An awful high standard!
An awful high standard!
I am sure each of us, within the framework of our lives, has set certain standards for ourselves and others whom we associate with. The expectation to operate or produce at a particular level of excellence, efficiency, and morals, is something I believe we quite often place on ourselves, and other individuals be it our children, co-workers, government leaders, or spiritual leaders. Is this a fair and acceptable thing for you and me to be doing and carrying out, especially in a society like ours that has lowered many of the norms and standards to meet the level of output being displayed, in the various areas above, by a great number of Americans.
God has set high standards for us as those called to be His own people. We see this as we read in 1 Peter 1:14-16: As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” What a high standard this is for sinful humans like us, right!
For those who are called to be spiritual leaders and under-shepherds for Christ there is definitely high expectations established. And I believe this is rightfully so, because as it has been said, “As the leadership goes so go the people.” In 1 Timothy 3:1-13, we read quite an extensive list of what God expects from those He has called into the positions of overseer (Pastor) and Deacon.
The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil. Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves, and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.
In a day and age, when we find many of our spiritual leaders succumbing to the temptations of the devil and leading lives which are not above reproach, but are deeply steeped in sinful activities, there needs to be an intentional declaration of God’s standards. And yes these are high expectations, yet God realizes the necessity for such demands. As a clergyman myself, I need to take God’s demands to heart and with the help of His Holy Spirit, live a life in accordance with what He has called me to do. And when I fail, seek His mercy, forgiveness, and guidance to get back on track. Jesus is the ultimate example, and it is He whom we should desire to emulate. Will you and I fall short of God’s standards? Yes! But it should not cause us to stop listening to and relying on the Lord for His loving help and forgiveness in Christ! For it is by Him and in Him that live and move and have our being! Pastor McCarty