The following column is an opinion piece and reflects the views of only the author and not those of The Georgia Virtue.
By: Dr. William F. Holland Jr., minister, chaplain, and author of the column series ‘Living on Purpose’. You can read more about the Christian life and see other works by Dr. Holland at billyhollandministries.com.
Each week I spend a portion of my days writing and preparing messages. I pray and seek the Lord’s voice as I strain my spiritual ear to hear the direction he is leading me. We know that thousands of men and women write and speak for audiences regularly and they enjoy it. However, when it comes to the ministry and representing God, relaying what we believe is his truth is one of the most serious assignments I can think of and is rarely comfortable. Some have been serving as a watchman on the wall for many years and sense the reverence and responsibility that comes with the assignment. I spend a lot of time looking closely at the words I write as I seek wisdom and discernment before I release them and often after I have presented the message I will evaluate if I spoke what the Lord wanted me to say.
Many assume the office of the five-fold ministry is pursued by the individual because they are equipped and prepared with education or personality. This actually has very little to do with it. In reality, God does not always call the qualified, He qualifies the called as we notice with His disciples. Delivering God’s message is not a natural demonstration but is one of the most supernatural task anyone can ever be called to. It requires an imperfect vessel to yield themselves in humility, brokenness, spiritual sensitivity and most importantly a reverential fear of his holiness.
Many preachers and prophets in the Bible were reluctant to accept God’s call. Moses made excuses about stuttering, Gideon tried to disqualify himself, and Jeremiah complained about the responsibility of carrying a prophetic burden. In the case of Jonah, he was called to relay a warning from the Almighty for the city of Nineveh to repent of their sins and turn back to the Lord. Jonah did not want to deliver what he considered an unpopular message and instead bought a one-way ticket to the other side of the Mediterranean Sea. Often the man or woman who feels apprehensive and groans when called upon to share God’s word, who does not want to be there, who feels awkward, uncomfortable and inadequate is the very one that he chooses. If we attempt to serve him in our flesh, the results are miserable, but with obedience and trust, the power and prophetic anointing of the Holy Spirit is unleashed. The apostle Paul, who was a silver-tongued Pharisee before he met Christ, was stripped of his eloquence before he preached throughout the Roman Empire and states in first Corinthians 2:3-5, “I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would NOT rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.”
No one is perfect except God and I have made mistakes like everyone else. Sometimes I’ve said things when I should have been silent and other times I hesitate when I need to be bold and unafraid of confrontation. It’s a big world out there and people have their own opinions about everything. I’ve learned the more general you can be, the fewer attacks will come your way, but if you choose to bare your soul and tell express your convictions about everything, you might need to raise your shield. We all want to be respected and loved, but as God’s representative and witness, the world will never accept you. I’ve received my share of rejection as its just part of the territory. I recently made some comments that did not go over well at all but I felt I needed to take a stand. If we hide and avoid sharing what we know is true, we are being ashamed of the gospel and are failing in our mission to relay God’s love and light. Christians are called to be a gatekeeper of God’s truth and this includes never compromising in order to please others. God’s truth can set us free, but I also realize that not everyone wants to hear his demands and requirements. If you have a divine appointment from the Lord, conquer your fears, doubts and excuses, and willingly drink the cup of suffering that accompanies being his messenger. The question I have for myself is will I deliver His truth even if it cost me everything?