Dealing With Accusations & Confidence In Ministry: Part 3

Fellow Young Minister,

Last week, we discussed 3 preliminary enemies that we face as the voice of envy, accusation, starts speaking: Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem. Their ultimate goal is paralysis by distraction. But the question is, paralysis of what?

Ministries that aren’t confined to the 1.5-hour slot that many inaccurately refer to as “church”. Nehemiah started pursuing a calling that was going to affect an empire, not a building. It meant distinction, identity and legacy in the eyes of the world at the time. But Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem were men of other nations, detesting the distinction of the Israelites as they purposed to rebuild this wall, so they called in reinforcements. They sent a spy by the name of Shemaiah, the descendant of Delaiah and Mehetabel (Nehemiah 6:10).

His name means “Jehovah has heard”, from the lineages that mean “Jehovah has freed” and “whom God favors” (Strong’s H8098, H1806, H4105).

Shemaiah told Nehemiah to run to the temple because there was a rumor that Nehemiah was going to be assassinated at night. He tried tempting Nehemiah into thinking that the temple was the only place where Jehovah would hear us, free us, and give us His favor. This is the confidence that the adversary tries to ransack. He tries to get us to only commit to ministries that are confined to church service times and not make an impact on our world. This is the ultimate goal of envy – to paralyze the world-changing momentum that God wants to impart to us. The accuser of the brethren begins working behind the scenes in a perversely personal way. He will “play” and smite unfairly and want us to think that the “church building” is the only place to find a sense of security. David did say that help comes FROM the sanctuary, but that does not necessarily mean that help comes WITHIN the sanctuary (Psalm 20:2). In response to the devil “playing” unfairly, we must learn how to pray and fight unfairly in the Spirit, appealing to our superiority through Christ and not the inferiority of our flesh. There are ZERO verses to support the fact that the church is a material building. Jesus has anointed and appointed us to reach our world with an authority to tread on enemies that sting from in front and behind – and NOTHING shall by any means harm us (Luke 10:19). These attacks on our character can manifest from before us or behind us and we must allow the Lord to make us spiritually sharp.

How did Nehemiah become so sharp in the Lord? I believe the secret is in the overview of chapters 1 and 2. Nehemiah began praying, fasting, and weeping in the month of Chisleu, which is Kislev; but the building of the wall did not begin until the month of Nisan, ending 52 days later (Nehemiah 6:15-16). This shows us that Nehemiah purposed in himself to pray, fast, and weep for 4 months while the wall was only rebuilt in less than 2 months. Here’s how I believe the Lord kept Nehemiah. By Nehemiah committing himself to a spiritual and natural work in secret, the Lord preserved Nehemiah in the spiritual and natural in public. Nehemiah prayed, fasted and wept in secret OVER TWICE AS MUCH as he worked with God’s people in public. Could we say the same? If we do not highly prioritize our confidence, integrity, and identity in the Lord like Nehemiah, we gamble with our ability to respond like he did.

Could we say that we privately prayed and fasted OVER twice as long as we have publicly ministered? Our confidence in ministry does not come from how many opportunities we get or don’t get. Our confidence comes from the One who called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light. We ought to not worship at the altar of cultural opportunity, thinking we are validated by what happens in a building. We must find our confidence in Christ and reach our world, as He has called us to.

Fellow Young Minister, I mightily believe in you. Ron is better, by the way. Let us keep praying for one another as we learn how to deal with accusations and confidence in ministry.

Dealing With Accusations & Confidence in Ministry: Part 2

Fellow Young Minister,

Thank you for your welcoming response regarding my previous letter. I wrote to you concerning the challenges we face through envy and accusation as we grow in ministry. These influences are birthed from the kingdom of darkness and are the roots of the spiritual resistance, tempting our passions by challenging our character, that we may become distracted and take our eyes off of God’s mission.

Nehemiah is our prime example.

He distinctly had 3 men oppose him: Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arab.

In the heat of our character being challenged, we will face these 3 spirits. Remember, their ultimate mission is PARALYSIS BY DISTRACTION!

