Ephesians 4:1,2 “I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”

    Humility, gentleness, patience and upholding are all marks of a person who lives his life worthy of the calling he has received.  Scripture gives us a standard by which to assess ourselves and those around us.  Not to judge, but rather to provide a standard of practice and behaviour to aspire to and be accountable to.  Jesus said; “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34,35)

     When the world gauges leadership it looks for forceful, effective leaders with ‘charisma‘.  Yet Jesus has taught us to see with different eyes; “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant” (Matthew 20:25,26)  If you want a leader who is a true disciple of Jesus, look for that humble attitude of service.  Don’t be fooled by counterfeits.  Don’t be fooled by someone who talks the talk but walks in his flesh and is given to ‘fits of rage’.

     It falls upon us all to lead someone;  perhaps a child, sometimes a friend in need or any person who needs a hand.  Let that leadership be with ‘no strings attached’.  Let that leadership help a person out of a pit not into deeper bondage of a different sort.  Don’t be fooled by charismatic types who preach up a storm about themselves and prey upon the confused;  “And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.” (2 Peter 2:3)  Such false preachers will experience God’s judgement.

     In every person’s life there comes a time to speak up against wrong.  For some, the time to speak comes early,  for others it comes later, but it comes for all.  Silence, although  it is the smarter thing to do in the world’s eyes, raises a sour stench of retreat from those who would do evil, all the way up to heaven.  The Lord’s host of saints and angels stand in witness of such fearful self preservation on the earth below.  Edmund Burke said; “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.”

     Is it too much to ask that we heed the call to stand up for the truth?  Is it too much to ask that we speak out against those who use religion or ‘good deeds’ as a cover for exploitation?  Is it too much to ask that integrity should be more than appearances and shallow gestures?   Is it too much to ask that courage in the face of evil is the reality rather than indifference or self-righteousness.   Is it too much to ask? No it isn’t but don’t expect it.  Scripture tells us; “This is the judgement, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.”(John 3:19)

      Paul, who knew something of conflict and opposition because of his speaking out for the Truth tells us; “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God.” (Philippians 1:27,28)

     When people hate us for telling the truth, we are in good company. Jesus tells us; “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” (John 15:18-20)

Praise the Lord!