"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" - I Peter 5:8 (NIV).
There is a saying "one black sheep spoils the whole flock"! Of course sheep are normally light; a darker one will upset the whole formation. This saying cannot apply anywhere so true than when one considers how many tend to view Pastors these days. There are undoubtedly rogue Pastors- just as Judas a long time ago penetrated Jesus's inner circle, only to betray him (Luke 22). So, it remains the same today.
However, quite troubling, once these days a Pastor is found to have fallen short of his calling, then a paint brush is used to wipe away the entire vocation. "Look at them all thieves!" The cynics shriek and wave all Pastors away.
Of course we cannot minimise the absurd abuse of the Gospel by those rogue characters who manipulate scriptures for personal gain. Jesus warned his disciples that, "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves" (Mathew 7:15). And who has not seen their antics lately, which seem to have no limit.
Yet, while these impostors are there and an ever present danger, we shouldn't ignore the fact that where there is one bad apple there are thousands other good ones. For every rogue Pastor a million more are serving the Lord faithfully and without blemish.
There are countless Pastors out there on the frontline pastoring churches on pitful allowance. Others more are persecuted into hiding especially in those nations where it is a taboo to share the Gospel. Much as those hit characters should not be ignored and indeed shamed, still we cannot afford to imagine that they speak for and represent all!
Another thing also. Because those in the Pastoral ministry are at the center of war against the enemy, Satan, there are not immune to spiritual attacks. Rather, for that very reason, there are constantly under attack from the evil one. Pastors are not made out of iron but flesh just as any of us. They too can fall. Knowing this if we could all purpose to do one thing: how about regularly upholding our Pastors in prayer than joining the bandwagon of finger pointing. Wouldn't we have done well?
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, today I bring to you all Pastors out there faithfully serving you that you protect them from the enemy and give them strength of spirit and the necessary resources they need to carry on the mission you have called them to, this I pray in Jesus's name.
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“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful” – ( 2 Timothy 4:7).
Fighting may be looked at as a non-desirable way of life, especially by those who are pacifists. In fact, throughout Christian history there are many who have literally taken Jesus’s admonition of “turn the other cheek” in Mathew 5:39, to mean nonresistance in the face of attack. The fact that Jesus rebuked the Apostle Peter for drawing a sword against his captors ( Mathew 26:52), means giving in to those who attack them, as a sign of humility.
Yes, of course there are moments where Christians must practice that humility and give in to those who attack them well remembering His word, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay, says the Lord” ( Romans 12:19). However, that said, Believers in Christ would be mistaken to imagine that they must not fight for their faith, whenever under attack. For in reality, the faith of believers is under constant attack from Satan, who comes to “kill and destroy” ( John 10:1).
Faced with this, Paul went at great length to advise Christians to “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” ( Ephesians 6:11). To ward of constant attacks by the enemy Paul challenged us to “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” ( vv 14-17).
Paul is telling us that if you think that ours is a walk over faith where you are not going to fight back against the attacks of the enemy you are very mistaken. Fight we must, and hold our ground. The devil respects that! And when all is done, we can then gladly say, “we have fought the good fight, finished the race” and thank God Almighty we are free at last!
Prayer today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, today I rise ready to resist the attacks of the enemy, by wearing the full of armor of God, and with the sword of the Spirit, fight back to victory, this I pray in Jesus’ name!