ESCAPE – RESCUE MISSION or NORMAL CHRISTIAN LIFE?

Spiritual Blog - Temptation

1 Corinthians 10:13-14 – “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. 14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.”  NASU

 

I completely grasp the reality that it is impossible to include all the passages that would make up the ‘whole context’ of this thought so I insert this as a springboard for us to delve into the matter and hopefully propel you to further examination on your own.  I know many of your are students of the Word of God and diligently search the Scriptures to see if what you have heard or read is true and I commend you because that is how it should be. If it is true and biblical it will stand up under examination and if it doesn’t our views and interpretations MUST be adapted to fit what will stand up in the LIGHT!

 

I am concerned that too many in the Body of Christ are looking for a RESCUE MISSION rather than a comfort for living the NORMAL CHRISTIAN LIFE, waging SPIRITUAL WARFARE, and becoming able to PULL DOWN STRONGHOLDS.  I am reminded of the old gospel song, “Hold the Fort…”  Now before you become upset with me think about the image that the song presents.  For me, and not necessarily anyone else, my mind pictures a Christian barely holding on and waiting in hiding behind the walls for the SPIRITUAL CAVALRY to arrive just in the nick of time and rescue us.   Oh there is no question that we have God’s promise that HE IS COMING and He will but in the mean time I understand His commission to be OCCUPY until I come!  I understand it to include the promise that the weapons of our warfare are mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. 

 

But let’s consider this passage briefly.  What is the TEMPTATION Paul mentions?  I doubt that anyone could definitively say but with verse 14 one could consider idolatry as a possibility.  However when I look at the Greek the word is ‘peirasmos’ and seems to indicate putting to proof by experiment, experience, solicitation, discipline or provocation and is most assuredly adversity.  Then we see the word TEMPTED – ‘periazo’ which implies testing objectively and even discipline.  To be tempted ABOVE or BEYOND that which we can stand is objectively drawing attention to something more than our ability.  We find the word ESCAPE ‘ekbasis’ which is without question an exit.  When we see the words ENDURE or TO BEAR ‘hupophero’ we see that this is a situation where we are UNDER it, ENDURING it and it is being IMPOSED on us.  All of this TEMPTATION, TRIAL, or TEST is something that is all too human and not something uncommon so even though it is horrific for us and trying it is not so unique that no one else has endured it.

 

My question is that no matter if it is our being ‘tempted’ to succumb to a ‘temptation’ or if it is a trial that seeks to shipwreck our faith and draw us away into some form of ‘idolatry’ do we need a RESCUE MISSION or an INFUSION OF FAITH and COURAGE?  If it is truly beyond our ability to stand God will absolutely provide us an exit strategy but sometimes we seem to look for the exit too quickly when we should be RESISTING the devil and watching him flee.

 

In no way do I mean this to be condemning or to suggest that I am somehow more spiritual than anyone else for I face the same things you do and am subject to the same ‘temptations’, ‘tests’, and ‘trials’.  I have failed more than I care to admit but I have always found God faithful.  I have stopped looking for a RESCUE MISSION and started asking for more COURAGE, FAITH, and DETERMINATION.  I want God to be able to say to me as He did to Joshua and know that I will take it to heart and allow the Spirit of God to embolden me – “Be strong and very courageous.”  We have a WAR to win, a BATTLE to fight, and a VICTORY to enjoy!

 

            God bless you as you go through your day!

LEADERS ARE TO DEVELOP LEADERS….

Exodus 18:13-14 – “And so it was, on the next day, that Moses sat to judge the people; and the people stood before Moses from morning until evening. 14 So when Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he did for the people, he said, “What is this thing that you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit, and all the people stand before you from morning until evening?”  NKJV

 Spiritual Blog - Developing Leaders

 

            When Jethro came to Moses in the wilderness and observed him ‘doing it all’ he chastised him in wise loving counsel and told his son-in-law, “The thing you do is not good.  Both you and these people will surely wear yourselves out.”  [v.17] Jethro further advised him to develop leadership groups training them, something that is often glaringly missing from most local churches in today’s world.  I served as lead pastor through an era when it was largely ‘Let the Pastor do it, it is his job.’ A philosophy that does not come from the Bible but for misguided thinking, selfishness, or a delusion provided by the devil that has hindered the church local greatly and spread far too many pastors too thin and allowed them to wear out before their time.

             In Ephesians Paul advised that the purpose of the ministry (apostles, prophets, evangelist, pastors, and teachers) is for the express purpose of EQUIPPING the saints for the ‘work of ministry, edifying the body of Christ’ UNTIL we all come to the unity of the faith.  Are we there?  I hope you did not say yes!  Our Lord Jesus as he selected the Twelve we find that He appears to have invested more into Three than the other Nine and if our Lord mentored Twelve what makes us think we can effectively pastor and mentor thousands alone?  Jesus demonstrated a method for us to not just observe be if the local church adopted His method we would find the ‘pastor’ shepherding ‘under-shepherds’ or captains of ‘tens’, ‘hundreds’, and ‘thousands’ and those men/women shepherding a their groups depending on their abilities and training spiritually.

            Who has failed in this process?  Is it that people are disinterested and unwilling to become involved making the required commitment to lead?  Is it that the ministers have failed to mentor others to lead?  Is it a fear of losing position, power, influence, or prestige?  Probably a little of all the above but as a minister and former pastor I know that I failed in that aspect at times and as I have learned and look back on the years I now attempt to help young men and women desiring to be in ‘the ministry’ avoid those failures.  When I speak to churches and especially church leadership I usually ‘hammer home’, when possible, the fact truth of what the “Pastor’s Job Biblically Really Is”.   I have seen some churches buy into that after they took it to heart, prayer, and study and it has transformed their approach and ministry to their communities. 

            Some leaders do not know how to mentor or delegate and are perfectly content to ‘burn out for Jesus’ as they declare it trying to be a ‘One man/woman show.’  I do not believe that will hear an ‘Atta Boy’ from Jesus on the day we stand before Him and the words of Jethro to Moses will probably be playing in the background as He addresses us. 

             Church if we want the church local to be the church Jesus described we need to change our way of thinking about purposes and begin to be a Book of Acts Church following biblical principles and as we do I believe we will impact our world in a much more dynamic and powerful manner. 

            God bless you as you go through your day!