Bi-vocational pastors face many challenges in life. One of their biggest challenges is time. Time is critical. Approximately sixty hours a week are spent working and getting to and from work. Another sixty hours are taken up sleeping. Church services and functions take up another twelve hours. That leaves only thirty-six hours a week to eat, exercise, spend time with family, train leaders, prepare sermons, teach Bible studies, counsel people and have personal devotion. Personal devotion is one of the areas that gets pushed off until the very last, and usually one does not have sufficient time or energy to have meaningful devotion with God.
That is a problem because devotion is a focused and faithful commitment of one’s time and energy. Without personal time with God, spiritual momentum comes to a grinding halt. One begins to depend on their own power and abilities instead of God’s power. It isn’t long before the entire church and its ministries feel the effects.
Every Christian is striving for the same purpose. We all have the same goal. But for those of us who are leading others, there is a greater responsibility;
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 KJV
24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:
27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
The implication here is if Paul had not disciplined himself, if he had not brought his body and his life under subjection, if he had not run with purpose and passion in every step then he would be disqualified from the race. The subsequent effects of his disqualification would affect whoever he preached to. Momentum would come to a grinding halt.
Every leader, every pastor, no matter how little time one has, must find a way to bring their personal lives under subjection. One must find the time to pray, read, and study the Word every day. One must find the time to journal thoughts and ideas that have been birthed through prayer, fasting, and study. One must passionately dedicate their life to the vision that God has given them. This can only be accomplished by personal devotion to God. It is in those alone moments with God that His Spirit and anointing is renewed in you. It is not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts. (Zech 4:6)
It takes only a few days without devotion to lose that intimate connection you have with God. Nobody intends to lose that connection. Nobody gets up in the morning and decides to spend the day without God. But it does happen, life gets in the way. Things happen that demand your time. Before it is realized, one has gone three or four days or more without devotion. Momentum is lost, ministries falter, and lives are affected.
One of the processes involved in maintaining momentum is evaluation. If you fail to evaluate your areas of success, then the success you are enjoying will be short lived. This is an important concept at all levels of leadership, but it is even more important in our personal lives. Every leader must learn to evaluate their own personal life and devotion to God. This evaluation must take place regularly. Paul admonished the church to do so;
2 Cor 13:5 KJV
5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
The word reprobate comes from a Greek word meaning, “not standing the test.” Paul stated that we must test ourselves to see whether we are in the faith. We need to know that Christ is in us. We need to know that the Holy Ghost is working through us. Paul said we do so by self evaluation. A reprobate is somebody who does not pass their own evaluation.
There is only one way to examine or test one’s self. One must get in the Word and see if their life lines up to His Word. This is called personal devotion. Prayer, study of the Word, and reflection on one’s life. Personal devotion is key to spiritual momentum in your life and in your church. Find the time and make it happen in your life every day.
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