When You Feel You’ve “Swung and Missed” in Preaching the Word

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I cannot trust my feelings when it comes to preaching.

I realize this is a subjective feeling—but this is something I experience with much regularity.  I do not know whether this is due to my own hidden insecurities, my desire to “knock it out of the park,” seeing someone “walk the aisle”—or by the fact that I did swing and miss.

It is then that I need to remind myself of a number of checkpoints:

  1. God’s Word will never return empty (Isaiah 55:11-12).  When God has an intention for His Word, this Word will bring about His intention through the working of His Spirit.  I know that the burden is ultimately on the Spirit, not ultimately on me. 
  2. God has ordained the preaching and teaching of His Word to bring about salvation in the hearts of men (Romans 10:13-17).
  3. God has simply called us to faithfully invest our minas (that is, the gospel) with our speech, service, time, gifts, talents, and every resource God has given to us.  He causes the growth and brings the return (1 Corinthians 3:7-8). 
  4. I cannot always gauge how the Word is landing by looks on the faces of those in the congregation.  While someone may have their eyes closed, they well may be asleep, but they may also be shutting out the distractions or praying that God would work through the Word.  They may well be under conviction.  Again, we have to trust the Lord to do His work in the hearts of those who may seem to be disengaged.  Trust the Word to do its work—it is empowered by the Spirit of God Himself.

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