Lesson 10 -- third quarter 2004
August 8, 2004
© Copyright 2004, Christian Light Publications
For my guidance
"I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye" (Psalm 32:8). By my choice, God has led me for some three decades. To do this He has used and continues to use His Word and His undershepherds. I thank Him for providing me this kind of instruction, teaching, and guidance. I know where I am going, and I know how to get there!
But how difficult it has been at times to accept the fact that God wants to lead me...by using other men to do so! I want to look into the Lord's eye myself; I don't always want to submit to "mere men" for direction from the Lord. I need to be wary lest I take the doctrine of the priesthood of believers and "stretch" it to include an insubordinate, independent spirit. I do not wish to fall into the error of some in the past who have declared: "Hath the LORD indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us?" (Numbers 12:2).
I want to remember God has given ordained brethren as gifts to the church. He chose these men so He might use them "For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ" (Ephesians 4:12). God has put me under the influence and leadership of my congregation's ministry so He might guide me with His eye! In Hebrews 13:7, God very plainly establishes my duty to emulate the proven faith of my leaders: "Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation."
However, not all leaders are faithful leaders who are safe to follow. And not all faithful leaders always lead in the right direction in every area. Even the Apostle Paul qualified his statement, "Be ye followers of me" with this one: "even as I also am of Christ" (1 Corinthians 11:1). Weighing heavily upon the leaders of God's flock is the responsibility of faithfulness and truth. That may be why God moved James to write: "My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation" (James 3:1).
Every leader will someday give an account to God for himself...and for those whom he led. Leaders contribute to the final outcome of the lives of those "under" them. That is why God is so wrathful toward the unworthy undershepherds who lead in a fleshly, selfish, sinful manner.
Watch those attitudes!
Godly leaders, despite their human shortcomings, are not to be despised. We who are free of their double responsibility often find it difficult to understand the burdens that are theirs. We may think they are too narrow-minded, inflexible, and old-fashioned. (Please understand, I am not putting any premium on these things.) We may find that certain personality traits in some of our church leaders grate on our sensibilities. What to do?!
Pray for them. Follow their faith. Encourage them. Be patient as God works with them (and you). And remember God brought your life under theirs for good reason.
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