Three Dangers Of Being A Marg Man of God

man of God, woman of God, pride, lack of compassion, rude brood of vipers, Jesus the example, grow with the church, danger, individualism, Building up your self?, Self-dependence, selfish, sacrifice needed, Church as one family

The Spirit-led man of God.
The untiring woman of God.

John the Baptist exposing the Pharisees. Lydia serving the first church. Paul planting churches at a rate that would boggle any start-up expert.

Men and women of God (not always pastors), even today, love God’s Word and obey Him fervently. In my experience, they have helped me and many others discern half-truths and outright errors taught in the name of Christianity. I am thankful for them, deeply so!

man of God, woman of God, pride, lack of compassion, rude brood of vipers, Jesus the example, grow with the church, danger, individualism, Building up your self?, Self-dependence, selfish, sacrifice needed, Church as one family
We can command attention, but who are we pleasing?

Who wouldn’t love to be a true man of God? God uses people with zeal for Him to establish the local church (Matt 16:17-18, Matt 28:18-20). Marg churches desperately need men and women of God: people who boldly teach the truth in love, who proclaim and defend the gospel of Jesus.

Last week we saw the problem with being the life of a Marg party.

But when does becoming a man of God become a problem before God?

1. Men of God could become obsessed by the Bible, not by its purpose. In a sad irony, men and women are found just poring over the Bible, commentaries and taking study notes but hardly involved in the mission of Jesus. The often quoted “I am a child of God” has become tainted with selfish examples of individualistic living across churches that I have seen. And I have, too, many a time, joined these “sofa-soldiers”. We do no good by only building ourselves up, and neglecting to make disciples. Jesus’ example was vastly different.

2. Men of God can have little compassion. They do an excellent job of pointing out sin. But a mistaken imagination of John the Baptist and Elijah convince some to speak in anger- because they have something more special going on with God than everybody else in town. They decide to take leave from “love is patient and kind”.  Is it wrong to point out sin? Never. But can you and I be as gracious as God the Father in our daily behaviour toward others? Any time.

3. Preach and blog, but neglect the family of God? The often quoted “I am a child of God” has become tainted with examples of selfish, individualistic living across churches today. Fueled by the questionable Sunday-model of “church”, many think they are done serving God’s people because they attended 3+2 hours of church service every week.

The child of God usually becomes an immature man of God when he neglects to spend his love on and time with the family of God.

Instead of others’ burdens bothering me (Gal 6:1-2), I get caught up with spending that time with God, or in my own selfish pursuits. Have I chosen movies over silent cries of need WITHIN my church community?

Have I chosen reading biographies over cooking at a community gathering? Or is that just the ladies’ duty?

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” – John 13:34,35.

I have seen people lose respect for Biblical advice I have given, mostly because they didn’t see me build real relationships with them.

No man of God can grow if he identifies himself solely as a child of God. No one’s designed to comprehend the depths of God outside the community of the local church (Eph 3:17-19).

What have your failings been as a man or woman of God?

Be honest.

“I am an excelling leader” and Other Fictional Works

You discuss church-planting strategies early in the morning.

You are called to speak at pastors’ conferences.

You disciple & nurture multiple church members late into the night.

You try to bring around reluctant, eccentric and thankless church members to the congregation.

You juggle managing church service & your wife & children.

Excel Leader_1
 
Excel Leader_2

That makes two of us. Jesus Christ said your addition and my addition to God’s kingdom-building is a sum total of ZERO.

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So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.'”- Luke 17:10

When you tell yourself you are an excellent church leader, you are indulging in fiction.

Note that Jesus says you are unworthy even after you do EVERYTHING that God has commanded you (Have you done? Will you ever do?). It is stunning that Christ sees us as His precious bride but remember – you and I are as useful as empty vessels. God our Father is like a wealthy house-wife, who will use her vessels as she pleases. Dirty vessels won’t be used for serving others. (see 2 Tim 2:20,21). The leaders at the three new Marg churches in Pune face larger responsibilities and so will other leaders emerging in the coming years.