First is Sanballat, the Horonite. His name means “strength” from the lineage that means “two caves” (Strong’s H5571 & H2773). Through accusation, this spirit tries to remove the vigor and strength we apply towards the vision God has given us. If it is successful, our spiritual vision is left cavernous. Second is Geshem, the Arab. His name means “rain” from the lineage that means “sterility” (Strong’s H1654 & H6152). Through accusation, this spirit tries to discourage us by having us think that God’s blessing in the mission will end up becoming unfruitful, because our character cannot “hold up”. Third is Tobiah, the Ammonite. His name means “Jehovah is good” from the lineage that means “tribal” (Strong’s H2900 & H5983). Through accusation, this spirit tries to dampen our passion with complacency, that we may focus only on the status quo of our own unit. The temptation is that we don’t have the character through Christ to push the envelope.

Be aware. When the letter was sent to Nehemiah after the fourth wave of opposition, the Bible says that only Sanballat and Geshem spoke in the letter. Tobiah is silent, because complacency is almost always a feeling and not a voice.
These three spirits were calling Nehemiah to come out to the plain of Ono (Nehemiah 6:2). Ono was the valley of craftsmen and holds the significance that these spirits want to take us to the place where we are only focusing on our own “craft” and not on the bigger picture of the kingdom of God (Strong’s H207). Their strategy is to paralyze us from growing in leadership because we will begin to question our character and ability to lead others in God’s direction, so we ought to stop trying.

These are critical points of strategy that are operating when accusations come our way. We must recall that the enemy is a spirit, not a person. These spirits may follow us to an altar call, to the platform, to the pew, to our cars, to work, to wherever. We must endure like a good soldier of the Lord Jesus.

The Bible equates our enemy as the accuser of the brethren. So we must learn to not only protect others from falling prey to these pressuring accusations, we must find safety in loving brethren who will speak against these accusations with us. There are prayers that we cannot pray over ourselves, because God wants us to lovingly pray for one another (Ask Paul). We must come to a place where we say, “I am my brother’s keeper!” The adversary knows that we are focused on becoming who God wants us to become, so the wedge he tries to insert is between each other, by having us fall prey to these accusations – either in isolation or cooperation.

I must say, I have another letter for you next week to elaborate on some final matters regarding accusations and confidence in ministry. It took me awhile to just digest Sanballat, Geshem, and Tobiah. But some others come on the scene as well, to compromise our confidence in ministry. Remember, EVERY evil work is at hand. Though we are dealing with demonic wisdom as James would say, God has made us “wiser than our enemies” through His Word (Psalm 119:98).

Dealing With Accusations & Confidence in Ministry: Part 1

Fellow Young Minister,

I spoke to Ron this past weekend. The moment I heard his voice I knew something was disturbing him. He kept on heavily sighing till he cracked, “Man, I don’t know if ministry is for me.” I could feel him covering his own face on the other side of the phone. He proceeded, “I want to please God, and I’m giving it my all, but I feel like people think I’m drawing attention to myself”. He paused, “Some bozo said that I think I’m all that.” Ron wept.

I’m sure there’s not a single honest person in ministry that likes to be accused. Yet, I believe it is one of the most acute ways that our character is challenged. Ron was facing something that I believe we will all face in becoming who God wants us to become: accusation.

Accusations can really cut to the heart because they often seem to slice right into our vulnerabilities. We can say something that was misinterpreted, misunderstood, or miscommunicated – doing it with focus on God’s kingdom, and encounter something called envy. The Bible says “where envying and strife is, there is confusion and EVERY evil work” (James 3:16). Using Strong’s G2205 and G2052 causes the verse to read this way, that “where [rivalry] and [factions are], there is [disturbance and instability] and every evil work”. That is a frightening verse that God has had to remind me of – not SOME evil work – EVERY evil work. Certainly, evil and opposition come against those that give up everything to become who God wants them to become. It’s a spiritual necessity that is supported by the Scriptures over and over again. And I want to share with you something that I discovered about Nehemiah, because though the Scriptures say we effectively overcome evil by doing good and God DELIVERS from evil; it’s not a humanly simple thing (Romans 12:21, Matthew 6:9-13).

