Tuesday, October 21st, 2014
Leadership (Part 32)
He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil.
1 Timothy 3:6 (NIV)
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world
1 John 4:1 (NASB)
Every group needs experienced leadership. Without it, we we're cruising for a bruising: 'If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit' (Matthew 15:14). Such was the state of ancient Israel when Jesus came to the rescue.*
Today, when men feel called to Christian leadership, most go into training. They attend schools. They study, test, pass and graduate. They may take low-level positions at bigger churches or high level positions at smaller churches.
Most often, excellent speakers and good lookers advance quickly. But these criteria are faulty. Congregations cannot stand on the fault lines of bad leadership. Sooner or later, life's quakes will tear them apart.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: 'Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart' (1 Samuel 16:7). In wartime, wise generals promote the proven: soldiers whose worth becomes clear under fire.
Without a doubt, we are at war. We serve the Wisest General, and He set the policy of promotion: 'For You, O God, have tested us; You have refined us as silver is refined' (Psalm 66:10). 'God tested Abraham' (Genesis 22:1). He tested Isaac, Jacob and Joseph.**
He tested David: 'You have tested my heart' (Psalm 17:3); He tested Job: 'When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold' (Job 23:10). He tested Jesus: 'Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness' (Mark 1:12). He will test you.
'That the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ' (1 Peter 1:7).
It may not feel good to embrace a fire, but do it anyway. 'For our God is a consuming Fire' (Hebrews 12:29). What is He consuming? Your rubbish. What is He leaving? His shine.
To Be Continued...
* Although the Israel was controlled by Rome, the Jews were allowed to govern themselves in smaller matters of culture and religion... unless it interfered with the peace and taxes Rome demanded. But not only were their kings corrupt, so, too, were their spiritual leaders. See Matthew 23: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=matthew%2023&version=NKJV
** 'The Word of the Lord tested him' (Psalm 105:19).
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Leadership series.