I vividly remember the day I preached my first sermon. By then I was 19 years old. It was a day that my church set aside for the youth to lead the service of worship. After I had preached the sermon, titled, “The True Christian” many people came to me afterwards. They congratulated me and praised God for a wonderful message. Then I thought that that’s how it will be. This incident somehow made me believe that whenever I preach many will be pleased with my message. However, I was very wrong. As I continue to serve Him as a preacher, there are times when I receive a cold shoulder from listeners.
Sometimes you can clearly read on the faces of some responses like: “How dare you preach that message?” Why disturbing us in our comfort zone?” You know such type of responses. At first, I was very much disturbed by this kind of responses. But as I grow in ministry, I have developed a thick skin, so to speak. I hardly care the response of the audience. No, I am lying. The truth is that I always struggle with the desire to be accepted. I want people to accept my message.
However, “The voice of truth tells me a different story,” sung Casting Crowns. The voice of truth tells me that it will never happen as long as I strive to remain true to Scripture. This is one of the great challenges that every preacher faces or will face. There is no middle ground. You either preach God’s Word and displease some people (probably many) or preach what people want to hear and please many (but not all people, of course). This is my struggle too.
Let me confess here. It’s no fun to have people dislike you because of what you believe and teach. You might be convinced and convicted that that is the truth you ought to preach but the thought of being despised or disdained is awful and makes you think twice. But thank God, for His grace that enables us to stand against the storm of the majority (who might not like to hear God’s Word as presented to us in the Bible). We should take comfort in the fact that Christ also experienced the same. Just read the Gospels, and you will see that many Pharisees and Sadducees did not like Christ’s message yet He is God and there is no falsehood in Him.
Apostle Paul was also not an exception. Read what he writes to Galatians’: “As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received let him be accursed. For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ,” (1:9, 10).
From the passage one basic truth stands out: All preachers can be grouped into two: God-pleasers or man-pleasers. As I have already said, there is no middle ground and they shall never be. This is the struggle of a preacher like me. But we thank Christ that His grace is sufficient to carry us through if we resolve to be God-pleasers.
“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen” (Jude 24, 25).
In these words lies my comfort not only as a preacher but also as God’s child.
- Suggestions for a Young Preacher (justificationbygrace.com)
12 thoughts on “My Struggle as a Preacher”
Any preacher that is truly God calls faces this same dilemma. How can we, as sinful, fallen man wholy dedicate ourselves to our Lord and the proclamation of His Word? It is only by His grace, that is for sure. For those who find themselves more concerned about pleasing man than the Lord, you might as well quit whiile you are behind. As long as you desire to please men, you will fail in teaching all the counsel of God and will do more harm than good to the cause of Christ. Remember, the NT is plain… when Christ and the apostles preached the truth not only there those who came to Christ, but there were many who turned from the truth they proclaimed…. they were DEFINATELY not men pleasers.
Lord bless you, my friend.
You have encouraged me and it’s good to know that I am not alone in this struggle. Once again, thanks for your comment.
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Thank you for your openness and sharing! I can’t remember if it was Todd White or Dan Mohler, but one of them said “we should be uncomfortable in the world, but the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, keeps us comforted as we walk in the uncomfortableness of the world” (paraphrase). We thank you Father for the Comforter!
Thanks newheavenonearth for your comment. Indeed thank Christ for sending us the Comforter, Holy Spirit.
Say whatever the Holy Spirit leads you to preach about. Deliver the message with glory and honor from God. Always be honest with your congregation concerning messages delivered. And be a great husband to your wife.
Thanks for the encouragement and advice. God bless.
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Thanks for your encouraging words. Grace and peace to you.