In John 17:16 Jesus said that those who follow Him are not of the world even as he is not of the world. Although as His followers we are in the world, we are not of this world in terms of the values and standards which stand in contrast or opposition to the kingdom of God.
As followers of Jesus living in the world, we focus on living out and displaying the qualities of the One we are following, Jesus Christ.
On too many occasions we are concerned, disappointed or discouraged when we see leaders in the church who are speaking and acting in ways that do not accurately reflect the Church as the Body of Christ: Christ-centered, loving God and others. Instead we see:
- Destructive anger
- Sexual, spiritual, psychological and sometimes even physical abuse
- Abuse of power to manipulate and control followers
- Bearing false witness or lying
- Ego taking center stage
- Unrestrained pursuit of desires
This is the way of leaders who are in the Church but not of the Church. This should not surprise us because Jesus did reveal that many will come saying they did work in His name, and He will deny that He knows them (Matt. 7:21-23). It is truly sad when leaders in the Church demonstrate by their actions that they are not truly of the Church.
On the other hand, leaders who are both in and of the Church demonstrate the following characteristics:
- They love unconditionally. They love others regardless of race, color, gender, or beliefs because everyone has value and is loved by God. Those of the Church should put no stumbling block before anyone who is seeking or following Jesus.
- They love their enemies. By no means is this easy, especially when your enemy has hurt you deeply. But in Matt. 5:44, Jesus calls those who are of the Church to do it. Loving enemies is probably one of the toughest things a leader has to do, because sometimes the hurt inflicted by others may be very deep.
- They forgive and seek forgiveness. This is a hallmark of the leader who is of the Church. They do not withhold forgiveness because they know only too well that forgiveness is the basis on which they now have access to Jesus who is the head of the Church to which they belong. Because of their desire to not put a stumbling block before others they seek forgiveness whenever they wrong someone and they forgive those who wrong them.
- They are not ego driven. Leaders who are of the Church know that it is never about them. They work hard, love abundantly and generously give all for the advancement of the Church—the Body of Christ.
Are you a leader in the Church but not of the Church? If you were to ask those closest to you how they viewed you, in light of your example, what do you think their response would be?
Maybe you are currently in the midst of a very difficult situation where you are tempted to act in ways that would reflect as one being in the church but not of the Church.
Make every effort to ensure that you are not only in the Church but you are also of the Church.
If you would like help in achieving your goals in any area of your life, call us at 208-880-0307 or email us at email@example.com to schedule a complimentary coaching session. To read Errol’s other posts, visit Christ-Centered Life Coaching.