John 13:15 - KJV "15 For I have given you an example, that ye should
do as I have done to you."
Hebrews 12:2 - KJV "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of
our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising
the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."
1 Peter 2:21 - KJV "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ
also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps"
Keep focused on THE man, and not A man. One of the major complaints
non-believers is that Christians are hypocrites. Those who don't even know
the great stories of the Bible, can tell you in great detail the stories of
Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, and the preacher down the street who ran off
with his secretary. It is one of the most common objections of an
unbeliever, that he would be a Christian, but those who claim to be a
Christian don't act like Christians. I am sure there were many in the first
days of the church who said, "I would be a Christian, but look at what Peter
did. This man who claimed to be a follower of Jesus denied him. Not once,
but THREE times!!" It is a valid point. The fact is however, a Christian
is nothing more than a sinner who is saved by grace. Even though we are
saved, we are still frail, prone-to-sin creatures living in a sin-filled
environment. That in no way excuses our sin, but it is the reality we live
The quickest way to fall away from your faith, is to put too much emphasis
on a man or woman of God. God uses human instruments to plant the seeds of
salvation. He uses human instruments to disciple us in our new found faith.
He uses human instruments to impact our spiritual lives. In a society that
is prone to idolize others, such as entertainers, athletes, and successful
people, we take that into our Christian lives as well. We place on
pedestals our spiritual leaders. We normally only see them when they are
"on", when they are doing what God has called them to do. Because of that,
we almost tend to forget they are humans. Men and women who walk in the
same frail clay bodies as we do. Prone to the same weaknesses that we are.
Since we rarely see these spiritual leaders other than the times they are
doing the Lord's work, we lose sight that it is only a part of their life.
They have lives outside of their work for the Lord. THEY ARE ONLY AS CLOSE
TO GOD AS THEIR DAILY WALK WITH THE LORD. Because they are in spotlight,
when the fail, when they sin, it is often made known to the public. Our first reaction is
"how can that be possible?"
Nobody is immune to sin. No matter who you are, your life flows from your
personal relationship with Christ. A minister, a priest, a spiritual leader
is only as close to God as his or her daily walk. Like anyone, if they
neglect their daily time with the Lord, they get farther away from God. It
is only possible to minister to others from your own personal walk with
Christ. As you neglect that daily time with the Lord, you start to be
disconnected. You may have some spiritual gasoline left in your tank, but
eventually you will use that up. Those spiritual leaders who fail, fail
because they have neglected their time with God. Someone who is in the
Lord's work, has to guard more than anyone else against neglecting their
daily time with Christ. There is a very real enemy who is out to kill,
steal, and destroy. The enemy is very wise in the art of warfare. Why
waste time working on taking out people one by one, when if you can take out
a leader, you can wipe out many people at once. The enemy knows that to
take down a Jim Bakker, or the pastor of a local church, he can take out many people at one time.
The key point I want you to understand today is that you must keep focused
on THE man, and not A man. Christ was the only one who did it perfect. My
personal philosophy is to take the spiritual wisdom from other men and women
of God, but never idolize them, never expect them to be more than the man or
woman of flesh and blood they are, but realize that God has touched them in
a special way and given them something that can benefit my spiritual life.
I have always called it my spiritual filter. Being in full-time ministry
for the last 9 years, having been in over 500 churches of every type of
denomination, having spoken at hundred of conventions, being involved for
many years in the Christian TV world, I have had a unique opportunity to see
an incredible number of God's choicest servants of our day. The list is a
who's who of spiritual giants. However, no matter who the person was, I
always do two things. I always line up what they said with the Word of God.
That is test number one. I don't care who it is. If it is not in line with
the Word of God, it is not something I want. Second, I always look at the man or
woman of God as an instrument God was using. I never expected them to be
supernatural, or anything other than a vessel God was using to bring
spiritual truths into my life. The only person I ever idolized, or tried to
pattern my life after was the life of Christ. I have always taken what I
can form men and women of God, and tried to use that to help me in my quest
to be more like Christ each and every day.
I love you, and care about you so much. Today's word is an important
reminder to never get so focused on a man or woman of flesh and blood, that
you let it get in the way of your own personal walk with Christ. God has
placed men and women of God in our lives to help teach us, show us the
truths of His Word. However, no matter how close to the Lord they may be,
the only one we should ever try to pattern our lives after is Jesus Christ,
because He is the only one who lived this life without sin. He is our
example and the one each one of us should strive to be like. Take time
today to pray for those God has placed in spiritual leadership over you,
your pastor or priest. Pray for those that God brings into your life to
share the truths of His Word and to help you grow spiritually. But never
lose sight that they are mere mortals. Men and women of flesh and blood
like you. Never let your eyes focus so much on a man, that you lose sight
of THE man. After all, no man could die for your sins. No man could did
die for your sins. It was THE man who loved you so much, that He willingly bled
and died so that you might have everlasting life. Keep your eyes focused on HIM.
In His love and service,
Your friend and brother in Christ,