THE PERILS OF CRISTIAN MINISTRY.
Rev’d. Dr. Mike Oluniyi.
It is not everyone that starts the race of ministry that finish strong. Many fall by the wayside because there are traps on the way which you may easily fall into. Fortunately for us, we have so many examples in the scriptures of those who we may pattern our lives after or those we should avoid. Despite the warning signs unfortunately, many of those who ran the race before us were still destroyed by those dangers.
If you want to excel in ministry and finish as a champion, you need to be aware of the following dangers which no minister of God will avoid facing at one time or the other in ministry.
THE PERIL OF DISOBEDIENCE.
1 Samuel 15:22-23
And Samuel said,
Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
as in obeying the voice of the LORD?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
and to hearken than the fat of rams.
For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft,
and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.
Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD,
he hath also rejected thee from being king.
One of the greatest areas of danger for children of God is that of disobedience. Many of us find it rather difficult to be in the will of God because the alternative to the will of God appears more attractive or is more convenient for us. We must however be aware as youths that desire s to serve God is that disobedience to the Will of God is one of the greatest disservice that you may do yourself in your journey with God. Even in a situation where you have received great promises from God or you have started greatly in ministry, disobedience has the potential of cutting you short.
The following are some of the perils that you must be aware of as you read
THE PERIL OF SUCCESS.
Solomon started well as the king of Israel that God gave him a blank cheque to ask for anything he wished;
1 Kings 3:3-5
And Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of David his father: only he sacrificed and burnt incense in high places. And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there; for that was the great high place: a thousand burnt offerings did Solomon offer upon that altar.
In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee.
Despite the blank cheque, Solomon in humility asked neither for riches, fame nor victory over his enemies but simply asked for wisdom which God gave him in abundance. In addition to wisdom, God gave him wealth and unprecedented fame, to the extent that people came from all over the world to be identified with him. However, when wealth and fame came in abundance, Solomon became something else. We are told that he fell in love with many strange women and ended having seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines only! You don’t need to be told that he could not have finished strong with God. You may not really be sure that a man is faithful to God until God blesses his life with riches. There are many who started well in ministry but when success came, they forgot the source,of riches and deviated from God.
When success comes, will you still be upright?
THE PERIL OF UNCOOPERATIVE SPOUSE.
An uncooperative spouse is one of the greatest instrument that the devil has used in truncation many ministries. Your spouse in the hands of the Holy Spirit is one of the greatest helps that your life and ministry may receive from God. However, the same spouse in the hands of the devil is the most potent instrument that the devil may use to destroy your ministry. Consequently, it depends on the one that is controlling your spouse. An uncooperative spouse has the potential to either frustrate you out of ministry or make you to forget the vision that God has given you.
In the book of 1 Samuel 6:20-23, we are shown the picture of David’s wife, Michal making jest of him as he was dancing in a way that appears to be undignifying of a king. Your spouse may either encourage you or discourage you from going all out for God.
As a youth, you really need to be fully aware of this before you make your choice of a spouse as so much depends on it in ministry. Always remember, your spouse may effectively serve as the fire extinguisher that effectively put out the fire of the Holy Ghost that is burning in your life. MIT is a question of who you marry!
What Are You Doing Now To Prevent Your Spouse From Working against Your Ministry In The Future?
THE PERIL OF LUST OF THE FLESH.
In 2Kings 11:2-5, we are told one of the saddest stories in the Bible when the man after God’s heart, the man who had done so many exploits for God, the man who defeated Goliath and brought victory to the nation Israel from Phillistines got himself got his reputation messed up because of a naked woman. David like most of us that fall into temptation never bargained for that encounter. He never planned to go and look for a naked woman, just like most of those that fell into temptation never planned for it. But the error of David was that he kept looking. The problem with looking at what you are not supposed to keep looking at is that it will lead you to take the next step. David took the next step of making enquiry of who the lady was and he kept on taking the next steps until he committed murder!
Lust of the flesh has proved to be the undoing of numerous ministers of God. In fact records say that it is the number one source of fall for ministers of God. You have to make a covenant with God now like Job.
I made a covenant with mine eyes;
why then should I think upon a maid?
It was a matter so serious to Job that he had to make a covenant; and if you want to succeed in ministry, you can’t do less!
How Can We Overcome This Ever Present Temptation To Go Into Immorality?
THE PERIL OF LUST OF THE EYES.
2 Corinthians 4:18
While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Often, ministers of God get distracted from the assignment that God has given them because of lust of the eyes, which are inordinate desire for things we are seeing physically, in other words possessions. The scripture above makes it plain to us that the things we are seeing prevents us from seeing eternal things which should really matter to us. If you buy the latest car in town today, you will discover that within a short time, a more recent model will arrive in the market. When we built our first house, it was a bungalow which looked so beautiful with a well structured extensive terrace which made the house unique. Twice I arrived there and met someone taking the picture of the building. Today, the building is the administrative block for our school and has lost its former value because there are now more modern structures around which are far better than it. What appears to be the best today will soon lose its value to more current ones, but unknowingly, we are allowing those temporal things to shift our gave from eternity. Run away fro the lust of the eyes because it won’t help your walk with God. It is a major danger that you have to avoid.
How Can We Overcome The Desire For these Beautiful Things That Are Preventing Us From Seeing The Invisible?
