The Mystery From Which True Godliness Springs Is Great
1 Tim 3:16
"Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great: He appeared in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory."
Devotion precedes theology. Without devotion, there is great danger that the minister may lose the essence of the thing studied. The faith experience is a Person-with-person Christian-experience. The minister's own personal faith should be a continuous, vital, dynamic, and living experience.
Paul was a person of strong intellect, deep emotional drive, and indomitable will. Still he cried, "Great is the mystery of godliness". He had experiences that were "not lawful for a man to utter". In other words, the great apostle felt the need of God's spiritual power.
The pastor's professional business is religion. This should be favorable to spirituality, but the minister is always in danger of becoming "professional" in his religious life and of losing his sense of the mystery of personal devotion. When a man loses his sense of awe, he loses also his sense of need. Consequently, God cannot use him because he is not ready to be "filled with the Spirit of God". The effectiveness of the ministry depends upon the function of the Spirit, the gift of power. Their gifts of fluency, their facile imagination, or their popularity have deceived many ministers into presuming they don't need any power from outside themselves. The pastor who is dedicated to Jesus Christ will function as a dedicated man. His concerns will not be for himself but for Christ and other people. He will not have anxiety in his work because his work has its ultimate concern the glory of God and not self-glory. All that he does is directed by this ultimate concern. Psychology reminds us that all the forces of personality must be motivated by a central loyalty before they can realize harmonious relations. For the Christian, the object of loyalty is Jesus Christ.