Sunday, June 7, 2015

Prove Your Worth by Doing Something (Part 1 of 3)

* I would like to thank  Mark Valentine, who would like to thank Henri Nouwen, for the meat of these next three entries-all the contemplations, doubts, questions are mine :-)

If you're follower of Christ, you've probably read the verse. You probably took great comfort in it. You've  probably also asked, "What does this mean in it's vagueness?" You've probably doubted that it is possible in its entirety.

"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin."
Hebrews 4:15

There is so much to say about this verse, but I am actually writing about another passage-one where we see the above principle being played out in real life. It comes from Matthew 4:1-11 where we see Jesus being tempted by Satan. No other passage I've read in the Bible has made me see the Truth of Hebrews 4 more than this verse.

Lately, I've been struggling with performance in ministry. It's been hard for me to cling to the truth of the Gospel that I am loved, accepted, and valuable because Jesus made me so on the cross. I've been struggling to find my value in others' acceptance of me, which we all know is futile. But, it's all centered around ministry, not the world, and comes in the form of despair in feeling like I've failed. It's easier for me to read, "I have overcome the world," and not care what they think of me-it's another thing all together to not seek the approval of my brothers and sisters in Christ.

In Matthew 4, we see Jesus being tempted-and it all has to do with performance in ministry! Many scholars believe this was Jesus' hardest moment, after the Cross and the night in Gethsemane. I will examine all three int he next few days, but now I am looking at the first temptation.

Satan's Tempting: "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread."

In other words, "Prove your worth by DOING something." 

I definitely believe the lie that I need to prove my worth in ministry by doing something. That's why I want my girls to feel like I help them. That's why I feel like a crappy missionary-because I haven't seen anyone come to Christ through my presentation of the Gospel in years.

Jesus' answer: "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of  God."

OK, so what does that mean? It makes sense to Jesus' situation because He was fasting and hungry. I used to read this verse and think Satan was merely tempting Jesus to satisfy His hunger when he was supposed to be fasting. But, there's more to it. Satan is not just saying, "satisfy yourself." He's saying, "Prove to me you are the Son of God by doing this miracle." He's saying to me "Prove to me you are a worthy Christian by doing wonderful things in ministry."

Bread symbolizes what we hunger after. I hunger after others' approval. What Jesus is telling me is that I cannot live on other's approval of my ministry, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God, which tell me I am worthy because He made me so through Jesus Christ.

I do not think it is a coincidence that in Deuteronomy 9, which comes after the verse Jesus is quoting, is all about God telling the Israelites that He did not bring them into the land because of their righteousness.

Living to prove my worth in ministry is futile because I cannot! I am not worthy in myself and neither is anyone else. I am only worthy and usable because God makes me so. If only I could always grasp this truth! Lord, help me!

Linking To

Mom 2 Mom with  
My Joy Filled Life, The Purposeful Mom, Proverbial Homemaker, Diamonds in the Rough
Titus 2 Tuesday with Cornerstone Confessions 
SDG Connections with Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood 
Women with Intention Wednesdays with Women With Intention
Thought Provoking Thursday with 3D Lessons For Life
Faith Filled Friday with Missional Women
Spiritual Sundays

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