Was That Sermon Successful?

Pastor, ever had one of those times when you delivered what you thought was an amazing sermon, but when it was over people looked completely unmoved?

Or maybe you sat down with someone to tell them something that would be so beneficial to their lives, and they responded by lashing out at you?

What happened? Did you miss something? Wasn’t God in your sermon or in your  counseling time?

The Apostle Paul has some great insight for us—

Now this is our boast: our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, in the holiness and sincerity that are from God…. (2 Corinthians 1:12)

Paul didn’t rely on external observations to gauge his success in following God, but he listened for the internal witness of the Holy Spirit. Paul wasn’t living to please an audience of people, but an audience of One. He was listening for either the approval or the reproof of the Spirit.

Those you and I preach to may say, “That was wonderful! Great word, pastor!” and have no change of heart at all.

Others may scowl at us, but only because the Holy Spirit is using our words to bring about a deep heart change in them.

So we cannot use the facial expressions, or the compliments, or the complaints of others to know if we hit the mark or not. We have to let the Holy Spirit testify to our conscience whether or not we have been obedient.

I’m praying for you (and for myself): Holy Spirit, remind us of this. Help us to be tuned into You, and not into the external cues we think we may be observing. You alone can approve or reprove us.

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