Today I wept. I read something that troubled me. I wept from the bottom of my heart, the way a woman cries when she is betrayed by an unfaithful husband. I thank God that I never experienced this in real life, I’ll be eternally grateful to Michael for his faithfulness to me. I was not weeping for myself, but I felt God’s heart for His people and He cried His pain through me.
I’ve read an article where pastor Judah Smith, a USA mega pastor, was praising one of the modern pop stars – Justin Bieber – who submits to him spiritually – for making fantastic decisions in life. I wonder what he was referring to? Leaving God’s call and going into the world for fame, modelling lust on stage for all to copy, loving the world instead of loving God, living a lifestyle of fornication and uncleanness while claiming to be called by God into becoming a pop star.
I wonder what was in that pastor’s heart when he made these comments. As spiritual leaders, we are responsible for what we teach others. Our words need to be weighed carefully, first before the light of God’s truth and second for the good of people. I wonder what was ruling in his heart at that time: the desire to present uncompromised truth? The desire to speak nicely of someone so as to not lose their friendship even if it softened the truth? The desire to not lose church members who are also into the love of the world that comes in through listening to today’s pop stars? The fear of appearing legalistic or overly religious and loosing friends in the church over it? I wonder …
How important is knowing and presenting the truth to us as believers and even more as leaders? Do we think it even matters that what we say is accurate and right? Do we care if the truth of God’s Word prevails in the church and if the truth is presently accurately to the world? Do we? Do you?
How important is truth in God’s eyes? Is it important to Him that it is represented and taught accurately or He doesn’t really mind if we softened it a bit in the name of love? …. I got a revelation today … Jesus calls Himself: ‘I am the way, the truth and the life’. He says: ‘I am the truth’ – so to distort the truth is to distort the image of Jesus before people. It is to take the Lord and paint Him in a light that is not fitting the reality of who He is.
Does this matter? Can this be dangerous? Of course it is, the type of God you worship determines the kind of life you will live and can ultimately affect your eternal destiny. That’s why deception is so really dangerous, because it is a mix of error and truth, which makes it more palatable. You don’t need much poison to die, a little is enough, if it is the deadly kind.
I went to read the Bible after I have prayed and got stunned by the timely message I’ve received:
“They are not valiant for the truth on the earth’
This verse was not spoken to the world in the general, but to Israel, God’s people. And we are now God’s people. Are we valiant for the truth on the earth? Are we passionate that it is accurately expressed? Just the notion of the word ‘truth’ reflects accuracy, honesty, clarity and purity.
As I’ve read I got drawn to the one word that stood out – ‘valiant’. I decided to look it up in the dictionary to see it’s exact meaning, even though I thought I knew, there is always more to learn.
- boldy courageous; brave; stout-hearted: a valiant soldier
- marked by or showing bravery or valor; heroic: to make a valiant effort
- worthy; excellent
Let’s examine ourselves in the light of this definition. Are we boldly courageous to say the truth just as it is, without modifying it, softening it or hiding some less palatable parts of the truth. Do you fight for it as a valiant soldier? You can fight for the truth in love, it’s possible. Are you brave in sharing it even when it’s not convenient to you or you know it might not be accepted by the hearer? Are you making a valiant effort to share it and represent it or you find it easy to be a coward about it?
What about us as spiritual leaders? Are we willing to be boldly courageous with the truth – in love, but nevertheless the truth – even if it means loosing church members or ‘seekers’. Do we care of the numbers more than the truth? Are we valiant about it the same was as a valiant soldier? Christian leaders are compared to soldiers in the New Testament.
Is keeping people happy, so you have an easy time pastoring trumping the desire for truth? Is keeping those people who you worked very hard to get more important than letting them know the truth even if they get offended and leave and you lose all the work you invested in them? Are you willing to lose so the truth can win. Jesus is the truth. If the truth wins, doesn’t Jesus? Jesus never wanted followers who just wanted the easy words. He let them go when He spoke hard words they could not bear. He even asked the disciples if they didn’t want to leave. He was not about keeping people close to Him who were not willing to go all the way. He did not compromise the truth for numbers and people, for influence and success, for fame or acceptance. He was the truth, the uncompromised truth … What truth are you representing?
In the light of all of the above, what kind of people should we be so as to not hurt God’s heart through our unfaithfulness? Cause if we are unfaithful to the truth we are unfaithful to Jesus, no doubt about that. If we hide some truth, we are ashamed of Jesus before men, if we are compromising some truth for expediency we are distorting Jesus before the world. We’re feeding poison mixed with truth, little amounts, maybe, but they can be deadly.
God shows in the Bible the kind of people of God He wants us to be:
These were MORE FAIR-MINDED than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, AND SEARCHED THE SCRIPTURES DAILY TO FIND OUT WHETHER THESE THINGS WERE SO.
And as ministers of the truth, as Spiritual leaders?
Therefore I testify to you this day that I AM INNOCENT OF THE BLOOD of all men. For I HAVE NOT SHUNNED to declare to you the WHOLE counsel of God. Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God, which HE PURCHASED WITH HIS OWN BLOOD.
How serious are these words? Jesus suffered and died to purchase every person in the church to the point of shedding His blood. He now passed His precious possession, His most longed for pearl of great price to us to hold and preserve, to handle with care and preserve till His coming. How are we to handle His trust in us and His precious blood-bought possession?
I’ve experienced a bit of this kind of love. My mother died when I was 8. Before she went to the hospital last time – to never return home – she called my grandmother at her bedside. She asked her to swear that she will look after me after her death. I was there, and I heard it. It touched my heart more than you can imagine. That great love … that knows that it cannot stay but has to go and leave the most important person in her life in the hands of someone else. She entrusted me to my grandmother.
My grandmother took that solemn promise very seriously and took me with my father in her house and looked after me. She sweated and worked very hard to make my life very good, she never let me help her in the kitchen even though she was old, because she wanted me to have a childhood. I was well looked after, I did not have to worry about anything.
After a few years she became sick to the point of death, very suddenly. On her death-bed, she asked my aunt to swear to look after me, she passed the baton to her to keep the promise she made to my mother and could no longer keep. I was 14 when it happened.
My aunt also took this very seriously. Although she had a big family of 5 kids, she always made sure that if I needed anything she would help. She gave us money, when she had little, she gave us food when we had nothing, she dealt with teenage issues in my life and got me clothes when I did not have very nice ones. She helped me and my father so many times when I had no one to turn to anymore. She got me through the hardest period of my life till I became an adult and got married. I will be forever grateful to them and to my mother’s love.
This story reflects very well the picture of the church. Jesus knew that He could not be with us any longer, so He entrusted His leaders with His message and His people to them. He told Peter that IF HE LOVED HIM, to care for His sheep. He entrusted His closest friends with His greatest and most treasured possession, His people purchased by a horrifying death, by blood. Those leaders in turn passed the baton to other leaders up to today. His church is growing, maturing and is supposed to be cared for, protected, fed the right things and loved till she becomes ready to be the Bride Jesus longs for.
How are we to treat this responsibility? How are we to handle God’s heart that He entrusted to us not to break?
I’ll let you answer this directly to Jesus …