Today two words are going through my mind: “Power” and “Freedom”. And a question I have been pondering. “Can my service or anyone’s service for the Lord become so onerous that it in itself becomes a bondage?” I have seen ministers who have felt so overloaded and burdened that they become depressed and even leave the ministry.
I hear the Lord, “True freedom comes in living out the full potential you have in being Ian – the Ian that I have sculpted, prepared and loved you to become – as as you grow in that you will experience true freedom. Everyone is born into a slavery to the flesh, the world and the Devil – each one is born unable to help yourself – as you grow up you are being moulded by these forces – although in the background I have always been working – Jesus’ life and death has made it possible for you to be set free from those forces – to serve Me – NOTE: Matthew 11:28/30. Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest (freedom). Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light”. The burden of the world and sin is heavy and exhausting – depressing – you are set free – rather to serve Me with joy – ultimately your service will only be a burden if your attitude is wrong, if you lose sight of My love and My invitation, if you lose touch with the power of the Spirit. My yoke will never be a burden if you keep in step with My Spirit and walk by Him”.
This morning I was reading in Acts 20, how Paul had gathered a number of disciples around him and was delegating more and more tasks to them. So one observation I would like to make is that some ministers don’t understand and apply Ephesians 4:11,12 where the role of the pastor, teacher is to “prepare the people for the works of the ministry”, and end up trying to do everything themselves, for various reasons but often because they don’t trust others to do things correctly. We are all called to be ministers for God towards each other. If this is understood, ministry becomes a real joy.
So this morning on my early walk I saw a sad sight. A discarded mask, lying wet and muddy half under a bush. A feeling of melancholia swept over me as I thought “this is our world today. Everyone covered by masks and here is one discarded and useless just like the Lord has discarded the world”. I quickly realized that thinking was way off course. God hasn’t discarded the world He made. What He has done is put the world under a curse. But His purpose is NOT to throw the world and its people away, rather He has done it for a specific purpose: that many will repent and turn to Him as He prepares His bride. And the mask? Why, that represents the mask that every non-Christian hides away behind. That is the mask that God tears away when we realize that Jesus has set us free. That once we have been crucified with Him and you start living your new life in Him, you will never need again if you appropriate the freedom that God has given you completely.
That is the mask each one of us must determinedly toss away like the discarded one I saw today. The message of Galatians is much about those who, having had their masks removed, find them and put them on again. Hence Paul’s cry in Galatians 5:1 “it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm and don’t let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Don’t go and find your discarded mask and try to put it on again).
So at the beginning of the week, go out and live and experience God’s freedom and if you still have a mask, dispose of it as completely as you can in Christ. I must confess it is so easy to slip back into bondage again so I am going to talk more about Galatians 5 next time. Bless you all in His name.