It is hard for those of us who love the church to hear how very much some of our leaders have failed.
This morning as I think of the SBC report, released yesterday, I am saddened.
Once again, the enemy laughs, the lost world scoffs, and captives remain bound in chains while the church deals with scandal.
It seems appropriate that I turned to Proverbs this morning and my eyes fell on a previously underlined passage —“So, to seek one’s own glory is not glory. Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls.” (Prov 25:27-28)
While we shake our heads at what has happened, I think we have to be honest that we have promoted some who so very well fit the verse above.
I’m concerned, in an effort to be relevant to a lost culture, many of us have flocked to those who look good on the stage. Oh, they can tell a good story. They can even make us laugh and cry.
But we have often ignored and excused their lack of self-discipline, and their compromise in their “private lives” with the world; and we have ended up with many ambitious, full-of-themselves, self-seeking men (and some women) as our leaders.
We have promoted smooth-talkers who look like, and act like, the lost world around them.
These who do not rule their own spirits are not keeping themselves from the world—we only need to look at the entertainment they choose and the words that so easily roll off their tongues when they are not on stage.
The truth is, we have hired people to stand in our pulpits and lead our worship who simply have no business being there.
We have pastors who do not manage themselves or their families well. They are ripe for failure, and when they fall, they often take many others down with them.
So to all of you who sit on pastoral search committees, may God strengthen you with discernment to look deeper and ask the hard questions.
Does this man’s life (and he should be a man) reflect that he has set himself apart from the world and works to protect himself and his family from the schemes of the evil one?
What does he choose for entertainment? Does he counsel women alone? Does he surround himself with truth-tellers or fans? Is he in the Word daily? What do his close friends say about the above?
Is he seeking his own glory? Is he serious about ruling over his own spirit?
So often, those who rise up in our churches and gather influence have received pass after pass along the way.
We can shake our heads about the news today, but what are we actually doing to prevent these situations in the future?
Let’s be careful to look deeply into the lives of those we choose to promote and follow. May they be men set apart, who do not seek their own glory, who rule over their own lives with the Word as their guide. Let’s pray for the Lord to raise such men up and let’s ask Him to help us cultivate these same traits in our own lives and in our families.