May I be thoroughly transparent this morning. David mentions two sins that particularly affect pastors (not only pastors so don’t think anyone else is off the hook – ha). I have known many pastors who knowingly, or not, were afflicted with one of the sins at times, including myself. Beyond that, what is more common is that we are beset by both of these sins at various times so that life is like a sin roller coaster when these two come along.
What are they? Pride and discouragement. “Let not the foot of arrogance come upon me,
nor the hand of the wicked drive me away.” (36:11) David understood. When one is in a place of spiritual leadership with a group of God’s people these two extremes can be deadly.
First, pride. There are those times when we pastors see things going well or we preach a good sermon or we have a good counseling session and we fall into the trap of thinking it was because of our own great skill, wisdom or abilities that has caused all this. We forget, usually for a moment, that the glorious grace and power of God is what brings every good gift. It is not by our might nor by our power but by God’s spirit that things go well in the service of the Lord (Zechariah 4:6). The boasting must be in him and not in ourselves.
Second, discouragement. Every pastor knows the discouragement that comes when things don’t go well or some critic attacks or we are exhausted or any one of a host of possibilities that cause us to have a pity party and feel sorry for ourselves. After the events of most Sundays, sheer fatigue can bring this on. They taught us in seminary never to resign on Monday. (smile)
But I have the sneaking suspicion that these two sins are closely related. Perhaps they both come from thinking too much of ourselves and too little of God. We think that things are dependent on our abilities and not on the working of God in his people. Let me say again. The same things can be said of every Christian no matter the line of work. Learn to boast and trust in God in the highs and lows of life.
Prayer: Father, thank you for your steadfast love that you give to your children. Thank you that your grace is sufficient for every need. Thank you that you humble us when needed and build us up when needed. Your perfect love is perfect for us. Praise your name!