“Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints; That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.” – Philemon 1:5-6
In this, our opening passage, we see what makes ministry effective. That being, to love God first with all your heart. Jesus said, “if you love me, you will keep my commandments.” A true love for God that supersedes a love for self will cause you to do that which is pleasing to the Lord by nature. The love nature over powers the sin nature in the same way that all people have a sexual nature that is fleshly and sinful, yet the love for their spouse over powers that sin nature that when they truly love their spouse more then self, they will not fulfill the lust of the flesh into adultery out of love. In this we see why we are so often referred to in scripture as the bride of Christ. To fulfill the lust of the flesh once becoming the bride of Christ is cheating on God (spiritual adultery) and it breaks his heart for he is a jealous God. Yet if we truly love him, then honoring, serving, and obeying him will be a desire, a joy, and a natural thing just as it is for a bride to her groom. Others seeing this and desiring a love like this will then likewise be inspired to be good and faithful brides also. They will see that you have something different and many will seek out how to obtain it themselves.
“For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 11:2
The next thing our opening passage identifies is a love for others. All effective ministry is rooted in love. Love for God first and love for others second. Even correction or rebuke must always be rooted in love or it will be of no effect at best and of ill effect at worse. Pride, arrogance, pomp, wrath, preeminence, flattery, fluffery, and the like will minister only death to the hearer, but love covers a multitude of sin. Love will not flatter, it will encourage. Love will not condemn it will correct. Love will not gossip, love prays. Love does not limit, love believes. Love sacrifices, love labors, love endures, love hopes, love fights, and love never gives up. When you truly love others you will minister with the heart of Christ, be it in tender mercies or loving reproof, all will be done in humble loving selfless brokenness. This alone will bring men to Christ for it is love itself that is the witness that turns the hearts of the children back toward the Father and the Father to the children.
“Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.” – 1 John 4:17
Lastly, don’t be afraid to let the light of love shine through you for all to see. Show forth charity in the sight of others because not only is love contagious, but it glorifies God who is love. The absence of heat is cold, the absence of light is dark, the absence of God leaves a void for Satan to fill and since God is love, we can conclude that the absence of love is evil. So herein lies the answer to the age old question of why there is so much evil in the world. It is there only because we have given it place through an absence of love manifested, love for God and love for others. So if you really want to see the darkness flee, then ask the Holy Spirit of God to light His flame of love in your heart and bring the light of it to the darkest places. Let love manifest through you in word, deed, and action in the sight of men that faith in the love of God might arise in them. In this alone will you effectively be able to set the hearts of men ablaze and go light the world with the gospel, the good news, the witness of Jesus Christ proven by a testimony of love that nothing can stop.
“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” – Matthew 5:14-16
“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:” – Hebrews 10:24
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” – Revelation 12:11