I was impacted by one of the comments made towards the end of Christ for All Nations School of Evangelism in January “Purpose in your heart, that you are not affected by people who don’t see, to dominate what you do see”. This made me think about the people around me who have influenced my ministry decisions. I also thought of the challenges that faced Jesus and later Paul in the early days of ministry whereby they were rejected. I am encouraged by the testimonies found in scripture that show the encounters that they had and the way in which they reacted.
As I read through Acts 17 I realised that there were things that I could learn from Paul’s testimony and help me to “purpose my mind”. I was also struck by the similarities to the parable of the sower. In Thessalonica Paul went to the Synagogue on three Sabbaths and reasoned from the scriptures (Acts 17:3), some were persuaded but there were some who weren’t. In the same town the scriptures testifies that “devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women”, joined Paul. Paul always went to the synagogue first, he had a strategy but who came to accept Jesus was out of his control. The result of his obedience, some of His words fell on stony ground others fell on fertile. But regardless of the reaction Paul and of course more so Jesus remained faithful to their purpose. They did not get aggravated, they did not lose focus and they didn’t lose heart. They “purposed their heart”. There are similar accounts in the verses that follow (take a few moments to read them).
We know that Jesus said if you are not welcomed in peace shake the sand from your feet, leave in peace, continue to preach the Gospel and pour out Grace. Paul did this, knowing that he had the personal presence of God in him. This was an encouragement for me. I have the personal presence of God in me in, the Holy Spirit. Todd White followed the above comment with “Walk and function fully in the Spirit” and later “the motive always needs to be populate heaven” and “love needs to be always a motive”. I know that it is God’s love that will turn those with harden hearts, the lost, the atheist, the agnostic and the sceptic to him. It is the truth that sets captives free, he will use me as a vessel; I need to walk in obedience to his will, fully submitted to the Spirit.
At times it is a challenge for me all to walk the path of ministry. There are times when all is going well, but there are times when the words of others affect me to the point of straying from the path that God has directed. The comment mentioned above, encouraged me to return, return to whatGod had shown me. I understand the uniqueness of my calling. Likewise what he has shown you is unique. No one else can fulfil the purpose nor will they have the means by which to fulfil the mandate. He has set your path, he already knows who you will meet, who you will take the Gospel to... heal... comfort...empower... Awesome! He has the provision ready, the timing, the venue, amazing!
The comment says “Purpose your heart”. Now is the time to go back to what He has asked of you – preach the Gospel. Pray for the sick. Walk in humility “Purposed your heart” to fulfil the mandate, “Purpose your heart” to populate heaven, “purpose your heart” to walk in love.
Tina Russell-Mott ( @agapetina )