To be used of God provides the greatest sense of fulfillment we ever experience! The Apostle Paul gave instructions to his son in the faith, Timothy, about being used of God:
1 Tim 1:3-5
3 As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines,
4 nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith.
5 But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
Be Willing to Follow. When we begin with God we begin learning what it means to be a servant. Timothy was directed by Paul to remain in Ephesus. He could not begin to lead unless he followed. In the Old Testament, Joseph was sold into slavery, worked menial jobs, was tempted to sin, and then thrown into an ancient dungeon, before he was promoted to second in command over all of Egypt. If we aren’t willing to follow, to the menial task and wash a few toilets along the way, we will probably never be promoted to the place God would want us to have!
Be Willing to Lead. God had great plans for Timothy, and like us, becoming a great leader begins in learning what it means to follow with a positive attitude. But when we are called upon to lead, we need to step up to the task, shake off our timidity with the help of the Lord, learn the skills of leading with insight, and then set a pace that others can follow! Paul had a specific task for Timothy: to pastor a church, to teach correct doctrine, and to glorify Christ. But leading also demands:
Be Willing to Confront. Confrontation is not getting mad and getting into a big argument! That is not confrontation! Confrontation demands that we have a loving heart, a cool head, and clear goals for what we want to accomplish. Paul asked Timothy to instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines. Sounds simple enough, right? That depends on the response! But remember we have a goal given to us!
In 1 Timothy 1:5 our goal is established: To Love with Purity – To have a Good Conscience – and a Sincere Faith. Our goal is not to quit, not to get our way, or not to trounce the opposition and then swagger out the door! Our goal is to win the heart of those we are confronting so they can graciously change their mind. Jesus taught the disciples how to do this in Matthew 18:15-20.
1. Jesus said to go to them in private in order to win their heart. Don’t tell your friends about your difficulty with that person… just go to that person in private, with love and grace, and talk! Remember the goal!
2. If the difficulty still exists Jesus said to take one or two people with you … neutral parities … who will listen to the two of you and then give you both some insight. Remember, the goal is not to win an argument!
3. If the problem is persistent and unresolved, Jesus said to take it to the church. Perhaps first to the church elders, and only after that, present it to the entire church for everyone’s decision. Remember what Paul said about the GOAL!
1 Tim 1:5 But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
If we miss the goal, we miss the process, and we end up in a mess! Our goal is love, a good conscience, and a sincere faith! Speak the truth in love! We are not attempting to be “right”, to get our way, or make them see it the way we see it! We are there to win their heart! The highest demand on us is to have LOVE FROM A PURE HEART! That way you will go away with a clear conscience … you never have to justify what you said! And that provides you the opportunity to have a sincere faith in you relationship with Jesus!
This is the beginning! Follow, Lead, and Confront with love and you will be used of God in a mighty way!