Friday, September 07, 2012

Raising the Spiritual Bar

Pastors should not be afraid to set the spiritual bar for their 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 all are ultimately measured. He is the One whom we all are being conformed into, and it is Him that we all 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 pastors should be concerned with the personal holiness of their people, not their personal happiness.

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

This is tough and demanding, because if pastors raise the bar for their people then they must also raise the bar for themselves.  They must then raise the bar for their own personal holiness and its pursuit; raise the bar for their personal Christ-likeness; raise the bar for their preaching and teaching; raise the bar for their spiritual leadership; raise the bar for their own diligence and perseverance; raise the bar for their worship; raise the bar for their prayer life; raise the bar for they do church.  But is that not the task pastor's have been assigned, is it not the stewardship they 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 all adequate as His servants.

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

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