Verse: Matthew 3:16-17
16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

This is a pretty awesome set of verses. For one, we see the Trinity in full force. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all in one verse, all in unity, all operating in love. We also see Jesus (fully God but also fully human) receiving the power of the Spirit to do ministry just as we do as believers. And we also see in this beautiful passage how God the Father speaks of his love and pleasure in his Son before Jesus begins his earthly ministry.

There’s so much we could pull from this, but I will focus one idea: our ministry flows from empowerment and identity.

We all are called to minister. God has given each of us gifts (1 Corinthians 12) to minister to each other for the common good. Both in the church and in the world, God has given us abilities to spread his love and his Word, to draw people to him, to serve others, and to shine his light in a dark world. This ministry does not come from our own effort though. While our effort is certainly involved, it is a response to God’s grace in our life.

Our ministry, like Jesus’, flows from the empowerment of the Spirit, and our sure identity as children of God. We do not minister in our own strength, we minister by the power of the Spirit. We serve others as the Spirit enables us, directs us, empowers us, and emboldens us. It is by his power that we are able to do what God has called us to do.

On top of that we don’t minister from a place of trying to earn God’s favor. We minister from a place of security in God’s love. Our identity is that we are children of God. We are loved and accepted already before we begin to do stuff for God. This understanding frees us from the performance mentality and allows us to serve God and others from a pure place of gratitude and grace, knowing we are fully loved and accepted already.

Just as Jesus began his ministry from a place of empowerment and sure identity, so should we. Resist the urge to serve God in your power, or in an effort to earn his favor. Take a moment today to thank God for his Spirit and his love, and ask yourself if you are standing in your own strength, or standing in his power!

Author: Christian Dunn