For several weeks last December and January, I was very unfocused spiritually. I couldn’t see what God was doing, couldn’t hear His voice, and instead of seeking Him more intently, I allowed distractions to take over my mind. Looking back, I think those weeks were the culmination of months of a slow fade in my walk with Christ. The most obvious part to me was a lack of passion for the Lord, for the desire to pursue Him, and for ministry — it was no longer fulfilling to me. I blamed my backslide on the church, on the community of people around me, for not being more involved or more attuned to my needs. I saw everyone else’s selfishness except my own. I realize now what was happening – I had taken my eyes off the eternal goal, kicked Jesus off of the throne of my heart. My goal: to please myself. Ministry was no longer fulfilling because it didn’t line up with my goal of pleasing myself. Even now, as I realize these things, I am still struggling to let go of the throne.

Carly Sebentsfeldt is [IN]

Carly Sebentsfeldt is [IN]

But God has been showing me some things recently about the true nature of ministry, about unity in the Body, being a team player, covenant relationship, and unconditional love. He is showing me that ministry is an outflow of my personal relationship with Him, and when my relationship with Him is strained or unhealthy, so will my ministry be. Ministry is selfless investment in other peoples’ lives, by the strength given me by the Spirit. Each member of the Body of Christ must crucify the self in order to put the needs of the community or Kingdom goals ahead of their own. We are meant to be a team, with the purpose of reaching people for Christ.

But we cannot be unified as a team unless this is also our purpose as individuals, which means putting Christ first in each of our hearts. With Christ as our goal and our head, we are all unified in Him. This self-denying, crucifying our own desires for the sake of another – this is love. That is what Christ did for us. That is what He calls us now to do for one another. This kind of love is a choice. It cannot be based on what I feel like doing – it must be a covenant, a promise fulfilled. I still struggle daily to choose love, but as long as I’m still fighting, and seeking the Lord, I haven’t lost the battle.

When I went to the CTR Vision Preview Event in January, I suddenly saw what I couldn’t see before: God working in His Church, renewing our eyes for Him, freshening our vision, and unifying us in His purpose of reaching lost and hurting people. I was overwhelmed. All that time, God was faithfully working behind the scenes, even when I gave up on Him. I know now that God was preparing my heart separately, so that I might better be able to appreciate His work when He revealed it to me!

INvolved, INvested, INtentional

All IN in Christ,

Carly Sebentsfeldt

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