Happy Wednesday to you all! The weekend is surely getting closer and so is warmer weather for us here in Indiana.
Remember yesterday I said I had a dilemma because I had so much to say and didn’t know where to start? Well, God knew where to start because I did not know that all of what I had to say was connected. Bear with me as I try to connect the dots.
Yesterday, I mentioned that I listened to a TV program while getting ready for work; a TV program involving Jim Bakker. Now, I was fairly young when the Jim Bakker scandal(s) went down, but I have heard things here or there. Because I am unfamiliar with what happened all those years ago, I am not making a judgment on Mr. Bakker either way. I am, however, cautious regarding his teachings because of this history. I realize that Mr. Bakker served his time and has been given forgiveness (assuming he asked and repented), but scripture tells me to be aware of false teachings and to look for wolves in sheep’s clothing.
2 Peter 2:1-3 (ESV): But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3 And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.
1 John 4:1 (ESV): Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.
Matthew 7:15-20 (ESV): “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.
Please, please brothers and sisters, hear me out. I am not saying Jim Bakker is a bad man. I am not saying he should not be in ministry. I actually applaud the man for being able to continue on in ministry. As hard as Christians are on one another, it takes courage (and of course God) to be able to overcome something like this. My point here is that EVERYTHING WE DO AND SAY AFFECTS OUR MINISTRY. It is my belief that no matter what Jim Bakker does now, he won’t be nearly as effective in ministry as he could have been without his scandal. Now don’t get me wrong, God can, and I believe has, used Jim Bakker’s situation for His glory, but there will always be people who doubt his teachings and actions based on his actions.
I had a personal encounter with this not long ago. I overheard a conversation I was not supposed to hear (I was not eavesdropping) nor did I want to ever hear it. I do not expect those in ministry to be perfect. I realize we are all human and make mistakes. I have given grace to the pastor in the situation, but what was said has affected the way I view his ministry and made reconsider everything I learned under this person’s teaching. I don’t want to go into a lot of details; the point is WHAT WE DO AND SAY DOES AFFECT OUR MINISTRY.
[Clarification: This person was not or never has been my pastor]
I was following a few conversations on Facebook regarding Phil Robertson last December. There was a young woman on there taking a stand for Jesus and she was taking it from all sides. But she stood her ground. I was thankful for her voice. A few days later she posted something indicating she had a live in boyfriend. As soon as I read this I cringed because I knew what was coming:backlash. There were comments like” homosexuality is a sin but sex outside of marriage is not”; “hypocrite”, etc. Like it or not, when we take a stand for Jesus we are opening ourselves up to scrutiny. This woman’s personal life did not hold true to the beliefs she was proclaiming and HOW SHE LIVED AFFECTED HER TESTIMONY.
As some of you already know, I am in a Christian band. I have come to expect the scrutiny that comes with it. Now, don’t get me wrong, I often fall short of expectations, especially in the beginning, but those expectations are there nevertheless, right or wrong. If you know me personally, you know my faults. I am bossy and quick-tempered. Neither are Godly attributes. I am working on those issues along with many others. And that is the point. I am not accepting my faults. I am working to be more like Christ and that is all we should ask of one another.
It took me a long time to understand that the only person I must please is God. At the end of the day I just have to ask myself if I have pleased God because I should not be caring if I pleased man. Now, that may sound like a contradiction to what I said above, but hear me out. If I am pleasing God than my words and actions will be affecting my ministry, but in a positive way.
Once again, I am not saying that in order to be in any type of ministry we have to be perfect because that is not going to happen this side of Heaven. What I am saying is we have to make a conscious effort to act according to scripture. We must be constantly growing and working on anything that is not Christ-like. We must attempt to live up to the beliefs we proclaim or others are not going to believe what we are preaching or teaching. We must at all times remember who we represent and act accordingly.
Take encouragement today that with God all things are possible. We can be the men and women God created us to be if we make it a choice daily to follow Him.
Until next time, stay safe and God bless,