by Pastor Tim Burt
I was a young 24 year old man who was new at learning what walking out your life in Christ meant. When I had sincerely prayed and asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior, the skies did not open and the angels did not sing (at least that I could hear.) I did not experience goosebumps or have a vision. I had simply prayed a prayer that I sincerely meant from my heart. I wanted to submit my life to the Lordship of Jesus. Something did happen but I was at a loss for words to adequately describe it. I could only say that I knew something had changed. When I woke up the following morning and looked out the window, the sky looked bluer, the grass looked greener, and I felt like I was seeing life through a different set of eyes. And I was! I was beginning to see life through God’s eyes—through the Holy Spirit living in me. I felt so different.
It was a couple of years later that I felt this hunger to serve God and His people in a more committed way. I so respected other leaders serving God and wanted to become one of those people. I began to pray and seek the Lord as to what steps to take. Over the next year, the Lord helped me see that serving Him through serving in my church was a critical step. 1 Peter 4:10 (NLT) says, “God has given each of you a gift from His great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.” I had no idea what God’s gifts in me were. But, a wise person said, Commit to serving others and you’ll discover the gifts God has placed in you. They are revealed through serving! Those words were so true and that was such great wisdom!
The Lord helped me commit to serving which was a miracle in itself. Up to that time, I was the most uncommitted person I knew. I wouldn’t commit to anything. The thought of being committed to serving was terrifying. But I prayerfully grit my teeth and committed to volunteer. I committed to servicing at church once a week in facility maintenance and serving with Renee in children’s ministry every other week. I did so even though I thought I might feel more comfortable jumping out of a airplane without a parachute.
What was I doing making a commitment to serve God? Why did I think God would ever use me as a leader? I’d hear those thoughts almost daily! Who do you think you are? I’d get hit with feelings of fear and inadequacy, and the devil was there to point out every weakness in my character. My faults were plenty. But in pressing through it, the Holy Spirit would repeatedly remind me, Jesus died for me, God’s grace cleansed me, and He would transform and use me. The Lord would speak to my heart and tell me, If you want to walk out a call and serve and lead others, its important to learn to lead yourself. Making commitments to the things God would lead me to do, produced that within me. I was learning to lead myself through obedience to His leadings and in the small things He’d speak to me to change or to serve Him in.
As I’d press forward in trying to obey God, I’d often have this thought, You can’t serve others or become any kind of leader until you’ve cleaned up every part of your life. I learned over time, that was a lie from the pit of Hell. We aren’t capable of cleaning up ourself. And it doesn’t make sense to wait your entire life to accept responsibility and roles of service or even leadership until you have perfectly learned to lead yourself. No, the Bible teaches us that in the body of Christ, we should be involved in giving our supply to the church. In other words we should serve God and people faithfully and diligently. And as we do, and because we do, that process in itself helps mature us and changes us. It prepares us to accept responsibility at higher levels including roles of leadership. This is a primary way God transforms us into the Christian we desire to be.
Overcoming selfish tendencies and learning to make personal changes and sacrifices in obedience to God and for the good of others will revolutionize your life. The process of your character changing from selfish to selfless, happens through the commitment of learning to love and serve others. Understanding that your character development is a lifelong course rather than some short-term project will help you overcome the feelings of inadequacy. Be patient. God will complete the good work in you over time! Learning to say Yes to God and accept opportunities and challenges while standing in faith on His promise, “I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need,” will bring you to great places and an exciting life in God. And you will experience the process of growing as a leader!
Philippians 4:13 (NLT) “I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need.”
Pastor Tim Burt
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