The Gospel According to Paul: You Can’t Do It By Yourself. Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Wednesday, June 27, 2018
“For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers” (Titus 1:5–9).
Simple Requirements for Christian Leadership-Right?
I am tempted to share a one-liner as our thought for the day, but do not wish to risk trivializing today’s counsel. Frankly, if I simply said, all spiritual leaders in the faith must be real Christians, that would just about cover it. Ironically, I sat on a panel one time, where even some church leaders said that if we held to the standard in Paul’s counsel, we would not have enough leaders to serve.
What? Since when has God needed numbers to accomplish His will on the earth? One Man, Jesus Christ the Righteous made our salvation possible. David killed the Giant, Goliath, which the entire army of Israel was fearful to attempt. God spread the gospel into all the world beginning with 12 disciples; one of whom had a devil – make that 11. Go figure. Need I say more? Paul gave almost identical counsel to Timothy, and it bears repeating.
Notice what Paul did not say as the Spirit guided him through the job description for spiritual leaders. Paul never said that anyone considered for service should generate their own holiness. He never said they needed to be innately holy. He never said they were to trust themselves into perfection. Truth: if any of us, whether man or woman, aspires to the standards written here, we will fall miserably short of the mark, generate our own rules of righteousness, and then oppress others who do not meet our contrivances. That is to say, we would become modern day Pharisees, and that’s not good.
Our thought today is intended to elevate our feeble expectations of our Great God and Father in heaven. It is meant to laud the power and victory of Jesus Christ, the King. It is intended to engender thanks for the blessed Holy Spirit, who seals power within those who are continually submitted to His control. In our own strength, this list might as well have said we needed to make ourselves 70-feet tall and leap buildings in a single bound. In our own strength, it would be impossible to live according to God’s standards of righteousness, let alone becoming humble and submitted enough to lead God’s people.
He Keeps on Giving
What then? What was the point of this exercise? Consider all that God requires of you. Now consider the blessing of the power of God, unto salvation given to all who believe. Do you believe in God, to the salvation of your soul? If you do, Christ will live His life within you, and fulfill all the righteousness of the law in your life until He returns. Take courage in His willingness to give you grace, mercy, and power.
I’m not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, are you?