“I remember one who spoke on the missionary question one day saying, “The great question is not, ‘Will not the heathen be saved if we do not send them the gospel?’ but ‘Are we saved ourselves if we do not send them the gospel?'”
– Charles Spurgeon
“And when he prayed for his friends, Jehovah turned the captivity of Job”
The depth of any individual’s ministry as a priest in God’s house will always be in proportion to the degree to which they are free from the contagion of self. God’s blessings fall freely and often upon those who are able to set self aside and minister His grace into the lives around them. We read here in Job the conclusion of a heated exchange of words with three of his brother’s in the midst of a very distressing situation. The bitter words spoken in haste and rancor escalated the trial of Job to an agonizing level. Job’s release from this situation was finally obtained when he prayed for his friends. True priests work through the bitter exchanges in life, the hatred, variance and strife within the household of God for they have His end in sight; a body filled with His Glory each member functioning in a measure of the very life of Jesus to one another. It is here that the mettle and heart of His people are revealed. It is in these contentious moments we have the opportunity to approve ourselves unto God.
“For there must also be heresies among you, so that the approved ones may become revealed among you”
1 Corinthians 11:19 (LITV)
Those who are of the Truth will always be revealed by their conduct, character and humility. The ability to shorten our trial lies in our ability to respond with His character and grace. The words, the rejection and the outright hostility from others become the very catalyst to bring forth healing waters from our hearts. His mercy is released from those who abide in His life. The fruit of the Spirit is the outflow of any life that walks in His Spirit. In the Song of Songs the Bride describes her beloved…
“His cheeks are like a bed of spices, a raised bed of aromatic herbs. His lips are like lilies dropping flowing myrrh”
Song of Songs 5:13 (LITV)
The process of becoming a priest in His house is directly related to the development of His Character and Life within our own hearts. Jesus, when men beat and mocked Him, turned the other cheek. He did not reply to His accusers for He came as the precious Lamb of God! When men smote Him the fragrance of spices flowed effortlessly from Him in whom there is no guile. His words poured forth like the sweet smelling myrrh and He held His composure in the midst of all that evil man could bring upon Him! (Who is like unto Thee, Oh Lord of Hosts!) As He is so are we to be in this world. When men and women walk contrary to this, yet boast of their walk with Him, they reveal the darkness and blindness of their way. While many will reject His own, speak evil and despitefully use them, those who are His reveal His Life by praying, reaching out to the offending ones and truly desiring and seeking reconciliation. Those who are His reveal it by the life they live and gracious manner in which they respond to the circumstances of life.
“Who is wise and knowing among you? Let him show his works by his good behavior, in meekness of wisdom”
James 3:17 (LITV)
This is the heart of a priest which beats and ever seeks to live in this world to glorify Him regardless of the cost to self.