Thoughts on 20 years in the Ministry…

Thoughts on 20 years in the Ministry…
I am now in my 21st year of pastoral ministry and as I think back on the first two decades, my life has been one of reformation, both in the positive and the negative.
In the positive, I look back at the kindness of God to hem me in and move me from a seeker-driven youth minister to a Confessionally reformed pastor. That, through a series of books, mentors, podcasts, and just preaching through books of the Bible, I praise God for where he has reformed by thinking and living in conformity with his written word.
In the negative, I also evaluate my life through a long series of “forks in the road” requiring repentance and faith which God designed to put in front of me. Difficulties with people, the world, and the devil, the ministry has been anything but “conflict-free.” I look back and realize that every time, the dominant enemy, the primary foe, was my flesh, the hard choice between obedience in the long term and appeasing my desire for comfort, conflict-free living, and immediate success. Every conflict was exacerbated by my own fear within (II Corinthians 7:5, Proverbs 9:10, Proverbs 29:25), and the choice was often not that difficult intellectually, but it was painful spiritually. God has so loved me that he has forced me to contend with myself. Will I fear Him and obey Him, or will I give my dues to the altar of man’s approval?
The last 20 years have been a series of events and relationships through which God has forced me to recon with my worldly fears.
It has been a reformation of fears, a reformation of the heart.