Authenicate. Don't Abdicate!

As ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ we face many challenges and problems in our service to God. My intent is to encourage you by reminding you of some basic truths revealed to the Body of Christ and especially to ministers of the Gospel. Sometimes, leaders face so many difficult challenges in ministry that we can begin to think that we are failures, not really called to the ministry, or in the will of God. Even those of us who are well taught that we walk by faith and not by sight can get our thinking and attitude twisted in these matters. Listen, sometimes we allow the very things that should authenticate us and our ministry cause us to abdicate our responsibilities and quit before our due season is manifest! As ministers of the Gospel we must not quit our assignments from God.

The Apostle Paul taught that the problems and paradoxes of ministry he endured, and the principles he held, validated or authenticated him as a minister of God! He did not allow the challenges of ministry to discourage him or cause him to abort his assignments from God. He did not use popularity, the size of his ministry or the ease of ministry to prove himself as a minister of God. Second Corinthians 6:1-10 reminds us that in ministry there are problems, principles and paradoxes that we must deal with on a regular basis. In fact, Paul says the very problems and paradoxes we face in ministry actually authenticate us as ministers of God! I'm not talking about some of the unwise decisions we have all made at some point in time which resulted in problems for the ministry. Second Corinthians 6:3 says "Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed." Paul tells us we must live our lives in such a fashion that we do not become a stumbling block in anyone's path or our ministry is discredited. But, even when we live exemplary lives we will still experience problems and paradoxes in ministry.

Again, the Apostle Paul says the problems, principles and paradoxes of ministry authenticate us as ministers of God!   Second Corinthians 6:4-5 says, "But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings;" Did you get that? Paul says we approve ourselves or authenticate ourselves by the problems we endure and overcome that are common to ministry.

To be authentic is to be real or genuine. It means to be true. True or authentic servants of God understand that problems in ministry don't disqualify us in ministry, but rather validate us as ministers of God. Listen, I'm not talking about being a "drama queen" and justifying our own shortcomings with excuses about how hard being in the ministry is. No! I am simply reminding us that we must allow problems in ministry to authenticate us, and not allow them to sour our attitudes and ultimately quit our assignments from God.

Notice in the above verses that the apostle Paul uses the word "in" (KJV) when listing common problems in ministry that authenticate us or prove us to be true servants of God. But in verses 6-8, he transitions to the word "by" when revealing to us that we also authenticate ourselves as ministers of God by the principles we hold in ministry. "By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, love unfeigned, By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report." We prove ourselves and our ministries by adhering to godly principles. Don't allow the pressures of ministry or selfish motivations cause you to substitute ungodly, worldly or secular principles for genuine biblical principles that authenticate you as a minister of God.

Finally, Paul reminds us that real ministers of God will face paradoxes in ministry. He transitions to the words "as" and "yet" when listing some of the paradoxes of ministry in 2 Corinthians 6:8-10. " deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; as sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things." A paradox is a seemingly contradictory statement that may nonetheless be true. It can be a person, situation or action exhibiting inexplicable or contrary aspects.

Your ministry will result in some people insulting you and at the same time, others praising you! Some people will treat you as a liar(deceiver) even though you minister in truth(yet true). You and your ministry can be unknown by man, but well known by God. You may find yourself threatened and punished for righteousness sake, but not killed. We sometimes find ourselves immersed in tears, yet always filled with deep joy. We may sometimes find ourselves experiencing lack for a season while we yet enrich many others.To some we have nothing, yet in Christ we have it all! In other words, it will sometimes look like we are losing, but we win! So, man and woman of God, let us rise up with a fresh faith and toughness as we fulfill our assignments from God. As we face the problems, principles and paradoxes of ministry, let us authenticate and not abdicate. Let us Take Faith to the World!

This article is written by Bishop Ronald E. Chipp

Senior Pastor of Faith Harvest Church in Saginaw, Michigan