The Two Most Important Things
There are many great tools for good ministry. If you visit a Christian bookstore you'll find book after book written by pastors and evangelist equipping saints with tools for successful ministry, many of which are very good and worth the time to study. But there are two resources, sometimes underestimated, which are of the utmost importance. The first and most important is the anointing of the Holy Spirit and the second is your testimony. If an endeavor before you is without God’s blessing and He isn't present in it, don't get in it either. No matter what it cost you to be set apart from it, leave it alone. Many opportunities may come but not all of them are for you.
There was a time when Paul was forbidden to take the gospel to Asia. Had he gone to Asia anyway he might not have testified to the gospel of Christ elsewhere. Would we have even heard of Jesus? Think about the significance one act of disobedience can cause. One act of stepping out to do what we feel is good but without the blessing and anointing of the Holy Spirit can be disastrous. It is imperative that we know how to hear and follow the Holy Spirit and that we be filled with the Holy Spirit in all that we attempt to do. Without the Holy Spirit the power to break yokes and open blind eyes is null and void. Not only is it a waste of time to minister without the Holy Spirit but it can do a great deal of damage too. You can speak at any time, but can you speak with the power and anointing of Holy Spirit? You can sing any song anywhere, but can you sing with the anointing? You can't fake Him or force His hand and without Him there is no purpose for doing it.
The second part, your testimony, you have some power over and it can affect the anointing if mishandled. You may not be able to fake or force the Holy Spirit but you can grieve Him. Do not underestimate the importance of your testimony. For one thing, it is the evidence you have to show for the hope and redemption you have experienced in your own life. How do I now KNOW that God is real? He has changed me! People can say they do not believe in God but no one can take away the miracle He has shown you in your own life. The Word tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." This is one of the greatest evidences you can show people today that God is real and Jesus is alive in your life. Have old things passed away? Are ALL things new? Each of us are working out our salvation before the Lord and not one of us walks in perfection but not one of us is under the power of sin anymore either so there is now no excuse for sin. We cannot maintain our testimony and live in sin too. We cannot shout from the high places, “God has changed my life, Jesus is alive in me” and continue to live as we did when nothing was new or changed. A person who is alive in Christ is a changed person. Their desires and their deeds will be different. Philippians 2:13 says, “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” So to choose sin over the preservation of the testimony God has given you is to reject the working power of the Holy Spirit in your life. This is a terrible detriment to oneself and to any form of ministry one attempts. Your testimony isn't just the story of the day you came to know Christ as your Savior, it is the story of EVERY day that you have known Him to be your Savior. Every day you need Him and every day His mercies for you are new and freely given. Every day is a new layer to your testimony. Every day we can sing a new song to the Lord for the Lord is good and His mercies endure forever. So even though the Holy Spirit anoints and rests where He chooses we can live in such a way that He will choose us or we can grieve the Spirit and live in a way that brings reproach on God. That being said, there is mercy and forgiveness for past wrongs and the past is no reason not to start anew right now; living for God in this world and preaching truth in our words and through our testimony. At any time, God can make a mess of a life into a message of life. Who can hear the preaching of one who doubts? Not many.
So as Paul urged Timothy in Ephesians 4:1, "I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received." Jesus said in Acts, "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be my witnesses...to the ends of the earth." You need the Holy Spirit to do the work you've been sent to do. (Matt 28:19-20) Jesus said, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." This is YOUR work. So I encourage you to make these two resources a high priority in your ministry, whether you serve a congregation or just a friend. Keep your testimony and serve under the anointing and leading of the Holy Spirit and you will see God's divine hand working through you. The lives that will be changed are worth any sacrifice of sin we make.