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The Pastoral Pitfall

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Working to further the kingdom of God is the chief aim of leaders in churches and parachurch ministries. When this is lost then there is a danger to either working out of vanity or sloth.

Today the work of vanity seems to be the most prevalent form of antichrist sprit within the leaders of the aforementioned groups. Discussions such as number of ministries, number of weekly attendees, number of baptisms per year, and more often cloud the actual work of God and instead build up one’s pride about the work he has done. Success is completed on God’s end for he is the grower, and the leaders are just the planters and waterers (1 Cor. 3:7-8). While these are good things to look to for church effectiveness, they are able to be turned into idolatry and covetousness.

The need for continual communion with God is necessary to combat this spirit of antichrist, for without understanding the true Christ and his work in the church and in the lives of men, leaders are prone to Satan’s attacks to then be pumped up to being their own sort of Christ to the people they serve or corral. Continued humility is the means to combat such a demonic spirit, for the transformation of the leaders is wholly dependent upon God, which will then show in the rest of his work that he leads. When God is the transformer in one’s own life, then the same can be given up in other areas of work, family, ministry, et al.

Humility for the Christian leader leads to the realization of who he is and who God is. The gap between the two should never be thought to close since the creature can never surpass the Creator and sin is always present this side of eternity. Looking at self and Christ shows this great chasm, of which salvation was bridged but the gap between the Infinite and the finite is not. There is no way to understand fully the work of Jehovah as his ways are vastly beyond what man is able to comprehend. Thus, a return to humility is constantly needed.

Residing in the Word, true worship, and prayer are three methods to drawing close to God to allow him to transform one’s spirit via the Holy Spirit. Without a continued humbling in front of God, leaders are apt at asserting themselves and building work-based success upon personal pride. Returning to Christ is always the answer to life challenges small and large.

Through the methods described the key to faithfulness comes from consistency, which is a skill of the mind as well as of the body. When time is not made for the Father, time is made for self. Spiritual transformation comes through submission to Christ Jesus; this will keep a leader from the spirit of antichrist, and from vanity and pride. The work of course is never done, especially when success is experienced. Thankfully the Spirit is always there for us to minister and we can always call unto the Lord for grace and guidance.

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

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