Freedom For Effective Ministry

What are the hidden struggles of your heart?

We are living a paradox. We speak of being the great army of God that will win the world to Christ. Yet, in more than 33 years of pastoring, I have observed how woundedness, inner struggles, resentment, bitterness, and unforgiveness devastate believers’ lives. They immobilize God’s people and render their ministries ineffective.

“It’s time for a radical change in the Church. It’s time for us to become active soldiers in the army of God rather than remain defeated, wounded and ineffective prisoners of the enemy.”

Such pain can drain our energy and consume our thoughts. Wrestling with inner conflicts and difficulties means that energy is spent trying hard to make it through the day and only the little strength that remains is used for God’s work. When I challenge people about extravagant giving, or the opportunity for world evangelism they often reply, “I can hardly do what’s on my slate now, let alone increase my commitments and ministry activities.”

It’s time for a radical change in the Church. It’s time for us to become active soldiers in the army of God rather than remain defeated, wounded and ineffective prisoners of the enemy. I believe this has put us in a do or die season. The problem of sin in the Body is so widespread that God is calling us to accountability. For example, few sins hinder the work of the Holy Spirit more than those of judging and condemning fellow believers. If we admit our sins and ask God to forgive us, we will be free of judgment ourselves and will see a fresh and powerful outpouring of the Holy Spirit for harvest. Like wheat in a field, for many years of renewal we’ve basked in the Son, grown in His love, and have been refreshed by rain from heaven. Now we've come to the threshing floor. I believe God uses this image so we can understand that the hard work involved in becoming usable is normal. In ancient times newly-harvested wheat was flailed here with threshing instruments to knock off the hard outer shell and expose the grain. It was then tossed into the air so the wind could carry away the chaff. The grain which fell to the ground was gathered, ground into flour and baked in fire to become bread for the hungry.

“God loves you just the way you are, but He loves you far too much to leave you the way you are.”

The threshing floor was also a place where the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon and David for judgment or war. Today He is there with His winnowing fan in hand ready to purge us and blow away the chaff that keeps us from being overcomers in God’s army. Then with pure hearts we will flow in His grace, love and mercy, being fruitful in ministry.

Is your life in crisis? Are life’s pressures increasing? God may be taking you to the threshing floor. Your time may have come to deal with destructive issues that hold you back from effective ministry. Examine your heart. Are you dealing with sin? Are you struggling with injustices and calling for fairness or revenge? Are you demanding your rights and thereby judging or condemning others? Granted, God loves you just the way you are, but He loves you far too much to leave you the way you are. Invite Him to deal ruthlessly with the chaff in your life. Co-operate with His corrective purposes. Give the Holy Spirit permission to reveal the hidden struggles of your heart, and let His threshing instruments of forgiveness and repentance open your heart, clear away energy-draining pain and resentment, and revitalize and restore you. There is freedom on the other side of the threshing floor. Forgiveness and repentance give you the Lords Sabbath rest of easy yokes and light burdens. Satan cannot follow you there to neutralize your effectiveness. Allow the Son to set you free to be an overcoming, faith-filled, on fire member of God’s army.

Originally Published April/May 1997 Editor John Arnott