As a pastor or church leader, I know you want to be used by God. As a leader of leaders, I know you want to help others to be usable by God.
"For the eyes of the Lord move about on all the earth to strengthen the heart that is completely toward Him" (2 Chron. 16:9a).
The Bible teaches five requirements for being used by God:
- Keep your life clean. The first step to being used by God is always personal examination. When you find someone whom God is using in a great way, they've dealt with the personal sin in their lives by confessing it to God. God uses small vessels, plain vessels and even broken vessels. But he will not use a dirty vessel. Matthew 23:26 says, "You blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may also be clean.:
- Keep your eyes open. One of the most misunderstood words in leadership circles is the word "vision." We think of vision as predicting the future, but none of us can know the future the way God does. Vision is seeing God at work in your present situation and moving with Him. It's about getting in on what God is doing in the world and being a part of it where he has placed you. If your vision isn't in alignment with what God is doing, you are off-course. As David said, "Keep your eyes open for God, watch for his works; be alert for signs of his presence" (Ps. 105:4, MSG).
- Keep your heart grateful. God uses grateful people. Thankfulness is also one of the keys to longevity in ministry. Thankful people endure longer because they focus on God's provision more than their problems. Doctors refer to gratitude as the healthiest of all emotions because of its physical and psychological benefits. If you don't stay grateful, you'll become cynical. Paul said, "Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord" (Rom.12:11, NIV). We need to constantly remind ourselves what a privilege it is to serve Jesus. Never take for granted the things that God does in, through and around us entirely because of his grace.
- Keep your purpose firm. You were planned for God's pleasure, formed for God's family, created to become like Christ, shaped for service and made for a mission. These are the purposes for which God made you! One of my life verses is Acts 13:36a (CEB): "David served God's purpose in his own generation." I want to serve God's purpose for my life, and I know you do too.
- Keep your mind on Jesus. Meditate on this verse, "Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God" (Heb. 12:2, MSG). God's purpose for your life is far greater than your problems. Don't give up when it gets tough. Go to Jesus. Keep your mind on Him!
- Reflect on these five requirements. Give yourself a grade in each area. Thank God for your strengths and identify how you might strengthen your weaknesses.
- Share this article with your key leaders, and follow up with a discussion.
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church, one of America's largest and most influential churches. He is the author of the New York Times' bestseller, The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century.
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