Monday, April 2, 2012

Taking Time For Transparent Reflection

How often do you take time away, just between you and God? When you are alone with God, are you as open and transparent with yourself as you should be?

I believe, as ministers we often get too busy with ministry and forget to take the needed time alone with God that we need. In Scripture, we see Jesus getting away to the mountains, we see prophets like Elijah and Moses led into extended times with God alone. It seems that through such times alone, God moves to change and mold their lives for the mission ahead.

I was recently reading through Isaiah 6, the call of Isaiah. It seems that Isaiah was spending one of those times alone with God, when God began to call him. In response to God's presence surrounding him Isaiah goes into a time of deep confession. Isaiah says, "Woe is me, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips" (Is. 6:4). This revelation is so important for Isaiah to be cleansed and prepared for the call God is giving him. God then cleanses Isaiah through touching him with the burning coal.

Ministers often build walls to protect their own psyche, which prevents them from being transparent before their congregations. We are pressured to live up to standards that seem nearly impossible, by some who we serve. In Protestant circles the church often leaves little room for true open confession and encouragement for anyone, but this is especially true of the minister. I wonder how often we forget to be transparent with God and ourselves, because we are pressured in such ways in our world?

God desires us to be fully transparent in His presence on a regular basis. When is the last time you opened yourself up to what God may want to cleanse you from? When is the last time you sincerely examined your life before the Lord? Are pressures of daily work and ministry preventing you from serious times of reflection with God?

We live in world where the fall of ministers to burnout, stress, loss of focus, and moral failure is rampant. Maybe it is time that we get serious with our own spiritual walk with the Lord. God desires our souls far above the ministries we are doing. Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 9 that he "made my body a slave, so that after preaching to others I myself will not be qualified" (1 Cor. 9:26). Have we kept ourselves in control and spent the time needed with God to face the challenges of carrying the Gospel into our world? Let us strive to be all that God wants us to be in following Him.

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