I’ve been reading this book “The complete works of E.M. Bounds.” It’s a book given to me from pastor Kaj long time ago. During the Christmas break, I decided to start reading a page at the time. The first part is about prayers, specifically how prayers are the keys to be an effective preacher for God. God’s looking for real men, men of prayers, to do works that sticks around, that have true, lasting impact. And only men who spend TONS of time praying can receive the heavenly power that can put a dent in world of darkness. Good stuff.
This is also during a fast that’s promoted by my church. And it also happened that the sermons I’ve been listening to is about fasting.
As I picked up the book to read, God prompted me to close the book and pray.
God said to me: “Jax, why do you read that book?”
“Well, I want to learn how to pray so that I can be an effective preacher and teacher, making an impact. But I also want to draw closer to You.”
“Sounds like you want to draw closer to Me because you want power from Me.”
“That’s part of it, yes. Without You and Your anointing, there’s no real fruit.”
“Why do you want fruit? Why do you serve and preach?”
“Isn’t that what I’m made for, and what we’re SAVED for (Eph 2:10)? To do good, make disciples? That’s in the sermon You showed me. What I want, is at the end of my life, looking back, seeing many (thousands) of people whose lives have been touched by You through me, thousands of souls saved, thousands of disciples made. Then I’ll say ‘my life is good and meaningful. The faithful Lord has been with me, good to me. Your mighty hands of miracles is there clearly in my life. God has used me to expand His kingdom.’ Then, I’ll await for my Master to say to me ‘well done, good and faithful servant…’ <gasp!!!> ”
“You want to stand tall and proud, and want My approval, right? Almost like earning My approval. You noticed that something’s not right, don’t you?”
“….. ….. Yes. I’m trying to work to earn Your praise and approval. <struggling> But… is it wrong for a son to want to be praised from his Dad? Isn’t that natural?”
“haha…. true. I don’t blame you. But remember the story of the prodigal son?”
“Ah yes… sigh.. I’m like the older son, aren’t I? Working so hard, and being SELF-RIGHTEOUS, while forgetting that I’m already Your son and already have all of Your approvals and love. Everything You own is mine through Christ. I don’t need to earn Your approval because I’m already approved by You through Christ. Christ has done the work. And my work really doesn’t earn anything but making me a self-righteous person.”
“Exactly. Your dream of a big ministry, making thousands of disciples is a self-righteous one. That’s much like pastor Steve’s dream before, which had caused him depression. At the end, remember he said ‘If I just minister to one person a day, that’ll be enough for me’?”
“Thank You Lord for reminding me and showing me my self-righteousness. Why would saint Paul said that he’s indebt?”
“He did feel indebt. But his motivation, and the sense of indebtedness is more like ‘if you have the cure for AIDS, wouldn’t you feel indebt to share with the world?’ It’s really a love for the people, that passion to see people saved, rather than a passion to earn approval. It’s other focused. Jax, do you love Me?”
“Yes Lord, I love You.”
“Then.. feed my sheep. <you know what’s coming, right?> Do you love Me?”
“I understand now Lord. I love You.”
“Tend to My young lambs, care for My old, weak sheeps. You serve them because you love Me. See? Peter too had to go from self-righteousness to this.”
“Sigh Lord, I knew all that passage and sermons. Thank You Jesus for taking all of that burden away. In a sense, I can feel how some people don’t like You because You’ve robbed them from their self-righteousness. But I receive and I thank You. I’m not a servant, I’m a son in Christ. I still feel that this is head knowledge, rather than heart knowledge. So please help me to move from head to heart. I’m surrendering my self-righteous desires to You. May You form the desire in my heart that please You.”
“You worry that you don’t really love Me compared with those saints in church. They have such passion to pray and to share the Gospel, that you don’t have. But I want you to know that I know you love Me. You love Me. And I Love you too, Jax. You are pleasing to Me. Just want to correct you when you’re off course. Take some time to let that sink in, journal it so you don’t forget. Then continue to feed My lambs.”
God is good. Praise His name. Praise God for providing Jesus, through Whom and in Whom I can gain approval. As I abide in Him daily, I will be ‘good and faithful servant’ automatically. For He is that ultimate good and faithful One who rescues and redeems the world. And it’s only through Him that I can gain that approval, not of my own works. I will do my best, whenever possible to feed, to tend, and to care for His sheep because I love Him.