What can make your church leadership useless to God’s mighty work?

Here are some pointers Marg leaders could benefit from:

Beware of the subtle, wicked attitude of breeding competition between churches in the name of missions and holiness.

Beware of creeping distrust between church leaders and lack of unity in prayer.

A lack in the desire for others’ works to be more blessed than your own.

The sin of laziness and the sin of organized lack of dependence on God the Holy Spirit.

Piling up complaints in your mind against Jesus’ church, His chosen bride.

May this post be helpful to you in pointing your church to the Lord Jesus as the excellent leader more and less to yourself. Feel free to contribute by sharing things that can help church leaders better. May you happily serve Christ as a junior shepherd .

When We Meet People Better Than Us

How do you feel,
– When you have to congratulate the “Employee-of-the-year”?
– When one of your church members is either 6’2” and has strapping muscles, or has that 36-24-36 figure and draws way more attention than you would like to admit?
– When you meet that spiritual acrobat, church-planting champion, bold evangelist, good-looking, married to “very good-looking”, with 4 children, a nice car & a beautiful home?

We all want to be “better people”. In fact, we want to be the best. As we run about our busy lives, our busy hearts churn up thoughts that we will never be as well-built, intelligent or spiritual as somebody else is.

Superman-cometh
It’s a plane.. it’s a rocket. It’s….Better-man!

Photo Credit – Gary, via Flickr  CC

Our hidden beliefs.
For those of us who are followers of Jesus, our thoughts could be too shameful to admit. We know we are to love our neighbours but many times we just wish these “better people” would be worse than us. But is that what Jesus would think of his neighbours?

When it comes to wanting to be known as the best, we would rather have no competition within our family, workplace & church community. But what does this reveal about what our hearts are devoted to?

Does all this mean that we are unable to accept God’s plan for Rahul or Priya to be better at evangelism than we are? Is that personal frustration – or is it rebellion against God’s loving purposes?

Scripture says.
They scoff and speak only evil; in their pride they seek to crush others” (Ps 73:8). Have you felt like you would rather see the better people, beaten, crushed and humbled on their own turf? It is common for Christians to be tempted by such self-glorifying thoughts. But Scripture shows that we want others to go down sinking, because we become proud.

For the world offers only the lust for physical pleasure, the lust for everything we see, and pride in our possessions. These are not from the Father. They are from this evil world” (1 John 2:16, NLT). It’s probably envy and jealousy that we have stored deep in our hearts because we do not desire what Christ desires, instead we want “pride in our possessions”. Are these not signs of a heart that looks to its possessions to find approval from self and others?

If only we look to God our Father, who has given us His approval when we believed in His Son Jesus who died for our sins and ask for faith that knows that we don’t have to be someone else to please God on His mission. And His mission is to help others worship Jesus alone.

Remember, nothing can help you be content and in the best posture for God’s purpose here on earth than the truth that God our Father could have given you the wealth of 5 millionaires when He chose to save you, but He thinks you will serve Him best with the money you exactly have right now. How freeing is the thought that this holds true for your family problems, your EMIs, your chest size, your sin struggles and your spiritual maturity.

What makes you better than anyone else? What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if all you have is from God, why boast as though you have accomplished something on your own?” (1 Cor 4:7, NLT)

If we find ourselves disliking others due to their achievements, have we forgotten that Jesus is actually so kind and so in control of our lives? Do we believe that if more money or a more responsible spouse is what we needed, He still would not have granted us that?

Have we forgotten to believe He is gracious? Forgotten that He is sovereign? Then do we not need to repent of that evil?

To paraphrase Tim Keller, let us ask God’s Holy Spirit to come help us not to think more of ourselves or less of ourselves, but to think more of Jesus and His acceptance of us as God’s children. “He causes them to change their minds; he keeps them from pride.” (Job 33:17, NLT)

How do you deal with better people? Are there better ways you know to overcome “that inferior feeling” ?