Friday, September 07, 2012

Raising the Spiritual Bar

As pastors we should not be afraid to set the spiritual bar for our people as high as it is set in Bible.  Of course, the bar the Scripture sets is Jesus Christ, Himself.  He is the One against whom we are ultimately measured. He is the One whom we are being conformed into, and it is Him that we will be like on that day (Ephesians 4:11-15, Romans 8:29, Colossians 1:28, I John 3:2).  If this is true, rather, because this is true, then we should be concerned with the personal holiness of our people, not their personal happiness.

We need to exhort our people to be great Christians.  We need to lay out an expectation for them to be the best Christian they can be.  We need to entreat them to love the Lord with all their heart, so they will be filled with an ongoing desire to please Him.  We must to encourage them to pursue Christ.  We need to keep the Gospel fresh, so that the joy of their salvation will not grow stale.  We need to extol the greatness of God, so that their reverence for Him will not wane.  We must not hide the cost of discipleship, but encourage our people to press on.  We must prepare them to be diligent and to persevere, and cheer them on to not grow wearing in doing good.  We must be faithful in giving them the Word, so by it they may grow with respect to their salvation.

This is tough and demanding, because if we raise the bar for our people then we must also raise the bar for ourselves.  We must then raise the bar for our own personal holiness and its pursuit; raise the bar for our own Christ-likeness;  raise the bar for our preaching and teaching; raise the bar for our spiritual leadership; raise the bar for our own diligence and perseverance; raise the bar for our worship; raise the bar for how we do church.  But is that not the task we have been assigned, is it not the stewardship we have been given?  Is it not why the warning is given in James 3:1? Daunting as that may seem, His grace is sufficient, and it is the Lord that makes us adequate as His servants.

Brother pastors, let us press on in the fulfillment of our calling.  Let us press on to be the best shepherd we can be.  Let us press on to be great shepherds of the sheep, as any less of an effort is a disservice to them, a dishonor to our calling, and a disappointment to our Master.  And on that day may we all hear, "Well done my good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Master."

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