Nehemiah was a cupbearer made governor, who got a burden for the people of God and the mission of God. He determined to rebuild Jerusalem’s torn wall, knowing it represented legacy and security for the city of Jerusalem. He set out to do this after being able to enlist builders from the nation, only after enduring the challenges of bringing people together and other socio-economic battles. At this point, the accusations begin. Four times, Nehemiah was pressed to stop his endeavors. While the fifth time, a letter came to him. It stated:

“It is reported among the nations, and Geshem says that you and the Jews plan to rebel; therefore, according to these rumors, you are rebuilding the wall, that you may be their king. 7 And you have also appointed prophets to proclaim concerning you at Jerusalem, saying, ‘There is a king in Judah!’ Now these matters will be reported to the king. So come, therefore, and let us consult together [among the villages in the plain of Ono].”

Nehemiah was accused of trying to make a name for himself, because he had given himself to God’s mission and God’s people. They even said he was appointing a prophetic ministry unto himself to get self-approval.

Nehemiah’s response? He plainly says that these things aren’t so, but invented in the heart of the enemy in order to make God’s people AFRAID and DISTRACTED (Nehemiah 6:8-9). Many times, in pursuit of God and His kingdom, the adversary will try to distract us with the fact that we may be making others feel uncomfortable because of our pursuit in God. The adversary knows we love people and have a burden for God’s kingdom; so he tries to use our passionate sincerity against us in order to halt our hunger. We are reminded that Peter possibly faced the same thing when he got out of the boat in Matthew 14. Jesus NEVER singles Peter out to be the only one to step out of the boat, yet only Peter responds.

Why does God allow this? Because for different areas of His kingdom, God establishes precedent through those who are wired for leadership. So, how do we know if we are wired for leadership?

Well. Do we feel the pull to establish a precedent?

It is through this PULL to establish a precedent that we will face opposition. Two forces that oppose those hungry to establish a precedent are accusation and envy. Accusation is the voice of envy and if we do not have a revelation of our IDENTITY and INTEGRITY in Christ, we will look at ourselves in the mirror of torment, over whether or not we fit the description that we are being accused with. Accusations come from the adversary, correction comes from the Lord and His appointed, anointed leadership. It is critical to understand this. We must respond like Nehemiah, “THESE THINGS ARE NOT SO…” (Nehemiah 6:8-9).

The thing is, my beloved fellow young minister, is that we will become WORN OUT by the accuser of the brethren IF WE DO NOT SPEAK AGAINST this voice of envy called accusation (Revelation 12:10). Our primary enemy is not people, it is the spirit that acts behind them. God allows this to happen through people even close to us because He is shaping our character through it. But we must allow God to use us in return to shape the spiritual realm – this is done by WHAT WE SPEAK.

This is one of the principles of true prophecy and false prophecy – BOTH considered prophecy; yet, one God initiates, the other the enemy initiates. Verse 11 shows us that Nehemiah considered this accusation a PROPHECY spoken against him. But in order to nullify the false prophecy, Nehemiah had to SPEAK a TRUE prophecy about his identity in the Lord. So we must do the same.

REMEMBER. This is done almost entirely, if not completely, in a prayer room, because our primary adversary is a spirit, not a person. Through this, we must endure hardship like a good soldier of the Lord.

I have more to share with you next week, because it is devices like these that paralyze prophetic ministries from coming into fruition.

I believe in you. Remember Ron in your prayers. Let him know how great he is, too.

The Blessing of Anonymity

Fellow Young Minister,

Remember Jamie, from when we first got into the Church? We’ve talked with him a few times. He’s often digging deep at youth rallies with a puddle of snot and tears at the altar. Nobody knows who he really is, but the guy goes after it. You can tell he’s quite involved with the local church but in terms of being “known-known” – I guess just at youth events. I overheard a conversation that someone had with him, in fact. They asked, “So what do you do?” Jamie proceeded to say how he taught and enjoyed bible studies, helping various ministries on a consistent basis. Very few words, although. Then he was asked by a young man, “By any chance, are you called to preach?” You could tell Jamie was caught off guard, “Well…”. He lightly bobbed his head, “Yeah.”

