Isn’t it amazing how people view the pastor? Some folks seem to think that we dwell up on some kind of spiritual mountain top high, high, high above any temptation or situation in which they struggle. There have been times I think people have pictured me tightly tucking my angelic wings under my suit coat! I have actually been asked the following questions:
- “Have you ever gotten mad about anything?”
- “Pastor, I so struggle with my thought life, and I know you don’t know what I am talking about. You probably never have a bad thought!”
- “I don’t mean to offend you, Pastor, but my life is not like yours. I can’t sit around all day reading the Bible. I wish I could, but I have to work.”
- “Pastor, I really do want to have victory over this thing I am talking to you about. You probably never have struggled with any sin, have you? I wish I could live like you do.”
If the folks who come to your office today could only know the struggles you and I daily face! It may not be necessary to tell them exactly what we and the Lord are working on in our lives. In fact, it may be unwise for us to share details of our struggles. However, we do want to be transparent and open with people. We want them to know that the Lord is working on us, too, and we are learning from Him. Share how we are seeking to apply His Word.
We need to be careful that we do not inadvertently communicate somehow that we are better than we really are, and that we are living on some elevated spiritual mountain top far above them. Your folks do not realize this, but it is almost like they could make the following statements as they come to you and me.
1. I come with a wicked heart, just like you have (Jeremiah 17:9).
2. I can entertain evil thoughts, just like you do (Mark 7:21).
3. I can produce works that are ungodly, just like you can (Galatians 5:19-21).
4. I can be fearful and unbelieving, just like at times you are (Matthew 8:26).
5. I can be resentful and angry, just like you (Luke 15:28).
6. I can be foolish in my choices, just like you can (Matthew 7:26).
7. I can be tempted to do that which will ruin my life, just like you can (James 1:14).
8. I am loved by the Lord who gave Himself for me, just like you are (Galatians 2:20).
9. I have a great potential to change, just like you have (2 Corinthians 5:17).
10. I am in need of the Lord and His power in my life, just like you are (Philippians 3:10).
You and the folks you will see today really do have a lot in common. Because we are fully capable of sin and failure, we must be on guard all day long! Never should we allow a fleeting thought that somehow we wouldn’t sin and fail. Paul says it this way, “For I say, through the grace that is given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith” (Romans 12:3). As we see people today, it is a good reminder that we both are still under construction (Ephesians 2:10) and that we aren’t finished yet (Philippians 1:6). I pray it will be a great day for you in your ministry.