Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Elders and Leaders in the family and the church

Lately, my thoughts have been in the book of Titus. Paul's epistle to Titus is full of guidance for men and women. In just three small chapters, we are given great direction in being the men and women God desires us to be.

Paul had told Titus to appoint elders in every city. He then went on to tell Titus what manner of men these fellows should be.

"The husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon to angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; but a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just holy, and temperate; holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers." (v6-9)

First, let me define a few words.

Lucre means gain, usually in a dishonest sense, of money or goods.
A striker is someone who blackmails another or whose influence can be bought. This is usually referring to political matters, whether in the church or in the world.

First of all, this is not just a direction for elders (or bishops, as some may call them), but for all men in the kingdom of God. Paul wanted to make sure those in leadership positions within the church would not be contradicting the word of God, living lives that were not intune with the God's commandments.

It is a dangerous thing when those who do not live by the Word are esteemed within the church. I have personally seen what happens when this is the case. The church becomes poisoned. God's word becomes muddled with human reasoning and ideas.

My husband and I use to attend a home church where the elder was involved in some very ungodly business. He had a great front, but he was deeply involved in dishonest actions. We could see how his behavior was poisoning his natural family and his spiritually family.

Sadly, the church still has not taken a stand. As Christians, we must follow the bible and not allow sin to overcome our lives. Yes, we will sin. But there's a difference between sinning and repenting and sinning and continuing to roll in our sin like a dog rolls in the stink and filth in the fields. We may convince ourselves that it's okay, but deep down we know what the bible says is right and wrong. When the leaders in the church are permeated with sin, the church begins to fall apart. Subtle lies are introduced. Self-righteousness and self-praise reigns. Elders are suppose to assist in discipling others. How can someone whose life is so rampant with sin disciple someone else in the way of the Lord? It's impossible!

There have been times in my life when I knew I was sinning and continued live in my sin. My actions poisoned my family.... my little children, and, once I came before the Lord in repentence, I had some major issues to fix with my little ones. I am so thankful that they were very, very young and don't remember those years very well!

We often forget that our sin not only has consequences for us, but affects the church as well. While this passage is for men, it is also edifying to my soul. My husband and I are "the elders" in our home. We can either be a blessing to our family, discipling our children in the way of the Lord, or a curse, poisioning our family by disregarding God's Word and living in sin.

Lately, I've had some trouble focusing on the Word. I try to make time to read, but quickly become distracted. Today, God reminded me how important it is to get into His Word and to meet with Him throughout the day in prayer. When we don't, we drift further from our Lord, which makes it easier for us to slip into temptation and sin.

My prayer is that God would use His Word to shine the light on the areas in my life that need to be realigned, weeded, or renewed.

Thanks for allowing me to share my bible study with you! There's so much that speaks to me in those verses, but I'll save it for another day! (ps- I didn't take the time to proof read and spell check, so I apologize for any mistakes!)


Carrie said...

This is a great post Mandy. I've been really struggling with finding time for God's word too. I think I will start reading the book of Titus. (That's always my problem, I never know where to start! ;-)

Thanks for writing about this. My husband and I left a church a few years ago because of this problem and we are currently "between" churches and homechurching. I do want to find another church though, as I don't feel qualified to truly lead our church time (my husband doesn't feel comfortable doing that...so I've been sort of guiding the process with his blessing, but I don't feel adequate doing that.

At any rate, I look forward to reading more about your bible study!!

Kristin-Homemaker@Heart said...

I love when you write things like this...guess what I'm going to read tonight?

Arlene said...

The only way we're going to know if we're living a life that pleases God is by knowing Him and knowing what pleases Him. The only way to do this is through the Word. That's why He gave it to us; to disregard it is to ignore one of the greatest gifts we have.

I'm currently reading through Mark (2 chapters a day) and 1 Corinthians (3 chapters a day). We're doing this as a church. It is amazing what can be learned about life today when reading a book written over 2,000 years ago.

Great post (as usual). God bless.