God’s Promise for the Discouraged Preacher
Where do you turn for encouragement when you feel your confidence slipping away?
The other morning at Starbucks a good friend gave some input on my preaching. He was encouraging and affirming, but he also had some suggestions for how my preaching could be improved. After thinking and praying about his suggestions I believe they are good and wise.
But still …
Here I am—studying for Sunday’s sermon on the Beatitudes and feeling
Insecure—what else is wrong with my preaching?
Fearful—can I improve in these areas?
Defensive—but I work really hard on my preaching!
Worried—what if Sunday’s sermon is a train wreck?
I can tell there’s a problem. I’m not fully trusting Jesus. So I thought I should stop and bring this to the Father so He can change my heart.
Where to start?
I believe it was Spurgeon who said God has a promise for every problem, which means God has promises in His Word for what I’m facing right now. So I’m going to ask God to lead me to helpful promises, which I will pray over until the Spirit strengthens my faith and changes my heart.
Here’s the first promise that comes to mind:
This input is part of God’s loving plan for me.
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” (1 Cor 12:21)
God has made the body of Christ in such a way that we need each other, which means I need others to give me input on my preaching. Input from others is not something I should feel bad about, it’s a gift from God I should rejoice in. So, “thank you, Father, for this gift.” (And if you are reading this, thank you, my friend, for the input.)
My preaching doesn’t have to be perfect to be used by God.
I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. (1 Cor 3:6-7)
Why is it troubling to hear that my preaching could be improved? My preaching is (and always will be) imperfect. There’s only one perfect preacher: Jesus. The rest of us have varying levels of imperfection. But God in great mercy works through us.
So the fact that I have weaknesses and areas for growth does not mean God isn’t using my preaching.
God will help me grow in areas where I am weak.
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. (2 Tim 2:15)
I said I would focus on promises, and this verse is actually a command. But every command carries with it the promise that God will enable us to obey. So God will enable me to do my best to become a worker who rightly handles the word of truth, which means He will help me with the specific weaknesses I heard about this morning.
(And now that I think about it, isn’t that why He had my friend share them with me?)
God will help me with this Sunday’s sermon.
For the Lord GOD helps Me, therefore, I am not disgraced; therefore, I have set My face like flint, and I know that I will not be ashamed. (Isaiah 50:7)
I am turning to the Father in Jesus’ name. I am admitting that my faith is weak, my pride is wounded, and I am feeling insecure. I am asking the Father to help me. Strengthen my weak faith. Keep wounding my pride, but secure me in your love.
Right now, as I am praying over that promise my faith is growing. I have a way to go, but I am feeling peace that God is going to give me everything I need for Sunday. A burden is lifting. I’m feeling free.
Back to the Beatitudes!
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