Many times, we want to be “used by God” without the necessary prep time; we want to preach, speak in tongues, teach, help, or evangelize without first being filled up with God. The result is frustration—trying to do God’s will in our own strength. Psalm 51 lays out a good blueprint for ministry; it says: “Cleanse me from my sin, then I will teach transgressors thy ways.” This is a hard lesson for us to learn sometimes, for God can only work through us to others what he has first worked in us.
Luke 4 talks about a similar principle in the parable about the growth and harvest of a seed of grain. Christ talks about the stages of the seed’s life and then concludes that the farmer harvests the grain only after it has been fully formed. This requires patience on the part of the farmer and on our part—since we are the grain, the fruit of his work. This requires us to wait patiently while the Lord “grows us up” and then employs us in his work of ministry of bringing salvation to the world. And we have to be patient with our own growth as well as the growth of others.
And being filled with his Spirit is a two fold process of first being drained of our own selfishness so that we will have room inside for his Spirit to move in and do his good work. And that requires humility, meekness, and courage on our part as we learn to face our own failures, to hear His voice, and to conquer the enemy’s schemes in our own lives. For, make no mistake, our battle with ourselves and in our ministries is a spiritual battle as we learn to come face to face with Satan and his demons as they oppose the work of Christ.
The battle may wax and wane, but it never completely ceases, so we must be prepared always to fend off his schemes and to help others as they learn to walk in the Spirit and defeat the enemy’s schemes in their lives.
— Brad Heilhecker