Feel Like You’re Faking the Ministry?

Peace and War for Christians (Ministers)
Gospel ministry is the hardest, highest, most rewarding, most heartbreaking work there is. There is pressure from without and fears within. For pastors all over the world, persecution, hatred, and violence await. For all, ministry in the home is often arduous, taxing, and emotional as well.

It makes sense, then, that many pastors struggle with discouragement, despair, and guilt over “faking it.” Many pastors secretly think they are hypocrites, teaching one thing while doing another. They probably think of Romans 2:3, “Do you suppose, O man — you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself — that you will escape the judgment of God?”

Yet we must also remember that all Christians are ministers (Eph. 4), and all ministers ought to first be Christians.

War: We’re Not Sinless Now
Scripture says that being a Christian doesn’t mean we should lie about our sin. We still sin! 1 John 1:8-10 is helpful here:

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

People who lie about their own sin are self-deceivers and Jesus-haters, but people who confess them to Jesus receive His forgiveness and His cleansing.

The Bible’s view is that Christians still sin, so Christians should be honest about it.

Peace: We Are Sinless in Christ
At the same time, the Bible plainly teaches that through Jesus we are made sinless in God’s sight now and sinless forever in the next life. These facts are our hope and power for fighting our sin now! Hebrews 10:14 says:

For by a single offering [Christ] has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

Christ’s offering is finished, once-for-all-time, and it singly perfected His set-apart people. This sin-killing work has been finished on the cross:

We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

So Romans 6 says that Christ finished the work of putting away our sin, He will never die again, and He is now alive forever to God. And all of this is our power to fight sin.

How to Fight the Peace-Armed War
The twin realities of sin and Christ affect our hearts in profound ways. Christ’s death and resurrection mean that sin no longer has ultimate power over us. Jesus has already won the victory.

But our sin nature still has some power. It fights against the Spirit in us, and a war must ensue. We must not be at peace with out sin, but at war with it because we desperately want peace with Christ. It sounds odd, but the peace of Christ puts us into direct violence against all enemies of our pure devotion to Him.

We fight then, because we are saints who still sin, but we’re not finally sinners. We fight because we strive to lay hold of that for which Christ also laid hold of us, but we have not yet attained the prize.

Keep fighting the good fight, my brothers in Christ.

Don’t Fake It: Teaching the Peace-Armed War
The way, then, to avoid “faking it” in the ministry is to be honest about your struggles and honest about the gospel. The way to be honest is to be a Christian first – not mainly a Christian minister, but a Christian. Yes, you’re called to be a leader for the gospel, but not before you’re called to be a Christian.

A few tips:

  1. Don’t teach something you haven’t learned. Beginning to learn also counts. If we’re learning at all, we’re still in process.
  2. Don’t give any impression that you have it all figured out. We know you don’t.
  3. Meditate over your text before you jubilate over it. John Owen said that the Word has to dwell within us in power before it will go out from us in power. But don’t just do it for your ministry. Meditate on the Word for yourself.
  4. Be honest when the passage has broken you. Your people will appreciate your transparency and humility before the might Word of God.

About B Treece
loved by God before I ever loved Him, saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone by the authority of the Bible alone to the glory of God alone, made to enjoy Him forever, happily married with wonder-filled children.

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