THE PERIL OF UNTRUTHFULNESS.
What is wrong with telling small lies? A lot are wrong!
One day, I arrived at my usual place of weekly retreat and I heard the Holy Spirit giving me an instruction; “Promise me that you will never tell a lie”. Sincerely, I was surprised and consequently asked a question, ‘am I a liar?’ I quickly cautioned myself however and promised that I would never tell a lie but also started observing myself as from then. Guess what! I discovered that I was telling small, small lies. For instance, if you are about leaving your home for appointment with someone and he asks you where you are, it is almost natural to respond that you are on your way. As far as the Holy Ghost is concerned, that is a lie! In as much as you are yet to be on the road, you are actually not yet on your way. The experience taught me a lesson that there is no small lie. Every lie is an abomination to God.
Sometimes a pastor is preaching and decides to add something to the truth to make it more interesting, you are a liar. As a minister of God, is it everything that you told people that God said that God actually said? What of the housewife that took money from the husband’s pocket but denied when he asked, she is a liar.
Remember that no liar has a place in heaven. Secondly, while you are telling lies, you are weakening your protective armor against the devil; and that exposes you to the arrows of the enemy, the aim of which is to destroy your ministry. Never forget that Ananias and Saphira earned death because of little lie. After all, they declared part of the proceeds of the sale of the land and only kept some for their own financial security. The story would not have been so, if they had declared that they were donating the amount submitted and keeping the balance!
Why Is It Convenient To Say “God Said” When He Has Not Actually Spoken?
THE PERIL OF PREMATURE FINANCIAL DEPENDENCE ON MINISTRY.
It is a good thing to be a full time minister but not being one does not stop you from being fruitful for God. Many ministers are being having a lot of issues bothering on integrity because the ministries on which they are full time ministers does not yet have the capacity to support them and the family. Often when you depend financially too early on the ministry, it stagnates the development of the ministry and puts you under sometimes unbearable pressure.
Before you become a full time minister, ensure that you are either forbidden by God not to do any secular work, in which case one of the evidences of such call is divine provision; or the ministry has grown in strength to be able to financially support you fully.
THE PERIL OF LACK OR LOSS OF VISION..
When God calls you into ministry, there is an assignment that He must have given you. In fact there are a million different assignments that He may give us as individuals. When you don’t know the vision that God has given you or you lost it as a result of coveting the vision of others and losing your own, you may either easily crash out of ministry, stagnate or not finish strong. Your vision is your life, when you lose it, you simply don’t exist in ministry.
I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower,
and will watch to see what he will say unto me,
and what I shall answer when I am reproved.
And the LORD answered me, and said,
Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables,
that he may run that readeth it.
For the vision is yet for an appointed time,
but at the end it shall speak, and not lie:
though it tarry, wait for it;
because it will surely come, it will not tarry.
What Is The Assignment That God Gave You In Ministry?
THE PERIL OF GOODY GOODY CHRISTIANITY.
No one prays to suffer in any area of life, but one fact of life is that it is not always a bed of roses. The reality of life is that there will be challenges, no matter your level in the faith. There are a variety of reasons why it happens, but in the journey of faith, it is not whether or not some ugly things happen that matters but how you respond to it. These days, one,of the songs we sing is:
Me I no go suffer, I no go beg for bread etc.
There is nothing wrong with the song, but you must always remember what Jesus said in John 16:33, what is written in Isaiah 43:2 and what Job said in Job 13:15. The perspective of having you think that as a Christian there will be no problem is making many Christians to misbehave when the challenges of life come. Many wives, even those of ministers of God desert their husbands, many deny their faith, many go into immorality because we were trained to believe that it will always be good. When you believe that every challenge is a curse and not a problem which has expiry date, you will misbehave even as a pastor at a juncture in your journey of faith. What you will do may be so serious that you may never be able to find your feet again in ministry.
Job said “even though He slay me, yet I will I trust Him…”. The three Hebrew boys told the king that instead of denying their faith, they wouldn’t mind being thrown into the furnace of fire. Jesu told Peter that the devil wanted to deal with him but He has prayed for him that his faith will not fail:
How Long Will You Be Able To Hold On Before Your Faith Fails You When The Challenges Of Life Come?
THE PERIL OF PREMATURE INDEPENDENCE.
The cause problem in the life of many ministers of God is that of premature independence from the ministry where they served. There are too many general overseers that are still supposed to be under the tutelage of their senior pastors. Many of us go out to early and is creating such a problem for their lives, family and their congregation.
“…A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven”. (Jn.3:27)
THE PERIL OF COMPLACENCY IN SPIRITUAL GROWTH.
Often, many ministers of God has the erroneous be,Ife that they have become so experienced in spiritual matters that they don’t need tp grow any longer. The day you start having that feeling is the day you gradually start dying in ministry. You must keep growing because there is still so much to learn from your master Jesus. Spiritual complacency will make you to lose your guard in the spirit. Apostle Paul said;
1 Corinthians 9:27
But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
How Seriously Do You Take The Spiritual Disciplines?
I always look forward to being able to make the statement that Paul made, close to the end of his life in 2Tim.4:7&8:
2 Timothy 4:7-8
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
That is the testimony of someone that finished strong. What would you love to be your own testimony? May we all have the grace to finish strong in Jesus name.