I was thick in the midst of full-time ministry as founder and director of Walk by Faith Ministry, but I was so riddled with financial fear that I took on some “work on the side” to “make some extra money.” No, I was not selling my body. But I was selling a gift I had been given. A friend of mine hired me to do some writing and editing for him. I could not have been more thrilled. I even asked him to donate the money I earned to my ministry, further justifying in my mind my “side work” while simultaneously convincing him that he was doing a good thing also. Instead of asking to be paid, I asked if he would like to simply donate to “a good cause.”
It never ceases to amaze me how I can justify something that is wrong by “making” it look good and right. Thankfully, I am so intimate in my relationship with God and so grounded in His Word that His Holy Spirit convicts me quickly when I fall short of His glory. Nevertheless, I cannot say that I was not deeply surprised when He actually accused me of “prostitution.” Essentially, He showed me that I was “selling” the gift of writing He had given me to “earn” money because I did not trust Him to provide for me and the ministry if I simply listened to Him and obeyed what He had told me to do. He had called me into full-time ministry, and He has not asked me to do anything else concerning an income.
I was shocked. I was convicted. And I made a radical decision. Though my decision did not make sense to my flesh, nor to the world, I knew what I had to do. I repented. I sought and received God’s forgiveness, and I gave up the “side work”. That job could easily have produced more and more work, whether through my friend or through others. In fact, shortly after I began working for him, he referred me to another individual needing editing help. One quick look at that person’s nature of work revealed to me that the person was involved in false religion. Money? Yes. Prostitution? Yes. I would have sold myself once again to the ways of the world to “make money” while denying God my full attention.
The Lord has provided for me and the ministry ever since, and I am quite sure He will continue to so long as I make my best effort to seek and to stay in His will. I have to say, however, that the greatest benefit of giving up that work has not been God’s abundant provision. It is, above all else, that I feel closer and cleaner with the Lord when I show Him my love for Him in obedience.
Do I continue to fall short? Yes, daily. Do I continue to seek His forgiveness when I mess up? Absolutely. Do I stay close to Him and remain solidly planted in His Word to ensure I am ever seeking Him and His ways? Yes. Does the Lord convict me when I fall back into prostitution or adultery by putting my trust in the world’s ways instead of His ways? Indeed.
And, thankfully, when He does convict me, I know just what to do. I confess my sins, and seek and receive His forgiveness. And such is my journey following Jesus. Constantly seeking the Lord, constantly seeking His ways. Learning, growing, and finding myself ever in love with my Lord!
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:33 NIV