I hope I don’t come across as being judgmental for saying this, but I think some preachers just try too hard to impress.
Some feign erudition and scholarliness through the liberal use of theological jargon; others try to hold their listener’s attention through jokes or by bringing up topics of “current” (worldly) interest.
Still others try to feign the power of God by hyping up their voice during singing or preaching.
And you know what — most people, I think, see through it.
Preacher, do you desire to serve God more effectively? Here’s how. And no, it’s not some special training you need to attend, nor is it about studying some ‘how to’ book. It is about allowing God to break you.
In his book ‘The Breaking of the Outer Man and the Release of the Spirit‘, here’s what Watchman Nee had to say about the subject:
“Many young brothers and sisters know that the gospel is the power of God. But when they preach the gospel, they add in their own cleverness, frivolity, jokes and personal feelings. Others can sense God’s power with them, but at the same time, they also sense the self. The preachers themselves may not feel anything, but the pure ones immediately will sense the presence of mixture. We often are zealous for God’s work outwardly, yet in reality we mix in our own preferences. We often are doing God’s will outwardly, but actually it is only a coincidence that God’s will matches our will. Many so-called wills of God are mixed-up with man’s preferences! Much zeal is mixed up with man’s sentiment! Many stout testimonies for God are mixed up with man’s stubborn disposition!
Our greatest problem is our mixture. Hence, God has to work on us to break our outer man as well as to remove our mixture. God is breaking us step by step so that our outer man will no longer be whole. After our outer man is battered once, ten, twenty times, we will be broken and our hard outer shell before God will be gone.”
“God not only wants to break our outer man, but also to separate it from the inner man. He wants to dismantle our outer man so that our outer man does not become an encumbrance to the inner man.”
And why does God want to break the outer man, you might ask? Because
‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.’ (Zechariah 4:6)
If we are not broken, we would naturally gravitate towards using our human resources (our strengths, our cleverness, our human knowledge) to fulfil what is really a spiritual work, and therefore, come short of true success.
But after we are broken, we become less self-reliant, and more obedient to Him (“Not my will, Lord, but Yours be done”); we allow Him to do through us, not only what He wants done, but also how He wants to do it.