1 Timothy 4:14-16
14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.
15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.
16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
Timothy was a minister just like you and I today. He had deposits from the Holy Spirit in him, gifting of the Spirit, which were given to him to fulfil his ministry. We are also anointed too; God has poured out himself into us, and filled us with the gifts of His Spirit to fulfil the work he has given us.
Paul says to Timothy in verse 16- Take heed unto thyself… Paul repeats it here again, to pay attention to yourself. Look at yourself critically and find out if you’ve grown and made progress. I appraise myself to be sure I am growing regularly, from time to time; I increase the dyke, and aim higher. The Bible talks of growing in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. This growth in grace must always take place; we must all plan to increase the grace at work in our lives. How much grace do you need to do what you’ve been called to do?
The Scriptures suggest that you can grow in grace, which requires that there are some conscious and deliberate things to do.
When you function in the grace, everything you do will be magnified by the power of the Holy Spirit. Development means the act of improving by expanding, by enlarging, or refining. So when we talk of personal development, we are talking of improving ourselves inside, refining ourselves for the purpose of being more effective in the work God has committed to our trust.
This is why we have programs like the Discipleship Training Programs, where you are taken away from the work to a place where your spirit is improved upon. If the minister will burn, the people will come and see him. This is very true and it’s something which I have believed and accepted for many years. God called us, not because we were spiritually matured or perfect, but to give us an opportunity to be involved in ministry, aided by accelerated growth and development spiritually.
You should be conscious of the fact that you are growing and maturing on the job. This is important because He has committed to us the responsibility of world evangelization; therefore it behoves us to produce the right results, hence, the need for your constant growth and development because if the change doesn’t start inside you, it might never happen outside.
We all have one or two things, a situation or a trend where we require a change. Don’t always seek to change the situation externally; change most times begins with you. You don’t need to struggle so much to enforce a change, it happens naturally as you grow yourself in the Word.
Let’s look at the example of Jacob in the Bible.
Jacob wanted to change certain circumstances in his life, and he was praying about it. He was about to see his brother, who was headed in his direction with 400 armed men. This was indeed a great source of concern to Jacob because as much as he could remember, Esau had vowed to kill him after the death of their father, Isaac.
While he was praying for the change, God asked him, ‘what’s your name?’ Here, God was trying to show him that the problem wasn’t an external thing alone; he had certain things to deal with, starting from himself. Even though at this time, God had confirmed Jacob the heir of the Abrahamic Covenant, and he had experienced its blessings several times while working with his uncle Laban, he still had issues as he was faced with a challenge that required a change from within.
After God changed his name to Israel (which in turn resulted to him changing everything about himself), Esau returned, hugging and happy to see his brother instead of trying to kill him! This is a result personal development.
Now, I’ll be sharing with you steps/ things you must do to aid your personal development.
Songs of Solomon 1:6
Look not upon me, because I am black, because the sun hath looked upon me: my mother’s children were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept.
As individuals, our hearts are gardens. God has entrusted people into our care, so we are to tend the lives of people, a people He purchased with His own blood. This is why our job is ‘people’ based. But see what the man says ‘they made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept’. It is so important in ministry to know that you need to tend your garden first.
While you’re taking care of the sheep that God has committed to you, you must never forget yourself because that is the most important thing. God specifically talks to us about ourselves, and seems to give us priority because if we grow, the flock will do the same. Sometimes amongst the senior leader, when you look at the report of the leaders under you, and you notice a particular church/cell/fellowship isn’t doing so well, it’s not so difficult to see what’s wrong in most cases.
Simply review the faith life of the Pastor/Cell Leader, his response to the Word of God and how the Word has affected him as a person, and you’d see the clog in the wheel. Have you taken time out lately to review yourself and find out what kind of man or woman are you becoming gradually? Are you working angrily and frustrated in ministry? Or you are carried away in analysing your reputation amongst the people by trying to finding out what people think of you, and how they see you?
God is more concerned about your character not your reputation amongst people. He is interested in who you are, and who you are becoming. This is why you need to pay attention to yourself. As a minister, are you expressing more and more, the life of Christ in your daily relationships with people? Or you’re just only concerned about the work? Are you constantly on the edge, screaming and shouting at your subordinates without exercising patience as required? If you’re not getting the results you expect at a particular point in time, how do you contain it, and express yourself? These things are so important, because God is concerned about how we handle these things.
It was harvest time in Israel, and a palpable sense of anxiety was in the air. At any moment the wary farmers might lift their eyes to see a tidal wave of Midianite soldiers pouring down from the hills like a flash flood from a broken dam. The Bible describes the Midianites as a nation of “grasshoppers” (Judg. 7:12).
Whenever the harvest was ripe, they would descend upon Israel’s fields and crops in vast numbers like a swarm of locusts, leaving nothing in their wake but destruction and desolation. The Israelites went on the defensive, hunkering down in caves, hiding in the mountains, and building protective strongholds.
