I have been walking with Jesus 16 years. You would think that, by now, walking on my knees would come much more naturally than it does. I wish I could just once-and-for-all settle down where I belong in devotion to and dependence on my Lord's direction, but it's a constant up-and-down. Myself stands up to walk on my own, and I put myself back down to walk as His own. I wonder if this was as wearisome to the Apostle Paul as it seems to me sometimes. According to him, he had to be pretty hard on himself: I discipline [literally "bruise"] my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:27)*
Maybe you can relate to this: I tend to swing from one extreme to the other.
To one extreme, I'll stay in a corner to stay on my knees. I won't publish a website, publish books, pursue preaching and pastoring, or pursue anything. Whatever God quietly slides into my corner is what I will do. Then Paul's clear instruction comes to mind: Command and teach these things. Let no one despise your youth; instead, you should be an example to the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, give your attention to public reading, exhortation, and teaching. Do not neglect the gift that is in you; it was given to you through prophecy, with the laying on of hands by the council of elders. Practice these things; be committed to them, so that your progress may be evident to all. Pay close attention to your life and your teaching; persevere in these things, for by doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers. (1 Timothy 4:11–16) So, I step out of the shadows of uselessness, and I put my gifts to work in the works I believe our Father has made me for and told me to do. But as the pendulum swings back toward the healthy balance, it tends to swing too far.
To the other extreme, I'll have to step myself up to really step up my ministry. The man makes the ministry. Right? For people to see and hear the ministry, they have to see and hear the man. To know what this ministry is all about, they must know what this man is all about. This ministry has no face without my face. This ministry has no voice without my voice. If God has called me to this ministry, He must want this ministry to succeed, therefore, I must make sure I am successful with all the tools of success the world puts at my fingertips. Then Jesus' clear warning comes to mind: “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:12) So, I stop stepping myself up and kneel myself back down.
It's hard striking the obedient balance--making myself useful while keeping myself humble. But there is no other way for us. Following our Lord, we must walk and work on our knees.
*Scripture quotations in this article are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, HCSB®, and Holman CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
The men of Issachar understood the times and knew what Israel
(1 Chronicles 12:32)