Five Ways to Gauge Whether You Love God More than Ministry


If you talk to guys that have gone through burn out, frustration, or just bad seasons in ministry, most of them will conclude, “I just forgot how much God loves me and how much I love Him. Period.” Our personal joy in Christ and, more importantly, His delight in us is something to be treasured and never forgotten. It amazes me how blurry the lines can get between my own pursuit of Christ, and my pursuit of the things I do for Christ. It is a gift when we realize that ministry is great but God is greater- a gift that should give us a breath of fresh air. Here are five ways I believe you can test that in a given season.

1.) Do you love loving Christ? It is one thing for us to rattle off, “I Love Christ”, but do you love loving Him? Do you get excited thinking tomorrow’s personal and private time with God more than anything else that will happen in your day?

As a young guy in ministry, God often brings the question to my mind, “what excites you more: preaching with power or privacy with the King?” To put it another way, what do we love most about ministry, and what is keeping us in ministry? Is the emotion of our hearts moving towards loving people so that they love us, or loving Christ so that we can love people the way God wants us to?

We see numerous texts in the New Testament reminding about living in community; however, it is my experience that private moments with the Lord are the best place to discover what my sinful heart really feels in a given season.

2.) Do you read books that stir your affections for Christ or just those that are practical for ministry? One of the easiest ways I can gauge my heart is by what book I chose to pick up that day. No, it is not evil for us to read a book on leadership, but for me I know where my heart is, if in a given season, I am not regularly letting an author take me to the mountains of meditation about the goodness of God.

Can you testify to the early morning reading of David’s heart pouring out in the Psalms, or even the testimony of Jonathan Edward’s walks in the woods where he mediated on his glorious Savior and wept? Or perhaps picking up Desiring God for the tenth time to read about glorifying God by enjoying Him forever? These are the moments where you let yourself be fed, just you and Christ.

3.) Do you remember God’s love for you based on Christ or based on your creativity and productivity? My first season in ministry was with the heart of “I want a front row seat watching God at work.” However, sometimes that changes to, “I want to take the reigns and make this happen for you God.” This all goes back to remembering whose love is more important. It sometimes even gets uncomfortable when we think about God’s love for us as great sinners. God wants His ministers to sit in awe of His love and grace for us, more often than we consider our daily ministry and service to Him.

Practically speaking these are the moments when we meditate through scripture on how much God loves us. In my experience this is an uncomfortable moment that I need to seek as often as possible, because my heart wants to dwell on what I can do for Him. This is a moment of taking the attention off of me and when I concentrate on His love and acceptance. This is one of the most humbling times with the Lord, and needs to be done often.

4.) Does everything you read or write down have to end up on twitter or a future sermon? Some of the best ways we can tell that our hearts are tuned rightly is when our most precious and private time with Christ remains private. That is the beauty of intimacy.

As I write this blog my wife just asked me the intentions of why I am writing. Is that too far? Nope, I am a sinner lest I forget, and I need people like my wife to help me keep a close watch on my heart and mind. I remember a season in ministry when I was spending such a short time in the Word and in prayer because for the first few minutes I wanted to go to my phone or laptop to record something helpful for ministry. I find that sometimes our desire to utilize everything we learn can rob us of simply learning from and sharing with God.

5.) Do you prize God Himself more than serving God? If God took ministry away from you, do you think that your relationship with Him would suffer? We are to be joyful in the fact that God is allowing us to be helpful to the Kingdom; it is a great privilege and experience. However, the bottom line is what are you adoring more: your gifts or the Giver?

We have to believe this is what made David’s heart so profound. It must have been those many mornings and evenings alone as a shepherd in a field gazing at the sky in deep prayer and meditation marveling over his God. David was a man after God’s own heart because David’s heart was amazed by something more than people’s opinion; he was amazed by God and by the moments of being in His presence. We too must seek God above all before we concern ourselves with our work in ministry.

At the end of the day, we never will have a time when we do not struggle with this balance. These questions help to reveal our need for Christ and to drive us to Him.


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