Do we begin again to commend ourselves?… (2 Corinthians 3:1)
Paul’s focus was not on what he could get now, but on what would be his in eternity—
Our prayer could be very similar to what Paul taught and probably prayed for himself—“May I lead by serving. May I not look for human praise—nor even be tempted to toot my own horn—but lead and minister only to hear applause from the nail-scarred hands of Jesus.”
As R.T. Kendall reminds us—
“Every day we breathe in and out—in and out—thousands of times a day. There is a day fixed, that unless Jesus comes first, you and I will only breathe out. No amount of money, power, or prestige can alter the date that we each have with death. And at that moment the only thing that will matter is whether we have known Christ and served Him well—that our lives have made a difference. In short: that we are popular in heaven—and famous in hell.”
This is part 37 in my series on godly leadership. You can check out all of my posts in this series by clicking here.
This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Charles Spurgeon. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Spurgeon” in the search box to read more entries.
A Firm Doctrine
If a tree has to be taken up two or three times a year, you will not need to build a very large loft in which to store the apples. When people are always shifting their doctrinal principles, they are not likely to bring forth much fruit to the glory of God. It is good for young believers to begin with a firm hold upon those great fundamental doctrines that the Lord has taught in His Word.
From The Autobiography Of Charles Spurgeon
This is true of any endeavor—can you imagine constantly shifting the way you learn math, or biology, or cooking, or anything else? There’s always a “learning curve” in every new endeavor that brings a momentary setback before there are new gains.
Thankfully, the Bible has a consistent message from Genesis to Revelation. Getting into the Word regularly and attending a Bible-preaching church will help you immensely.
There is no “right way” to read the Bible. In fact, Spurgeon had a great response to a man who told him that he “read my Bible on my knees.” Spurgeon said—
“I think you read the Bible in a very uncomfortable posture, and if you had read it in your easy chair, you would have been more likely to understand it. Pray, by all means, and the more, the better, but it is a piece of superstition to think there is anything in the posture in which a man puts himself for reading.”
The point is not in what posture you read the Bible, or in what translation, or at what time of day, but the point is that you are regularly reading God’s Word. Get into the Word, and let the Holy Spirit get the Word into you.
But you said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” —what God said about satan (Isaiah 14:13-14)
“For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” —satan (Genesis 3:5)
No wonder, for even satan disguises himself like an angel of light. —what the Apostle Paul said about satan (2 Corinthians 11:14)
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. —what the Apostle Peter said about satan (1 Peter 5:8)
Jesus is all reality. He is the All-Sufficient I AM. He knew the end from before the beginning. He is THE King of kings. The devil is only like a king, or like an angel, or like a lion.
The devil tries to look like God, he tries to lure us to disobey God, he pretends to be what he’s not. So don’t fear his pretend roar. Instead, give yourself completely to God’s care, then you can stand firm against the devil’s attempts to seduce you, and he will be forced to flee from you (James 4:7)!
T.M. Moore has given pastors a phenomenal training resource in Shepherding God’s Flock. Please be sure to check out my full book review by clicking here.
“The work of church leaders today—and especially of that class of leaders called elders, with which this study is concerned—has been shaped and conditioned more by the temper of our times than by the teaching of God’s Word.”
“According to Paul, any church that does not have in place elders—and other leaders working with them—who are functioning as shepherds is a church that is not in order.… A church without a strong ministry of shepherding is a flock without genuine pastoral care, oversight, and equipping. It may be very active, even happy, and may be ‘growing’ in what some consider impressive ways. But without shepherding as the framework and integrating dynamic, such a church will always be something less than what God intends.”
“Where the work of shepherding is being faithfully pursued, the gospel goes forth with power, lost sheep are located, and the flocks of God grow as He adds new souls to the fold.”
“Where faithful shepherds are at work, the Lord’s sheep will be well fed. Both milk and the meat of the Word will be their daily diet, according to the needs and callings of each. Well-fed sheep are healthy, strong, and fruitful in their own contributions.”
“The work of shepherding begins in relationships of mutual love and trust, spiritual friendships where sheep and shepherd know, love, and care about one another.”
“Only when the people feel known and loved, and only when they know and love those who are called to lead them—only then will they be willing to follow where the shepherds of the church are seeking to take them.”
“In the Christian life, people tend to live up to or achieve, not the level of their abilities, for their abilities are virtually limitless, given the presence of the indwelling Spirit of God. Rather, they tend to live up to the level of their vision—of what they see for their lives in Christ. Unless we are leading them into God’s vision for their lives, the people of God will settle for something less than the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
“When temptation arises we can follow one of two courses. Either we will fall through temptation into sin, or we will grow through temptation into a higher stage of sanctification. … The shepherd’s task is twofold: first, he must help the Lord’s sheep to recognize temptation, by grounding them firmly in the law and Word of God; second, he must equip and encourage them in finding the way of escape from temptation, so that they may grow as the Lord intends.”
“Jesus’ approach to bearing witness was thus energetic, proactive, continuous, compassionate, and pioneering. Should we expect anything less from the shepherds He has left to bring other lost sheep into His fold?”