I have noticed something recently. Not a new revelation but a revisit of an older one that is being renewed in my heart at the moment. A bit of background: I have slowed down a bit recently. It has been a conscious decision to work a little less and enjoy the stage of life I am in a little more. Less rushing, less travel, less ministry. Don’t get me wrong, I seriously enjoy what I do in my ministry but a recent prophetic word over my life has spoken strongly to me that this is the third and last season of my life. And, that I was to do new things in a new way. So, I wondered space to do that – emotional, mental, spiritual, and even physical space in my active life.
So, as a result, I am taking a little more time to step back and reflect on my life, my ministry, the Church, the current political and social situation we see unfolding all around us, and what it is God is doing right now in all of the above. And, a side benefit is that I am spending more time with Jesus and in the Word of God deepening my connections with both.
I am not one to live on the surface. Never have been. I don’t handle surface conversations known as small talk. I don’t appreciate relationships that don’t have any depth or substance to them. I look for churches that are ‘going deep and that want meaning and purpose in all that they do. It has always been this way in my personal relationship with the Lord and with His Word as well. I want to go deep and be very transparent, vulnerable, open, and humble before them. I don’t do plastic.
During some reflection recently I realized that when my relationship with Jesus and His Word are growing and deepening I have greater enthusiasm regarding life and ministry. If I have had a bit of a dry season in the Word – and it does happen – then my enthusiasm for the Lord, for ministry, for life seems to dribble away. Definitely suffers and diminishes. But, when I am focused on Him and His Word and digging deeper – on purpose avoiding surface situations and relationships – then my enthusiasm grows and becomes much stronger impacting all aspects of my life.
And, recently I have realized that this enthusiasm is the foundation for an increased confidence in the ministry the Lord gave to me many decades ago. I had not made that connection before. But, I do feel more confident in what the Lord has called me to do. It is growing as the changes the Lord prophesied over my life begin to grab hold in my heart and bear fruit in my life and ministry. I feel strong as I face the challenges and changes He has spoken about to me a number of times since October, 2015. I feel confident.
Then as I was writing a blog a few days ago I was working in Romans 15:18-19 and happened to glance back at verse 17. It reads in the ESV “In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for God.” No big deal.
But, I am currently reading The Passion Translation which is amazing in its accuracy to the original language and its insights into that language. I have been gainly tremendous insights as I read this new version – partly because the verses sound different and it is not the same old, same old. And, partly because of the insights both in the way the verses are translated and expressed and footnotes as the translator dug into the original language and found new shades of meaning and new ways that original language could have been translated.
So Romans 15:17 reads… “Now then, it is through my union with Jesus Christ, that I enjoy an enthusiasm and confidence in my ministry for God.” (The Passion Translation)
There it is – linking enthusiasm to confidence. And both definitely linked to the depth of my union and relationship with Jesus. Just what I have been going through and what I have been discovering as I have stepped back and slowed down a bit. I am always amazed when the Word speaks like that. I shouldn’t be because I know that God’s Word is alive and active. But, I am surprised when these fresh revelations come.
Hebrews 4:12 “For we have the living Word of God, which is full of energy, and it pierces more sharply than a two-edged sword. It will even penetrate to the very core of our being where soul and spirit, bone and marrow meet! It interprets and reveals the true thoughts and secret motives of our hearts” (The Passion Translation).
So, I am approaching a new season of new ministry being accomplished in new ways with enthusiasm and confidence.