“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and power for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 4:10-11 NIV)
As one who chooses to bring glory to God through writing, this passage always causes me to pause and reflect upon its implications. I firmly believe that the greatest personal hindrance to effective Christian ministry, whether that be preaching, teaching, writing, or any service to others, is a misplaced faith in ourselves – too much confidence in our own abilities, our own knowledge, our own wisdom, and our own strength. Such resources are miniscule compared to the resources that God stands ready to provide.
The apostle Paul understood this very well, describing in that well-known passage from 2 Corinthians about his “thorn in the flesh” how the Lord told him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Paul went on to conclude, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Cor. 12:9 NIV) Paul had discovered that sometimes God has to reveal to us how weak we are, before he can use us for his glory.
In Ephesians 1:19-20 ( NIV), Paul describes God’s power as “incomparably great” and proclaims that it is “like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead.” How often have you stopped to consider that the same power that raised Christ from the dead is at your disposal? Why would we ever neglect such readily available and limitless divine help – not just for Christian ministry, but for the daily struggles of life?
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Eph. 3:20-21 NIV)