Did anyone else go into ministry thinking it would save them?
Did anyone else go into ministry believing they would get better…that they would desire sin less…they would look more like Jesus?
Of course, I didn’t give those reasons in my interview. My reason for pursuing a professional ministry was to do God’s will and to serve God’s people. And I really did want to do those things…but in doing in those things I better get better!
God did not exist.
A few months ago I decided I didn’t believe this stuff anymore. None of it. The Bible is a sham. Jesus never came. God did not exist. He couldn’t because if He did exist…I was screwed.
I was just sitting in my office thinking about my life and hit me…I’m not even close to being as good as I thought I would be after four years of ministry. My life doesn’t look the way a pastor’s life should look. In fact, by honestly looking at myself that morning, I saw areas of my life that looked worse than before!
So either God was angry with me (or worse, apathetic towards me) or He didn’t exist.
Those were my only choices and in that moment, for the first time in my life, I chose unbelief. Complete and total unbelief. I’m not talking about some sophomoric doubt here. HE DOES NOT EXIST!
And you know what happened…
I had the most amazing day of rest I have ever experienced!
I left work. It was a beautiful day outside. I found a spot I didn’t think anyone would find me and I lay on a blanket enjoying the Florida sun for three hours. No prayers. No talking to God. No feeling guilty.
I didn’t worry about getting better because there was no one to get better for!
I wasn’t depressed about how I was or more importantly, who I wasn’t!
I could just be me!
I kept wondering why it had taken me thirty years to realize I was trying to please someone who either couldn’t be pleased or who didn’t even exist in the first place?!
In front of Jesus as a mess?
Then I read Zechariah 3.
Then I saw Joshua, the High Priest, standing before the angel of the Lord (Jesus) and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him.
The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?”
Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel.
Wait a second…Joshua showed up in front of Jesus a mess?
He was the High Priest. God had prescribed in great detail to Joshua what needed to be done to stand before Him…all priests knew…and Joshua showed up in filthy clothes? What an idiot?!
Or maybe Joshua understood something that I didn’t. Maybe Joshua believed something that I didn’t.
Satan Accuses, but Jesus rebukes Satan
And then I realized who it was that was angry with me.
The accusations I have heard my whole life were real and were from someone who did actually exist…but I’ve spent most of my life incorrectly identifying to whom that voice belonged.
So then I started thinking…What if we as pastors stood before our congregations in filthy rags?
I guess they would hear Jesus rebuke Satan.
And then we would hear Him say…
“Take off his filthy clothes…See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put rich garments on you.”
So glad it’s all about grace.
P.S. I believe!