Whether you are just starting in ministry or you have been on this trail for a long time, the life of a minister is unlike any other occupation on earth. Why? Because those who are given the responsibility of overseeing the body of Christ are being entrusted with the most precious gem on earth: God's people. This obligation will always come with a price tag that will cost more than ministers first want to pay. Believe me, I preached my first message 25 years ago this year (2018), and there were many times I tried to quit ministry. Regardless of my attempts to run from God's call on my life, I failed at it every time. As a minister, you can run, but you can't hide from the omnipresent God.
Looking back, there was one truth that remained central to my calling, and that truth is the fact that God commissioned my life for His ministry service (Eph. 4). Every time I wanted to go left or right instead of straight toward the call, it was this anchored truth that brought me right back to His course for my life.
The Rhema Word of God Is the Most Important Word You Will Ever Hear in Life
I want to zero in on one of the most important aspects of the call of God on your life. The call of God will remain stronger, louder and more determined in your life than any other entity when you have a rhema word from the Lord. The rhema word of God will anchor you for life! The rhema word of God spoken over your life will sustain every step you take on earth, regardless of what you go through. It's this rhema word that will cause you to stay when everyone else has left. Let's take a look at it here in Luke 1:35-38 (NIV):
The angel answered her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you. Therefore the Holy One who will be born will be called the Son of God. Listen, your cousin Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age. And this is the sixth month with her who was declared barren. For with God nothing will be impossible."
Mary said, "I am the servant of the Lord. May it be unto me according to your word." Then the angel departed from her (Luke 1:35-38).
I'm sure you are aware of this passage of Scripture; it's really common around Christmas time. (This isn't a Christmas Eve message). I want to point out what just happened here. Mary was minding her own business, and the angel Gabriel showed up telling her she would give birth to the deliverer of Israel, the Son of God. Some of her first words were, "How? I am a virgin."
The angel responds with a few more statements but then says something really interesting. He says something like this, "For no word (rhema) that comes out of God's mouth will ever fail." The meaning of the word rhema applied to this verse goes something like this: Any spoken thing, form of matter, substance, event, decree or occurrence that ever exits the mouth of God will, without a doubt, undeniably happen, and this is promised for life. If God said it; it's going to happen, guaranteed!
This rhema word spoken by God through Gabriel to Mary was the exact word that resonated with Mary's DNA. How do I know? She last became pregnant without having sex. Something obviously had to change within the molecular structure of her life in order for this to happen. The DNA for another person living inside her womb had to come from somewhere.
This spoken word (rhema) from God became the divine destiny for her life. This word was now her compass and divine plan for every decision thereafter. At that moment, everything in her life changed in order to line up with God's rhema word, the DNA of her destiny. Fulfilling this spoken word from God became the most important role Mary would ever play, and she did it. This rhema word from God spoke louder to her compared to any other word on earth. This promising word that she held onto created the foundation for every step she would every take from that moment forward.
Ministers Must Hear the Rhema Word of God for Themselves
Fellow minister, the most important word you can ever hear in your life is the rhema word of God spoken over you. It is the spoken promise of why you exist. It's the divine call that will help you determine how you will carry out every decision you will ever make for the rest of your life. This spoken word is the foundation beneath every step you will ever take. The rhema word of God manifested in your life will help you determine what doors to walk through and what doors to shut. It will assist you in determining what location you will move to and what other occupations (secular or not) you will take.
When God's ministers grab hold of the rhema word of God for their life, it will assist the body of Christ in hearing the Word of the Lord for themselves. This is the higher calling of our lives as ministers; teaching God's sheep how to hear God directly. When we hear God and know how to walk His words out in our lives, our sheep (those who trail behind our leadership) will understand how to follow God better.
We Must Receive the Rhema Word of God and Learn to Walk It out by Faith
Notice Mary's final response to Gabriel. Mary said "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May your it be unto me according to your word [rhema] (Luke 1:38). She declared that God's rhema word spoken over her life, received by her and manifest into her life, will be completed in her.
Paul says it so well in 1 Timothy 6:20a: "O Timothy, guard that which is committed to your trust."
Paul is telling Timothy to guard the deposit that has been given by God directly to Timothy. This deposit is first and foremost, the gospel. This seed will be in Timothy's life forever. It is something that was cultivated partially by Paul's teachings. But this deposit (what had been entrusted to Timothy) also has the call of God attached to it. As ministers, we are to guard what is entrusted into our lives. This is both the Word of God and the call of God on our lives.
When we receive the rhema word for our life, we will guard what has been entrusted to us and we will also turn far away from anything that might destroy it.
"Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith" (1 Tim. 6:20-21, NIV).
Ministers, it is time we hear the rhema word of God for our lives. It is the single most important word we will ever hear.
Andy Sanders has been speaking for 25 years. He has traveled extensively around the U.S. and other parts of the world. He is a prolific writer who carries both a prophetic and leadership-type message to the church. Sanders has a B.A. from Central Bible College and a master's and doctorate in Christian education from Freedom Seminary, graduating with honors. He is married to Cathy, and their family resides in Syracuse, New York.
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