And say to Archippus, "See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord."
(Colossians 4:17 – ESV)
(Colossians 4:17 – ESV)
Why and how do we fail to fulfill our ministry in the Lord? Often we see our own fulfillment (enjoyment) as a prerequisite to fulfilling it. In other words, we won’t do it unless we are assured we will get something out of it. Sometimes, if we are trying to be pious or make ourselves feel as if we are rightly motivated, this means results. We see our fulfillment only if we feel we are fulfilling it. This may seem subtle but these are replacements for being fulfilled in Christ, and they are a means of self-salvation, in a sense.
Our failure to do it right, in the Lord, as unto God, for His glory, is due to our functional rejection of Him, our failure to relate what we do to what He did. Remembering Him frees our heart so we can change like we are commanded to. We don’t look down at ourselves but look up to Him. Now is not the time to get our eyes off of God. We must be on guard against mere moralism. Alistair Begg – the Gospel is not an invitation to imitate Jesus Christ, but it is an invitation to be transformed by Jesus Christ.
Unless we can see Him fight and win over the forces of ministry stress and ministry burnout and ministry rebellion and ministry rejection and all of that, then how can we fight the battle ourselves? But He has done it, He has fought and won the most important battles, and He has been our substitute, He has fulfilled that ministry perfectly, and now He empowers us to do ours. We can have a deep-seated security, knowing that we can continue to fulfill our ministry, because He has fulfilled His and He is helping us to fulfill ours, and He will never leave us nor forsake us in that call. That call always has something to do with the gospel, proclaiming it and living it out in whatever situations we find ourselves in, within our church community, and within own individual worlds, with words and actions.
If we were to fulfill our wildest dreams but do them without Christ it would do us no good. But Christ has given us the provision of His presence and we can fulfill our ministry to the glory of God, because it is not about us, but Christ in us. Look to Him and believe in Him and you will see to it that your ministry is fulfilled in the Lord. Then you will be able to say like the Apostle Paul said in Colossians 1:29 – For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me. And 1 Corinthians 15:10 – But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. And Galatians 2:20, Ephesians 3:20-21, and all those other verses swimming in your head right now will start to drive the point home to you.
If you are a Christian, God has already given you a ministry, and He has accepted you in His beloved company and approved you for this position of ministry. Only when you realize that will you be able to fulfill your ministry. God has already set His love on you, prior to your obedience, because of Christ’s obedience. Knowing that, you can have the heart to start and to keep going.
Only by taking our joy from His fulfilled ministry can we truly fulfill ours. If you are only trying to fulfill your call so that you will have a fulfilled life, you are not doing it for His sake, but your own. Without taking our joy from, seeing, and resting in Christ's obedience for us, we will never be obeying for the right reason, and not even truly obeying at all.
Look to Christ. Jesus has already seen to it, and even if we lose our ministry, if we lose our family, if we lose our wealth, if we lose our health, if we lose our wives, if we lose our lives, we will never lose our salvation!