The nervous harvesters quickly reaped what they could and hid it away in anticipation of an imminent invasion. God had a plan to deliver Israel from the hand of Midian, and He had chosen just the man for the job, but God’s choice seemed highly unlikely. Gideon was not a superhero by any stretch of the imagination.
He was a victim of his society’s ills, a man who had been influenced by the climate of cowardice that had crippled and enslaved the Israelites. He was such a prisoner of fear that he would hide in a winepress to thresh his small harvest of wheat (Judg. 6:11).
A winepress is no place to thresh wheat; it’s like washing your clothes in the dishwasher. But Gideon had chosen this inappropriate place because he was afraid of the Midianites. He was afraid of losing his harvest and his life, so he hid both underground. It was in this dungeon of fear that the Lord found Gideon, frustrated, trembling, and perspiring.
And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, The Lord is with you, you mighty man of [fearless] courage. Judges 6:12, AMP
No one would have anticipated the Lord’s declaration that day. “Gideon,” the Lord says, “you are a mighty man of fearless courage!” Where others saw a coward, God saw a deliverer!
I’m so glad God doesn’t see us the way we so often see ourselves. When we look in the mirror we might see someone who is undereducated or inexperienced. We might see someone who belongs to the wrong social class, race, or gender.
We might see someone who is too young or too old. And there are always a million excuses why God can’t use us. But God sees more in us than we see in ourselves, and our obstacles, failures, and shortcomings do not intimidate Him.
I am also glad that God doesn’t see us the way other people do. Many times when we begin to break out of the old patterns and mind-sets that have held us back, rejecting the status quo, and looking for higher ground, often our greatest opponents are close friends, fellow church members, and even our own relatives.
In fact, it’s interesting to note that the Midianites, being descendants of Abraham, were actually cousins of the Israelites. It was these “family members,” if you will, who had so oppressed Israel that they were cowering in fear rather than living victoriously. The enemy knows how to use those closest to us to bring discouragement.
They say, “Who do you think you are? Do you think you’re better than us? We’ve known you since you were a child. We’ve seen all your failures, and we know your faults. You are just one of us. Get back in your place!” Some time ago I became interested in purchasing an aquarium. As I began to research this project, I was amazed to discover all the different types of aquariums that can be bought. There are large ones and small ones, freshwater and saltwater.
There are aquariums for fish, aquariums for corals, aquariums for reptiles, and aquariums for invertebrates. What really fascinated me was the aquarium for crabs. I discovered that these particular aquariums had no lids, and I was amused when I learned why. Apparently when you have an aquarium for crabs, you don’t need a cover because if one crab tries to climb out, the others will reach up and pull him back down again. I thought to myself, “I know a lot of crabby Christians.” We don’t like to see someone succeed where we have failed. Envy and jealousy often make God’s children competitors and rivals. Often hurtful and judgmental words have wounded brothers and sisters, dragged them down, and kept them from realizing their potential.
Sadly this happens all the time in the church world. Just as God is elevating one pastor and blessing his ministry, the other pastors in town oppose him with slander and gossip.
They will do everything they can to pull him back down into the aquarium of church as usual. Such a pastor, church, or Christian should take comfort.
Someone once told me, “Pity you get for free, but jealousy must be earned.” Jesus Himself was delivered up by His own people to be crucified –because they envied Him (Matt. 27:18). How often we have been discouraged because of what someone else thought or said about us? Fortunately the wonderful reality is that God doesn’t see us the way other people do.
God has given us a divine mandate to preach the divine message of a fulfilled “Christ” to the peoples and nations of the World.
God seeks to make us partners with his work of saving the world today. The days of Peter and Paul are over and the gospel is in our hands NOW. Our lives must be focused on winning the lost and bringing people out of darkness into the marvellous light of Christ’s salvation.
The harvest is plenteous now and we must allow the Spirit of God to speak to us to take the Work of God further than ever before.
Your life, resources, time and labours must be for the purpose of advancing the Kingdom. Sons and daughters of consolation whose lives will be bend on seeing Jesus mightily glorified in our generation.
We have chosen to become relevant in the Kingdom of God. When a man finds his purpose, his life will take on new meaning. Locate yourself in God today, you can preach the gospel with anything, there is substance in everything. Choose to become ‘ Big’ for God and the Lord will steadily increase you to greater heights of financial abundance.
God delights in the ‘prosperity of those who favour his righteous cause’. Whenever an opportunity arises to give use it as a point of divine connection for the Lord to cause financial miracles and grace to flow to you.
May the Lord cause his light to shine upon you and may his blessings continually be poured upon you and all that concerns you. May he cause the Daystar to shine bright through your heart and his eternal flame of love to burn and shine through you. God bless you.
CHURCH SERVICE: Thursdays- 6pm |Sundays – 10am
Seven Streams International Church
3rd floor Kingston House Cnr L Takawira and Kwame Nkruma