Very early in life we experience our limits. We learn what we can and what we cannot do. We make adjustments to live within our capacities and abilities. We learn to accept them. We master managing our strengths so we can live within our comfort zone. We don’t like stepping into situations that take us out of it. Our comfort zone is like a protective fence around us.
When Jesus gave us the Great Commission (Matthew 29:18-20), He was well aware of His disciples’ comfort zones. He knew well what they could and could not do. He knew their limitations. The disciples’ prideful motives, lack of faith and hardened hearts were very familiar to Jesus.
In order to press on in ministry, we need to step out of our comfort zone. Practically every leadership school teaches this vital principle that Jesus Himself modeled to His disciples. To grow we need to allow Jesus to put us into new and challenging situations.
We need to apply this principle to our work as evangelists.
Pay Attention to Your Heart
The heart of a spiritual leader is the spring from which the ministry’s direction, team culture and mission fruitfulness are determined. We need to remind ourselves that the flesh profits nothing in the Kingdom of Jesus (John 6:63), so we constantly need to renew our commitment to never put confidence in ourselves (Philippians 3:3).
One of the greatest models for advancing the mission of Jesus and sharing the gospel is Paul. He recognized the need for the Holy Spirit to empower us:“I pray that out of his glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being…” Ephesians 3:16-17
The life that God offers requires us to live beyond our own strength and talent, by living according to the Holy Spirit’s power. He is the Paraclete (the Greek word for “helper” or “one who aids and strengthens”). People living mission-oriented, Spirit-filled lives depend on God completely. They trust Him to accomplish His purposes in and through their lives, ministry work, and evangelism efforts.
Walk in the Power of the Spirit
Walking in the Spirit means we are constantly, by God’s grace and power, doing the following:
We must affirm our lack of trust in ourselves … “they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Gal 5:24-25). Walking in the Spirit affirms that we cannot trust in our own flesh and that we do not want to follow its desires. We choose humility before Christ!
Walking in the Spirit affirms as well that the life we live is by faith in Christ. We do not look to our own power or sufficiency to seek and save the lost. We seek to be empowered by Him as we fulfill our ministry.
Acknowledging and Asking
We tell God regularly that we can do nothing without His help. We need “to be strengthened with power through the Spirit” (Eph 3:16). We want “to be filled – directed and controlled – by the Holy Spirit” (Eph 5:18). We ask God to do what He desires through us, and like little children, we reach for our heavenly Father’s hand as we move throughout the world of our everyday lives.
We appropriate the Holy Spirit’s help and power. Anything we ask according to His will, He answers. God promises that if we ask anything that is “according to his will, he will hear us” and that we “have what we have asked from him” (1 John 5:13,14). We can trust Him and this promise. We can be sure that He will come alongside us to help us – to strengthen us – when we ask, expressing our faith in Him. That way, we can live beyond our comfort zone – live “outside the box” – as He provides His power to the challenges we face.
The life that God offers us is abundant (John 10:10). The life He wants to live through us is full and meaningful. It is different than anything we could ever imagine on our own and anything we could ever hope to live in our own strength.
Keep in Step with the Spirit
As we follow Jesus into His Luke 19:10 mission to seek and save the lost, let us be empowered by the Holy Spirit in all that we do and keep our hearts, minds, and practices in step with Him. What does it mean to keep in step with the Holy Spirit when there’s a constant tug from our flesh to do our own thing?
Watch Dave’s story to find out how to turn that tug of war into a beautiful dance. As we yield control to Him, the Holy Spirit will help you dance your way out of your comfort zone and into your mission.
Content adapted with permission from The Outrageous Promise: A Story of God’s Love Behind the Iron Curtain by David M. Robinson and Gábor Grész. Download a free Kindle copy of the book.
Dave Robinson is the Executive Director of Church Movements (Cru) and Teaching Elder for the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. His passion is to collaborate with, train and coach mobilizing leaders to advance the mission of Jesus by making disciples and multiplying churches. He is a pioneering leader, teaching-pastor and communicator. Dave served with Cru in Eastern Europe/Russia and was a church-planting partner with the E-Free Church from 1989-2007. He is the Co-Founder of Youth at the Threshold of Life (YTL), an educational movement that began in Hungary and grew into 62 nations. YTL helps spread the gospel and multiply the church through community engagement. He co-authored “Youth at the Threshold of Life” and “The Outrageous Promise” — a story of God’s love for those who suffered under communism and how leaders collaborate to make a difference.
Gabor Gresz grew up in the communist Hungary, not hearing and knowing anything about Jesus. He became a believer at age 13. He is the co-founder and co-author of the Bible-based educational program called “Youth at the Threshold of Life” (YTL). YTL is used in 62 countries where thousands of educators had been trained and had been exposed to the gospel through YTL symposiums. Gabor currently serves as the Executive Director of Cru Church Movements USA. Gabor received a ThM degree from the Karoli Gaspar University of Budapest and is an ordained presbyterian minister. Gabor also the co-founder and church-planter of Rosegarden Baptist Church of Budapest.