Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Ministry & the Fear of the Lord

The primary thing a vocational-pastor needs in his life is a vision of God Almighty so vivid and exact that it stuns and captures his soul and puts the rightful fear of God in him. In this regard, William Perkins writes the following (The Calling of the Ministry, 128-29):

"The more afraid they [ministers] are and the more they shrink under the contemplation of God's majesty and their own weakness, the more likely it is that they are truly called of God and appointed for worthy purposes in his church. Anyone who steps into ths function without fear puts himself forward, but it is doubtful whether he is called by God as the prophet Isaiah clearly was...

"A minister is subject to pride and to being puffed up with self-conceit...To prevent this, God in his mercy has planned that all true ministers will by some means or other be humbled and emptied themselves. They will be driven to such fear and amazement at the sight of their own wickedness, that they will throw themselves down at Christ's feet, and deny themselves wholly, acknowledging that anything they are they are only in him, and rely and trust only on his grace and help...

"If we ever aim to be made instruments of God's glory in saving souls, then at the outset let us set before our eyes not the honour [sic] but the danger of our calling, and 'Humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt...in due time' ( 1 Pet 5:6). Let us be content for God to employ any occasion or means to pull us down either by outward crosses or inward temptation. And let us rejoice when we are humbled so that we cry out from overwehlemed spirits, as Isaiah did: 'Woe is me, for I am undone.' Otherwise if we follow the direction of our proud natures and trust in our own ability, gifts, and learning, we are using carnal weapons in a spiritual warfare."

Thus, let us shrink under the contemplation of God's majesty, that we may be sanctified and used of God to build up his church.

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