement of the Holy Spirit in their ministry, God blessed the ministry, then they become impressed with their earthly wisdom and ministry for God. Their skill, intellect, and giftedness become the focus of the ministry, then they fall, usually in public sin.
“He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, yet not with a whole heart.”
II Chronicles 25:2
Where is your whole heart? Who is doing the work? Are you in His service or serving for Him? (Who is doing the acting? You or God?)