i have been a fool! You forced me to it, for I ought to have been commended by you. for I was not at all inferior to these super-apostles, even though I am nothing. [2 corinthians 12:11]
after reading how paul defends himself over and over not for his sake, but for the sake of the gospel, I couldn’t help but continue to be disappointed by the corinthians.
but how often are we like them in how we treat our leadership?
marks of a ‘corinthian’:
- lack of fruit of the Spirit
but the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. galatians 5: 22-23
- not studying scripture for yourself but taking what others say as truth
…until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. ephesians 4:13-14
- criticism outweighs encouragement
let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. ephesians 4:29 / therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 1 thessalonians 5:11
- accusing before seeking to understand / know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger. james 1:19
i can only imagine how many times a week, our elders receive unthought-out criticism from the flesh. you may not agree with everything that they do or say, but they are the leaders of the local body that you have chosen to be a part of. trust that they are seeking the Lord from the evidence of humility, fruit of the Spirit and teaching that aligns with Scripture and that they have your best interest always in mind.
elders leading in true humility, meeting with God daily and caring for the flock well shouldn’t have to defend themselves daily like Paul had to do. where questions and the wrestle in the application of scripture are accepted in humility by leadership, allowing the Lord to search our hearts before we speak is essential for the unity of the local body.
obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. hebrews 13:17
instead of being a ‘corinthian’, how can you intentionally encourage church leadership this week?
~ natalie schmidt