I’m no expert in holiness, not by a long shot. Sometimes in my pursuit of holiness, and in trying my very best to live right, I find it’s best to be accountable to someone. Holiness feels so deeply personal to my relationship with God. Sometimes I feel like it won’t matter whether or not I choose to sin because my actions are my actions alone. They don’t have anything to do with anyone else.
This, of course, is a lie.
My actions affect everyone else whom I come in contact with, especially those I’m closest to. The song above talks about how a man wants to be like Jesus because his son wants to be like him.
You’re being watched. Youth leaders, Corps Officers, and anyone else in leadership: your actions and character count more! Paul talks about this in his first letter to Timothy (verses 1-7, MSG):
If anyone wants to provide leadership in the church, good! But there are preconditions: A leader must be well-thought-of, committed to his wife, cool and collected, accessible, and hospitable. He must know what he’s talking about, not be overfond of wine, not pushy but gentle, not thin-skinned, not money-hungry. He must handle his own affairs well, attentive to his own children and having their respect. For if someone is unable to handle his own affairs, how can he take care of God’s church? He must not be a new believer, lest the position go to his head and the Devil trip him up. Outsiders must think well of him, or else the Devil will figure out a way to lure him into his trap.
Those who you lead are looking to you. More than that, they are watching your every move. The actions you take are making lasting impressions on the lives of those you lead. So the question is, what kind of impression are you leaving?
Are you leaving the youth and families you minister to with a bad taste in their mouths for Christian leadership? Is there anything deceitful, or hypocritical in your life? Take a long, hard look. Reflect. Ask yourself if you’re being who you need to be in order to minister effectively. Are you being like Jesus? And more importantly, do you even want to be like Jesus–do you truly desire to emulate His character and teachings?
Your sins, the things you do in private and think are only hurting you, affect everyone around you. It may take you a while to realize this. Not getting caught may make you bold, but it says in God’s word that, “everything in men’s hearts[a] shall be brought to light and made plain to all” (Luke 8: 17, TLB). What’s in your heart?
Holiness is a personal choice, yes, but it has corporate implications. So be on your guard. By the looks of “great” Pastors brought low by scandal, the Devil is targeting church leaders and their ministry–this means YOU!!! Because if He can discredit your character, He can discredit your work–God’s work–which has kingdom consequences.
“Holy solitaries’ is a phrase no more consistent with the Gospel than holy adulterers. The Gospel of Christ knows no religion but social; no holiness, but social holiness.”
― John Wesley
So how ’bout it? Let’s look to Jesus for our example of how to live right, and let’s work diligently at leaving good lasting impressions in the lives of those we lead. Not for our own sakes, but for His glory and honor.