Charles Spurgeon is one of my favorite writers, even though his writings often challenge me deep in my heart. These words (first directed to preachers, though applicable to all Christian leaders) are especially gripping:
It is a shocking state of things when good people say, “Our minister undoes in the parlor what he has done in the pulpit; he preaches very well, but his life does not agree with his sermons.” . . . God help us so to live that we may be safe examples to our flocks!
If you’re a Christian leader, think about these ways to be a “safe example” to the flock:
- Prioritize the Word in your personal life. Through His Word, God equips you to do His work. You simply cannot live a godly life apart from knowing and following the Bible.
- Make prayer a part of your DNA. Prayerlessness is idolatry of the self—a decided danger for leaders.
- Never outgrow accountability. We never reach the point of no longer needing accountability for holy living.
- Genuinely believe the Kingdom is larger than you. When we think the kingdom is about us, we set ourselves up for the fall that comes with pride.
- Live in urgency. More than 3 billion people have little or no access to the gospel. Understanding this urgent need makes the temporary pleasure of sin pale.
- Guard your speech. Avoid crude jokes. Determine not to talk poorly of others. Use your words to build others up, not to tear them down. Talk more about God than about yourself. Speak the truth in love. Trust that Someone is always listening.
- Mentor someone. When you invest yourself in another, you make yourself vulnerable to someone else’s eyes. Knowing he will be disappointed if you fall should encourage you to fight for godliness.
- Share the gospel with non-believers. Doing evangelism is not only basic Christian obedience, but it’s also a call to holiness. Faithfully and consistently share the gospel with others, and you will want to model genuine Christian faith before them.
- Be a person of integrity in all matters. Don’t exaggerate statistics. Pay your bills. Take necessary steps to avoid pornography. Be honest with your spouse in all matters. Confess your sin. Stand before God’s people with no hidden areas of disobedience.
- Take care of yourself physically. The Spirit of God dwells in you, and your godliness cannot be separated from your commitment to take care of your physical body.
I suspect that nothing here is revolutionary—but that’s the point. Godliness is simply living daily for God. Take time to examine your life today. And as you do, say a prayer that I, too, will be a godly leader.
Charles Spurgeon (2009-08-19). An All Around Ministry (Kindle Locations 2586-2590). BookAndSuchNW. Kindle Edition.