There are all kinds of things that can encourage a pastor’s heart – celebrating with a family at the birth of a child; seeing the church walking together in unity; etc. But, near the very top of the list is seeing God use the truth of His Word, by the power of His Spirit, to impact the lives of His people. This week has been full of that kind of encouragement for this pastor’s heart.
Last Sunday, I preached a message from Ephesians 6:10-20, “The Reality of Spiritual Warfare Requires Dependent Prayer.” The main points of the message were: 1) We have a real enemy who is seeking to destroy our lives and testimony, rendering us ineffective for living our lives for God’s glory; 2) This enemy is much stronger than us, but not stronger than God (thus Paul’s admonition to stand, “in God’s mighty power”, rather than our own); 3) God has equipped us with what we need (the whole armor of God) to “stand firm” in the face of our enemy’s attack; 4) We must also pray in every situation at all times, keeping our eyes and focus on God, trusting Him to give us what we need and to use us for the advance of His kingdom. (John Piper says God has given us prayer as a war-time walkie-talkie, though we often use it as an intercom to the kitchen – Chapter 2 – Let the Nations Be Glad)
At the end of the message, I encouraged the congregation to go home and read Ephesians 6:10-20 each morning, asking God to remind them of the reality of the spiritual warfare which is going on every day, and to prepare them to stand firm in His mighty power, fully prepared with His armor, when the enemy attacks come. I have been so encouraged this week to hear multiple testimonies of how God has used His Word to encourage, challenge and equip His people to walk faithfully with Him. Several people have shared with me how they have read that passage each morning, and how God has used it in their lives. One member shared with me about a particular instance that took place at work and how God brought His Word to her mind at that moment, allowing her not to “react” to the situation, avoiding the enemy’s fiery dart of “anger.” I experienced a similar situation myself, later in the week at a Middle School soccer game. It is so encouraging to see God’s faithfulness to work through His Word, by His Spirit, in the hearts and lives of His people, all for His glory.
To all of you pastors, preach the truth of God’s Word every week, asking God to use His Word, by His Spirit, to transform His people more and more into the image of His Son. To all of you who are not pastors, if you want to be a tremendous encouragement to your pastor, share with him how God is using His Word to encourage, challenge, convict and equip you to live your life for God’s glory. There will be few things that will encourage your pastor’s heart more.
Photo courtesy of jmrodri on Flickr.