I will take a post or two to line my life up… I am seeking the Holy Spirit in this to help me, to open my eyes to the truth of who I was, who I am and who He wants me to be. There is pain in this but they is also healing in this. I am going through the Scriptures with no study notes, no commentaries, no sermons, no books, nobody’s thought. I am seeking the Holy Spirit to open my eyes and my spirit to the truth in each word. With that said I understand the scriptures are alive through the power of the Holy Spirit and there are SO many levels to them. They can have so many meanings as they relate to the reader. I’ve read these a hundred times, I’ve preached them, taught them etc…. but today this is for ME, I’m blogging my journey.
So an Elder/Pastor must be a man whose life…..
Verse one he talks about the role of elder as an honorable position and to be in a position like this you have to have a “right” spirit….as I look back over my time as a pastor I believe that I entered into the role with a very humble spirit, with the right motives. As I grew into this my flesh become a very big part of it. Being a pastor is NOT easy by any means, there are so many expectations, you live in a glass bowl, your job is 24/7, people do not mind speaking their minds to you, letting you know all your faults, you are involved in very sensitive area’s of peoples lives and that is another whole story. As I look back I hated when someone didn’t like me, or called me out on things and so I think that I gravitated towards those who would show me honor and stayed away from those who did not. And there were plenty who did not……near the end of my time as a pastor, many showed me honor in our city just because of who they “thought” I was, just because I was a pastor. I thrived on being known, being looked upon as a “good” man, a man who served his community and loved people. But there were plenty of people who I have offended or did wrong over the years and those I stayed clear of and made excuses.
So Paul writes after talking about “an honorable position” SO……and elder must be a man whose life is………” that word SO is huge!!! Right there was my downfall…. I did not line up!!! I will discuss each point somewhat. These will be brutally honest and open.
1. Above Reproach – there are many meanings to this word “reproach” and I would like to share this one…”a cause of occasion of disgrace or discredit” Was my life a disgrace or discredit for Jesus Christ? Did I do things in my life to disgrace him? Being a pastor is a calling from God himself to represent Jesus in this world through the power of the Holy Spirit. IT’s not to be toyed with, mis-used, I was to be the mouth of God for his people at this time. We all know when someone blows it, it remains with them, you don’t trust the words they use, you can’t sit under them in leadership roles, I was not above reproach in my life by any means. I do believe my hearts desire was to be……. but there were things that happened over the years with people that was JUST WRONG!! And I would sweep it all under the carpet and stay clear of that person. Most of the time it would be with my words or something with my finances.
I am very ashamed as the Lord brings things back to my memory – with that said I am very thankful that I have a clean slate and today I am living my life totally open and clean. I have learned that a life above “reproach” is not a life given to you because of the position but it’s your private life being exposed on a daily basis, at any time under any circumstances. It is being transparent, it is living in a glass bowl………. this is the life God calls men and women to when he calls them to pastor/elders… there are no secrets.
2. Faithful to his wife – when I think of this the first thing that comes to my head is Bill Clinton! “Define the word “LIE” he said among many other things. The word “Faithful” has such a deep meaning, much more than just faithful sexually in a marriage. In fact the world has even defined what it means to be faithful sexually in a marriage, as Mr. Clinton helped us with that too! It is not unfaithful if you don’t have intercourse with another woman, but only touch or have oral sex. What a crock!!! Anyways the point is being faithful to his wife does not mean just sexually!!
A man that is faithful to his wife is faithful in all things…… ALL THINGS!! It means “true to one’s word, promises, vows etc” well let’s take a look at the promises and vows in a marriage relationship.
“I, Greg Nethaway, take you Diane Atkinson, to be my wife, to have and behold from this day on, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; until death do us part.”
…to have an behold – the word “behold” means to look at, to see – the vow is to look at her as mine, my heart belongs to her and her alone! I am vowing to no longer look at others with any thoughts of how they could make me happy, how they look, dress, act PERIOD!! I have vowed to “BEHOLD” her for the rest of my life — till DEATH
“for better or for worse” wow these are such big words – it means NO MATTER WHAT!! If my needs are met or not, in the good times and the bad times…. not dependent on what she says or does, I have VOWED to behold her in the best of times and the worst of times. That means when she is cranky, PMS’ing, mad at me, has no self-esteem, doesn’t like the same things I like, is grumpy …. no matter what!!
“For richer or poorer” – no need to even speak too much on this. Our vows do not loose meaning if financial times are hard or GOOD – sometimes marriages break up over money even when money is plentiful!! But what about richer or poorer in our health? Our love? Our fun times? I believe it goes way deeper than money.
“in sickness and in health” Marriage fall apart in both of these areas. The vow is to remain faithful in both. Sickness in the body and the MIND –
“To love and to cherish” – I am convinced that the only way for “true and real” love is through the Love of Christ. So many people have so many dysfunctions and shortcomings, that once you get to know them you may not like them let alone love them. Pure love is GOD – I am to love my wife as Christ loved the church — he gave his LIFE for the church!! Love is a funny word and we use it for everything, it takes work. CHERISH – oh man this one is huge. “to hold or treat as dear, feel love for, to car for tenderly, nurture, to cling fondly” You cherish what you LOVE !!!
“till death do us part” NUFF SAID – till the end, no back doors –
These are the vows, not just about cheating sexually on your wife. I must say now with a broken heart that I was NOT faithful to my wife for 26 years of our marriage!! Today, it’s a new story – my life is number one dedicated to the Lord and secondly to my wife. I cannot wait to “re-marry” her and renew my vows to her knowing this time I will be faithful to my wife till death do us part, however long that may be.
Well, this is enough for me today! LOL – as you can see this will take some time to go through but worth going through point by point. There are 15 things listed here and I have only touched on 2. My prayer is one day I will be restored back into full time ministry, but if NOT I am ok with it…… my heart and my love for the Lord is real, it’s pure and it’s growing. I look forward to whatever He has for me. I am content.