It was an unusual response. While Jamie was confident, it was evident he was pondering another definition of “preach”. So I invited myself to the conversation, “That’s a rather unique response. What do you mean when you say ‘yeah’?” I lightly bobbed my head to imitate him, but I became very intrigued in what he had to say. Jamie replied, “It’s a lot of ‘under-the-radar’ stuff. Ya know?” My mind immediately jumped to a series on prayer I had attended, where the minister was teaching on the ministry of intercessory prayer. I had such a strong feeling this was what Jamie meant, but he was keeping it to himself. It totally went over the head of the guy who asked as he replied, “Cool! How do you preach?” The question made me want to clobber the face of this moment’s shallow culture, for this young man’s ignorance was plainly revealed.

I tried not to be hostile and retorted, “Anointed. That’s how.” Jamie was surprised, yet relieved I answered on his behalf. But he and I both knew I had never heard him preach. Jamie peacefully excused himself to help out his youth group as everyone was dismissed to the afterburner.

Guess what? I saw Jamie on the flyer for a popular conference I attended. He recognized me and gave such a welcoming greeting. It wasn’t 30 seconds before someone showed up and asked, “Hey Bro. Jamie! You got to preach this conference! How do you feel? How did you get this opportunity?” Jamie chuckled, “God knows. Just do the will of God everyday and stay in your lane.” The answer seemed to satisfy the individual as they dismissed themselves. I quickly grew to appreciate Jamie. He spoke in code, too. But what Jamie said next was very clear to me.
He lightly snorted to me and said, “Want to know the real story?”
“Humor me.”
Jamie proceeded, “I was told my name was brought up a year ago. But when it was mentioned, nobody in the room knew me except the person that submitted it. So, my name was pulled from consideration. And God was answering my prayer.”
“Your prayer?”, I inquired.
“Yeah.” He replied. “I was praying a lot, at the time, to be hid with Christ in God (a Colossians 3:3 reference). It was a blessing for me to have such confirmation that while I was not known among men, I was known by God. Besides, I wasn’t seeking opportunities and preaching isn’t a sport, anyway. I don’t need to convince the coach of my abilities. Jesus has seen me train.” He continued, “Most, if not all, of the heavy-lifting of preaching is done in prayer, anyway.”

Jamie hit the nail on the head. Intercessors go unnoticed many, many times. But without them, there is no Church or move of the Spirit. In like manner, it is more valuable in the kingdom of God to be an effective pray-er, than it is to be a mere preacher. Biblically, preacher means “messenger of divine truth” (Strong’s G2783) and a short study of Acts reveals that the WHOLE gospel was declared to the WHOLE world by the WHOLE Church. Being a preacher in the New Testament was not a status symbol, it was obedience to the Great Commission. Jamie helped shine light on the fact that the ministry of preaching with the ministry of fervent, earnest prayer – that only God knows of – is the objective of Spirit-led ministers. Without biblical prayer, preaching is either dead-weight oratory or sensationalism of speech. Without biblical preaching, prayer is just a river that feeds itself and has no deeds attached to it. In other words, declaring the gospel (preaching) is the release of prayer, while prayer is the reservoir of preaching. These two are New Testament commandments for every believer. One very well-known man of God taught, “When you’ve done all of the praying you ought to, go out there and act on it!” It’s like praying to be a light and talking to nobody that day!

Concerning these areas of supernatural ministry, the blessing of anonymity is that any impure motive is challenged. We will no longer focus on preaching as a ramp for reputation and prayer as a Boy/Girl Scout badge. They are both acts of faithful service for our heavenly King. And He takes good notes of us.

Even Paul sought to preach the gospel in certain regions and churches but the Holy Spirit FORBID him (Acts 16:6, Romans 15) I am not assuming that Paul had impure motives. But what I am saying is that a closed door can secretly be advancement. Paul ended up reaching ALL of Asia Minor later on through teaching in the school of Tyrannus. If we are not careful, we can allow cultural conditioning to make us equate anonymity with ineffectiveness. The kingdoms of light and darkness know who the difference-making young ministers are. The sons of Sceva found that out real quick (Acts 19:11-20).

Whether seen or unseen, let us do the will of God with our whole being!

See you next week, my friend!