“The Flesh is Weak”
In my last blog (#5) we talked about a good reputation being a requirement for a leader in the Church. Now we’re going to examine what a good reputation means, and how one can achieve it. Remembering again that the things of the Kingdom are usually just the opposite of how the world works.
Religion represents the appearance of things and the ‘form’. Remember when Jesus called the Sadducees and Pharisees white-washed tombs?… full of every unclean thing. He said they long to appear righteous and they make sure everybody sees them when they pray. Yet Jesus called them out in their folly. In today’s religion, we might know someone who loves to be seen and heard and thought of as super spiritual.
But Paul got real about his own flesh in this passage: “For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God — through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin” (Romans 7:14-25).
Religious people will often seek the squeaky clean looking, never sinned (or never got caught) and wouldn’t admit it if they did – crowd to represent them in a ‘church’. What matters most is if they look good and if they have an unsoiled public reputation.
There are precious few truly discerning Christians out there, and even fewer who are mature enough to restore a God-ordained leader if he does sin, yet this is what the Bible says to do (Gal 6:1).
Some religious circles believe that if a leader is caught in a sin, (s)he can be forgiven and perhaps remain in the Body, but can never return to a leadership position. If that were true, David would never have led the armies of Israel to victory, Peter would have never preached at Pentecost, and Paul wouldn’t need to talk about his ‘thorn’.
But a bondservant of Christ will never quit because he belongs to the One who chose him, called him, and ordained him. Proverbs 24:16 says “A righteous person may fall seven times, but he gets up again. However, in a disaster wicked people fall.”
Should we be concerned about what others think of us? Yes. But if we sin and fall short, we have an advocate with God our Father, who is Jesus and He is interceding for us right now. And guess what? Other truly spiritual people will do the same thing. They will pray for us, speak life to us and help to restore us to right standing with God.
Yet, more often, those who fall into sin are talked about, shunned, shamed, and shelved. Some are even given the left foot of fellowship by religion.
We have already established that a leader in the Church in the Last Days must be a bondservant of Christ, giving up all of him or herself and laying down their lives in service to Jesus. Can a leader and bondservant of Christ sin and still be a leader in the Church? Certainly not willfully and using the grace of God as license to sin. But leadership within God’s Church is not based on qualifications and a sinless track record. As I’ve said before, God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.
What God has ordained, let no man put asunder. I love that line in the traditional marriage vows. And here’s how it applies in the Church: if you were conceived in the mind of God, birthed and brought forth in the Last Days for ministry in the Lord’s Church, and yet you have been buffeted by Satan and consequently failed in your flesh, even repeatedly, if you repent and receive God’s Amazing Grace – you are still who you are. Your identity in Christ cannot be taken from you – and your gifts and callings are without repentance. In other words, when God gave them to you, He was not and is not sorry He did so, and will not ‘take it back’, and neither can any man take it from you.
However, there were some things David could not do because of his sin. The Bible says that God would not let David build the temple because he had innocent blood on his hands. There are consequences to your sin that only God can administer. But God loved David and never took back David’s anointing to lead Israel.
In the Last Days, the true bondservants of Christ will be distinguished by one characteristic: THEY WILL NOT QUIT – THEY WILL NOT GIVE UP. If they fail, they will get back up again and again like David did and seek God’s forgiveness. That’s why David was described as a “man after God’s own heart”. He knew how to repent… and he never, never, never gave up.
They lead because that’s who they are – and they are not under bondage to what others may think of them. They play to an audience of One. They go forward because they can do nothing else! They are compelled by the Spirit of God within them to serve in the Kingdom – they are bondservants.
Let the reputation that we honor be the one of which we can say “They never gave up on God – and God never gave up on them.”
I promise we will get to Christ making Himself of no reputation.
On Being a Bondservant of Christ – Part 1
On Being a Bondservant of Christ – Part 2
On Being a Bondservant of Christ – Part 3
On Being a Bondservant of Christ – Part 4
On Being a Bondservant of Christ – Part 5
On Being a Bondservant of Christ – Part 7
On Being a Bondservant of Christ – Part 8
On Being a Bondservant of Christ – Part 9
On Being a Bondservant of Christ – Part 10