Her leaders judge for a bribe,
her priests teach for a price,
and her prophets tell fortunes for money.
Yet they look for the Lord’s support and say,
“Is not the Lord among us?
No disaster will come upon us.”
The church is not safe from sin. In fact, just as the church has the most potential to do good for the Kingdom of God it is often the most susceptible to attack from the enemy in the form of worldly temptations. Viewing church as a haven from sinful activity or protection from sin is misunderstands the church altogether. The church is a place where believers can gather to pray, worship and learn in unison with the shared belief that drawing closer to God through Jesus Christ is our only hope in this world. However, as believers gather at church to pray, sin is still there. As believers gather at church to worship, sin is still there. As believers gather at church to learn, sin is still there.
Never be deceived that simply attending church protects you from sin. Never be deceived that becoming a leader, elder, deacon or pastor of a church removes you from sinful motivations, intentions and activity. If the church is often a target of the enemy to thwart the spread of the Gospel, it stands to reason that her leaders, especially the pastors and priests, are at the focal point of those attacks.
Pray for your leaders. Pray for your pastors. They are fighting a fight that many will never know or understand. It will be as a result of your offensive and defensive prayers on their behalf that they will ever bear fruit in their respective ministries. They need your help, your fellowship, prayers, and guidance. The temptation of a pastor is to seek the approval of a congregation before the approval of God. The temptation of a pastor is to seek the success and growth of a ministry rather than the quality of disciples being developed.
Church leaders need to be the first to serve, to listen, to learn and to repent. Becoming a leader is not the sign that you’ve arrived. It is an opportunity to lead on behalf of God Himself, at the tip of the spear, pursuing the presence of the living God by the power of the Holy Spirit and by the direction of God’s Holy Scriptures. A leader/disciple professes to the congregation that God is the ultimate judge and we are all convicted equally by our sin. A leader/disciple teachers with the guidance of the Holy Spirit as Counselor and holds the line of truth found only in God’s words. A leader/disciple acknowledges the omniscient and sovereign authority of God alone to know where we are headed in the future and what we will do. A leader/disciple also reveals to the congregation that suffering is not only imminent but is the sign that Jesus Christ is truly living in us.
The temptation to stray from God’s presence is as much a threat to the pastor and leader as it is to the average churchgoer. Do not be deceived. God is with us but so is sin and the only defense we have against the attacks of the enemy is to cling to the Holy words of God and to always demand truth from those privileged enough to be His ministers of truth in this world.