How to be a Pastor (or Christian): Thanksgiving, Humility, Purpose

humble.jpgA note before I begin (actually I already wrote the post). I realize the title of these posts sound kind of “know it all-ish”. Please believe me their not – this is simply my devotional time shared with you my blogging friends. And if you find it interesting or helpful than that’s great! If not, so be it. Either way I’d love your feedback.

I’ve been reading “Man: the Dwelling Place of God” by Tozer (again). It’s such a great book, highly recommended. In chapter one, Tozer talks about the “mysterious operation of the new birth… the divine nature enters the deep-in core of the believers heart and establishes residence there”; basically salvation. This really got me thinking about my own personal experience, my own relationship with God. I really love how he uses vocabulary.

– mysterious operation, deep-in core, establishes residence. We often try and define what it is that the Spirit of God does when he “saves” a person. Books are written, classes taught, thesis’ written, arguments had, lines drawn & denominations created. The truth is, is that salvation is a very personal, probably the most personal and intimate thing that can happen to a human being. God somehow takes sin and death and replaces it with joy and new life. What a reason to live each day with thanksgiving, and in humility,and with a great sense of purpose.

Those are three areas I believe are crucial to the life of a Christian. Especially a leader.

– it’s easy to find things to complain about, to feel underappreciated, underpaid, etc. Our call is to always be thankful, to always look for God’s goodness in every situation, his blessings in places we aren’t expecting. When we have this kind of appreciation, it’s infectious – people wonder how and why we can be so positive and have such a great attitude in the face of trials, and all that this world challenges us with. If you ever catch yourself feeling ungrateful, either have someone smack you (which usually happens to me), or start a list of all the blessings God has given you – start with your own Salvation (you might not get past that one).

– pride: it’s the sin of all sins (if there is such a thing). It’s the sin that befell Satan, the Angel of Light, who desired more recognition, power, authority, whatever, than the one who created him. We all have it, we all struggle with it, and if we think we don’t, we are only ignoring the obvious. I find that I have to be constantly proactive in battling pride in my own life. Here’s some practical things that help me:
– Remembering the great sacrifice that was made on my behalf, the passion of Christ
– Learning more about myself, especially where I am lacking, and admitting my failures and weaknesses*
– Trying to learn from everyone. I try and maintain that I have something to learn from everyone around me*
– Finding other leaders to glean from. This reminds me that I still have tons to learn*
– A consistent private worship/prayer life (this is an area I need to improve on)
– Be active in corporate worship. For me this is important because it not only energizes me to follow Christ, but it also show others that as a leader I value the act of corporate worship: of expressing thanks and awe to God, listening to his Word be taught, serving, and fellowshipping with others.
*to me these all fall under the category of being “teachable”

The funny thing about pride is that it’s hard to call out. It’s easy for us to see it in others, hard for us to see it in ourselves, even harder to hear from someone that they see it in us. Check this verse out:

Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do
Proverbs 4:23

Purpose – where there is no vision, the people perish. The Christian life must be marked by undying purpose, and at the core that purpose is to love God and love others (the great commandment & commission). How that is played out in our lives is a little different depending on our culture, role, energy, gifting, etc. But we’ve got to be people of vision and mission. To be thankful and humble, and not have a purpose is a waste of a life – in my opinion. It’s like the person who finds God and then disappears into the mountains to know him more and to live a life of solitude. We grow in relationship with others, in the context of the church – the body of Christ. This is where we learn, grown, excersize, get disciplined, serve, engage, reach out… The challenge is to find a vision or purpose that is biblical, that speaks to your heart, that energizes you, and then run hard to that goal with everything you’ve got! Check this out:

Look straight ahead and fix your eyes on what lies before you. Mark out a straight path for your feet; then stick to the path and stay safe. Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil.
Proverbs 4:25-27