Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today- July 20, 2013
He said to me, “The room facing the south is for the priests who have charge of the temple, and the room facing north is for the priests who have charge of the altar. These are the sons of Zadok, who are the only Levites who may draw near to the LORD to minister before him. Ezekiel 40:45-46
Draw near to God before you minister on behalf of God. This is the proper sequence for serving the Lord. Otherwise, you serve others in your own strength and limited abilities. Ministry without the Holy Spirit’s empowerment leads to burnout and bewilderment. You are not meant to serve in the flesh, for followers of Jesus have the privilege of drawing near to Him and being freshly filled daily with His Spirit and motivation.
Draw near to Him and you will naturally draw near to others. This is harder for driven people; they are always on the go. Other pending activities persistently arrest their attention. It is hard for their minds to focus because responsibilities flash to the forefront of their thinking. They cannot draw near to God because they fear failure and all its embarrassing ramifications; but this means that fear has the upper hand. Hyperactivity drives them because they fear everything depends on them alone. This is not a burden your heavenly Father desires for you to bear. No one can persevere in ministry or service under this kind of self-imposed pressure.
It is up to the Lord whether you reach your goals or not. It may not be His will for so much to be accomplished so soon. Ministry that does not depend on drawing near to God is a ministry that doesn’t last. A person who attempts to serve Christ without drawing near to God will become overwhelmed and frustrated. Therefore, draw near and let the Lord whisper assurances—and perhaps whisper some adjustments—into your ear.
Make drawing near to the Lord a holy habit of your life. Change your thinking so that no decision or activity will define your activities until you have communed with Christ. Do not commit to do ministry until you have met with your Master. It is better to have one engaged in ministry who has first drawn near to God, than to have a dozen operating in their own strength. Those who operate apart from God’s direction give Christian ministry a bad name. God is unimpressed with those flesh-driven fools who flash their good deeds as a badge of pride. He is even perturbed at this prideful display of service in His name.
So, draw near to Him. When you do, people become dearer and your own needs become less important. Draw near to Him in your heart, for this is where your affections lie. Draw near to the Lord and let Him touch your lips with life-giving words of hope, encouragement, and rebuke, when necessary. Draw near to God and allow Him to unleash your giving, so you are freed in the Spirit to give with hilarious generosity. Draw near to your heavenly Father and experience His love and forgiveness so you are aptly able to administer the same to your sometimes strained relationships. Draw near to God and rest in His grace and peace. Draw near and dismiss fear. Draw near and give Him your listening ear. His voice is soothing and secure.
Draw near to God and you will minister to others in His power. He is extremely accessible and close by, so draw near now. “Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith…”(Hebrews 10:22).
Taken from the July 20th reading in the 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God” volume 1… http://bit.ly/Tv6y9a
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