This past week I’ve thought a lot about what it means to lead others spiritually. The pastor, elder, and teacher are held accountable for the lives placed under their care. What a heavy burden! It’s not one I want, but it’s one I feel is coming for me. It’s already begun with my wife. But that isn’t the same since she has vowed to walk by my side in love. Others whom a shepherd might care for aren’t under the same commitment.
It’s terrifying to consider the balance between entering a covenant between God and man while relying on God’s grace to accomplish that covenant, and knowing that every man’s wandering heart is prone to any sin. I just spent a while reading web articles and blogs about men like Mark Driscoll and Steven Furtick. I can’t speak definitively for those men because I don’t know them or their sin personally. But if what is being said about them is true, then I have to wonder how they started off. I have to believe that many years ago, they stood before the Lord with a pure, humble heart. I wonder if they were the big dreamer types who wanted to take the world for the Lord, or if they were the reluctant ones who didn’t want the spot light. Either way, there had to be a moment in their ministries when the enemy kicked off his perfect attack. There had to be that moment when they gave in for the first time to their own sinful proclivity. Did they see the sin and repent and ask the Lord to help them overcome it? Or did they ignore the warnings? How is it that they fell into such patterns? Was there a moment that they realized it was going on, and decided that they didn’t care? Or were they blind the whole time?
I wonder these things because I don’t consider myself any better than them. First of all I’ve never led such massive ministries and I’ve never carried the weight of such popularity. I pray I never do. And second, I don’t believe that my sin is any greater or lesser than theirs. Sin is sin. And if I’m not better than them, then I could fall into the same patterns as them. What if I started off leading in this new church, and 12 years later found that I had slowly been poisoning the lives of others with heresy and legalism? It’s dangerous and ignorant to say things like, “I would never do that.”
Some might say that it’s not healthy to think like this. We should rely on and focus on the grace and sovereignty of God. Well, yes, that is true. But the Scriptures have enough to say on bringing dark things into the light – “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them…” Eph 5:11. It’s good to know your enemy. That means thinking about him. That means thinking about the ways you are, or could be, like him.
So I think that it is a good thing to just recognize that I am not beyond such a future. Of course I am asking the Lord to keep me humble no matter where He takes me. I know that I can rest assured that God will honor those good works He enables me to accomplish. I know that He will cause me to walk in His ways.