A Passion to Preach | Knowing Your Identity in God
God Made Me For a Reason
We live in an era where you can instantly watch and listen to the 'best’ preachers from around the world; where you can find thousands of blogs, websites, and videos in seconds. When you get up to speak at a church or small group or just chatting with your friends it is so easy to slip in to being someone else, talking like your favourite speaker, or even praying for people like you see ‘that guy’ pray. Why do we choose to imitate instead of just simply admire someone doing what they're called to do?
Searching for the Spotlight
I want to be honest, I am 22. I haven't been preaching for 30 years. I'm not the guy that's spent more time with God than all his friends. I am not the guy that speaks wisdom every time he opens his mouth. I'm the guy that is searching for identity. I'm learning be a good husband. I still love attention a bit too much sometimes. I'm the guy that sometimes speaks before he thinks and I can dig a hole for myself but won't admit it because I am proud and stubborn. So please don't think I have life sorted- I am a young man discovering my identity in God and learning from whatever I can.
If I am not spending time with God and being accountable I can so easily fall in to christian plagiarism. At one point I was listening to 6 podcasts a week from around the world whilst also going to 2 services on a Sunday. So that is 8 messages that I was taking in: 8 different styles, 8 different methods, and at least 8 different things to challenge myself with. So when it came time for me to share with my small group or preach, I would have a lot of different styles going through my head. I could switch from being like Bill Johnson, to Matt Chandler, to Mark Driscoll, to John Piper, to John Arnott, to Heidi Baker in one talk. I tried to effectively plagiarise all those guys' hard work and yet somehow still find my identity in what I was saying.
Finding Your Identity In God
Trying to be like someone else robs you of your God-given Identity. It will stop you being who God created you to be. I am all up for admiring someone, but when that admiration turns to imitation or idolization you have moved from being who God created you to be to just being a mimic act.
Robert Murray McCheyne said this about preaching, “Study universal holiness of life. Your whole usefulness depends on this, for your sermons last but an hour or two; your life preaches all week. If Satan can only make a covetous minister a lover of praise, of pleasure, of good eating, he has ruined your ministry. Give yourself to prayer, and get your texts, your thoughts, your words, from God.”
This is the call to all believers who wish to be a preacher or in or in ministrywhere your message leads and guides a body of people.
The Apostle Paul said this, “I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.” (1 Corinthians 15:10-11ESV). Grace just isn’t there for when you mess up. Grace is there to help you through the good and the bad times. Grace is there to help you grow in understanding. When Paul said he ‘worked harder than any of them’, it wasn’t because of his sheer discipline in life. It was by the grace of God he was able to do it.
Our calling as believers in Jesus is to be unique beings but to have the same purpose; to see Jesus come. The Psalmist said, “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.” (Psalm 139:13-14 NLT).
God knows you. God knows me! We must find our daily love and our daily identity from God. If you’re not regularly reading theBible… get some accountability and get reading. Find Him in everything you do. Fight sin by clinging to Christ. The Holy Spirit is in us, we have His power. The primary use of the word ‘power’ in the New Testament is all about ‘freedom to choose’. The power of the Holy Spirit is best displayed in us when we make a choice to accept his power in our life.
Be yourself. That’s the way God made you. Admiring a person is fine. But don’t find your identity in them or what they say. Find your value, find your meaning, find your identity in God. Then your passion will be ignited and your preaching will be the best it can be.
Originally published on Chris's Blog: chrislong.org