Speak and write about what life has taught you, not only what you have heard of other’s lives and writings.

This is what’s missing in so much of the preaching and teaching today! It needs to be a living experience with us, not just talking about God, but sharing our personal experience in the Word. This lack is the reason that so much preaching and teaching seems flat and empty.

It always seems that one’s personal witness is what touches hearts and minds the most.

Not all that we teach will be from our personal experience. But is there any better way to teach? Who would you rather learn to snow-ski from—one who has learned about it only from books, or one who has had personal experience with skiing?

It’s easier to talk about things that skim the surface. This is why that route is taken by most in the ministry. But to go inward and push out that spirit is avoided by most.

The Spirit of God has to be personalized in your human vessel. The writing and speaking then become an extension of the New Creation—and that makes all the difference. It’s the difference between just talking about the Word, and feeding the people the Word. Your individual character is still in it, but then it means Christ is also! Thus we have a dramatic difference in the speaking and writing.

He will let you function, but He will teach you that without Him you can do nothing (John 15:5). You will rejoice in the fact that He lets you function and be a part of it. Our spirit has to be part of the work—He has not made us robots.

Of course here lies some of the danger also, because it is so easy in this human framework to think that we are doing the work, and when pride seeps in it’s deadly. God cannot work with proud hearts (James 4:6). We will then be laid aside by God.

A true minister of the Word who will constantly feed the people must be under the discipline of the Holy Spirit so much that this reliance on self is constantly dealt with. A true minister of the Word ministers God’s Word from a personalized point of view. He is not just talking about the Word but the individualized New Creation of Christ within his individual make-up also goes out to the people.

Thus we have different ministers manifesting the Spirit of God in different ways, as their individual characteristics go out with God’s Spirit as part of the New Creation.

God works with the vessels of His choosing, and it’s not because of their qualifications. Look at the disciples, just 50 days before they were filled with power—on the night Jesus was taken into custody—they all fled like cowards when the battle got thick. What kind of soldiers were they?

But God would use it. He would use it to show them a little more of what self is. I’ve often thought of the many times I have turned my back on Jesus, and went on to do my own thing in the world.

A few months back, while I was studying into the gospels, I noticed only two men came to claim the body of Jesus while He hung there on the cross. They were not part of the twelve. Now stop and think about this for a minute. Here was a man that you were close to for over three years, went everywhere together, laughed with him, ate, were close for three years. Then the night the police arrest him you not only forsake him, but after they kill him, you don’t even go to claim the body—not like leaving the body in a morgue somewhere, but on a cross for the vultures and other birds to devour!

That had to tear them apart when they thought about it afterwards—even though you know you’re forgiven, that’s got to be agony.

But God would use this, as one of the things that would show them self for what it is. After they had produced failure of the greatest kind then they would be ready to be used by the Master. Just 50 days later, men who acted like cowards would be filled with the Power of God to go on and astound the world—all because now the Life of the One who died on the cross would be in them to produce! Praise be to our wonderful God.

That’s what must be in place if God is going to use us. We must be taken through the Romans 7 experience, where we come to see "nothing good dwells in me" (verse 18).

That’s what is missing in so many who try to minister in God’s Temple today. They fail to see self for what it is, therefore they bring their strong confident selves into the Temple of God instead of coming there with fear and trembling (1 Cor 2:3). The result is some of the chaos that we have been seeing in the Churches these past few years.

For proper ministry the vessels must be taken through the Romans 7 experience. That must be in place if we are going to minister in God’s Temple today. Otherwise we will bring self into God’s Temple to defile it, and then we stand on very dangerous ground.

As God teaches us the vital lessons to see Him, and self for what it is, we will boast no more in ourselves, but our boast will be in the Cross of Jesus Christ (Gal 6:14).

—Tommy Willis

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