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Self-Control for the Sake of Ministry

What does it mean to say “no” to ourselves on behalf of those we serve and influence?

As Christ followers, we can feel secure, and we can say “no” to our impulses that find root in barren soil. I wonder how we would all behave if we truly believe that God loves the whole world and wants to save it. For those of us who exist on the margins, whether because of our gender, ethnicity, or sexuality, we have to work out where we place our source of affirmation. We don’t have the benefit of social privilege. For those of us gifted with power and privilege, we have to take care not to become conceited or unrestrained, especially when that privilege actually means dying to self.

I hope that as leaders, we can reflect on what it means to say “no” to ourselves on behalf of those we serve and influence, and—to take it a step further—to see this as gift. Perhaps it means being aware of the stressors that deplete our capacity to love others, and ourselves, well. Or perhaps it means you have been blessed with enough security in Christ that you can extend grace to those who don’t. Or perhaps it means avoiding vanity by living sacrificially and creating space for dialogue and engagement (i.e., get out of the armchair and into the fray). I do believe that out of that self-control is greater freedom and capacity to love.

We live in fretful times and even the most faithful of us can feel threatened by what the future may hold. And yet, we continue because we feel life is worthwhile somehow. Maybe it’s finding fellow weary travelers. Maybe it’s the lure of greener pastures. Hopefully, it’s the vision of finding a place within God’s kingdom and sharing it. No, not proselyting, but saying, “Here, take and eat. I’ve already had my fill.”

Diana Gee is the Associate Pastor of Faith Community Christian Church in Vancouver, Canada. She is a second-generation Chinese Canadian, born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. She is trained as a structural engineer (B.Sc. in Civil Engineering, University of Alberta) and has worked in consulting for six years. She completed her master’s degree at Regent College (M.Div.) in 2011. This article was originally published by Asian American Women on Leadership (AAWOL), and is reprinted with permission.

April17, 2017 at 8:00 AM

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