"I am acting with great boldness toward you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with comfort. In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy." — 2 Corinthians 7:2-4, ESV
Last night I had to preach a message to the FLOOD community that I described on my Facebook status as such:
I just finished my prep for tonight's message at FLOOD. OH MY GOSH!!! This is a warning: tonight is a not a message for the faint of heart. I'm convinced that tonight is a night for the Holy Spirit to break us down to bring us back up again. Come expecting to see the miraculous and be prepared to be changed. Staying the same is not an option!
And I came out with both barrels. The thing is that I can say this with all honesty, sincerity, and integrity: I spoke this message out of love for the FLOOD community.
But then I woke up today and kept hearing this in my head: But what if I was too hard on them. I don't want to come across as arrogant. What if I said something that would cause some to not come back. I couldn't get those words to stop.
The motivation behind my preaching is simple: to exalt Jesus as the greatest. That's what it's all about. So my ultimate desire is to please him and bring him glory in every message I preach. But I do not ever want to be lead by one of my own personal agendas, smashing specific individuals by way of the pulpit, leaving grace and love out of the picture entirely.
And so as I kept thinking through this morning, and for part of the rest of the day into the evening, I came across this verse in my time with God. And the Holy Spirit comforted my soul, bringing peace to my mind because I was faithful to proclaim his message.
PREACHERS: God will not always ask you to preach the message that is nice and well received by each and every single person who hears it. Rather, he will ask you to preach the message that is according to his design and desire. Because of that, there will be times of great comfort and sympathetic preaching, but also times of having to boldly confront in order to see them move on into more of the Greatest Good: Jesus. We do not have the calling or the right to preach for the applause of men. We only have the privilege to preach for the applause of heaven. The only thing is this: sometimes gaining the applause of heaven will come with the heers of those on earth. Just be prepared.