Saturday 18 Nov 2017
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John 6:48

I am the bread of life.

 

Judge yourself soberly....

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgement, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.- Romans 12:3
 
Perhaps one of the major causes of conflict in the life of a man is his inability to humbly appraise himself with the aim of being able to appreciate first himself and from whatever that exercise delivers to him learn to appreciate others. 
The conflicts that many experience within and without, arises from this omission,but the scripture recognises this hence it enjoins us as believers to give heed to this important instruction for Christian living. The whole point of this exercise is not to subject ourselves to undue harsh criticism and unreasonable self flogging, rather we are asked to do this under the grace and the guidance which God through the Holy Spirit makes available to every born again believer.
 
There is a reason why there is so much conflict in the body of Christ, it is unbelievable the level of strife, envy, jealousy and acrimony which reigns in the body of Christ both at the corporate level and amongst the members. While we have managed to gloss over this at the corporate level by the use of what can at best pass as an euphemistic phrase such as the usage of the word denomination to describe the boundaries that separates us, we however betray the underlying strife and acrimony by the way we describe one another and how hard it has become to get believers from different denominational background to speak with one voice. As if that is not bad enough we have members within the confines of this man made boundaries who are silently tearing one another apart, you have members who do not talk to each other because of envy and strife. Churches are springing up all over the place, the motive not driven by the love of Christ , rather it is driven by envy, strife and bitterness, and other ulterior motives which are far from what the love of God teaches and deliver us into. People jump out of fellowship and communion at the slightest provocation because they see themselves above correction or too big to be instructed or assigned a role that is way beneath their perceived gift and calling. The saddest thing is perhaps the way such would use the name of God to back up their actions up, when it is so clear to everyone that their action is being driven not by the spirit of God but that of strife.
 
It is sad to see people who still need to be disciples themselves trying to disciple others, it is sad seeing people who need to be taught trying to teach others, it is sad seeing the blind who is yet to see clearly, trying to lead and point the way to others who are blind. It is a great tragedy watching empty reservoirs shout to people to come and fetch water to drink, it is sad to see people with questionable moral standing try to inculcate morals into others, there can only be one outcome...disaster of the magnitude which the church of Christ is experiencing. How did we get to this critical point, is it not by refusing to give due diligence to this simple but profound instruction. 
 
Likewise it is heart wrenching watching Pastors try to be jack of all trade to their congregation, a position they have found themselves because they have ignored this warning. Driven by this deception they arrogate gifts and ministries they were not equipped for unto themselves. It is sad to see Pastors feel threatened when their members demonstrate gifting that are different to theirs, and decide to view with suspicion such gifts even when they can see the hands of God written all over it. I have seen and witnessed where such are hounded out of the church, so that the pastor can have his peace. A father can never become threatened by whatever ability his children demonstrates, rather it is the prayers of every father that they be surpassed by their children, but not so for some pastors. Perhaps what is gone missing on them is the  fact that they are the shepherd and fathers to their respective flocks not called to compete with them, but rather to look after them and help nurture the grace of God in their lives to fruition. Of course this fact could go missing when we ignore this simple instruction and the result is the strife that seems to be eating up many churches today.
 
I do not pastor a church, because i do not have the grace, i appreciate. the gift and the calling of God upon my life, but i have resisted vehemently the temptation to do what every spiritually gifted person rushes into these days. I appreciate those who are called to pastor churches, i appreciate the grace of God upon their lives to do such. I used to say that I do not have the grace to spoon feed adults who like sick children would still not want to take their prescription,  it takes a certain grace for that. But i still find myself pastoring people as the grace of God has equipped. There are those who will need to ask themselves again if they are equipped for the role they have arrogated to themselves in their walk of faith. What i do, i do by the grace of God, and i am at peace knowing that i have judged myself soberly to that effect. Of course there is room for growth, in the early church the man called Phillip started out as a deacon in the church serving tables, but as the grace of God increased upon his life, he became one of the early Evangelist in the Church. It takes a sober judgement of oneself to be able submit  to this process and not to jump ahead of oneself.
 
Perhaps the major reason why we are instructed to take a sober look at ourselves and resist the temptation to think too highly of ourselves is because of the nature of the fellowship we have been called into, it is a communion of people from diverse background, people who have gone through diverse experiences in life but were found by the grace of God and brought into the fold.Their lives having been shaped by their experiences in life. But now God has brought them into the fold in order that he who uses all things for his glory might be glorified in their lives. That is not all, in the community of God's people are those who have different level of understanding about the things of faith, there are spiritual babies and there are spiritually matured believers, it is not for those who are matured to despise or try to exert their perceived spiritual superiority over those who are young and are still growing faith, rather they are to use this position to help build them up. Likewise the spiritual infants should also understand that in order to grow they need to submit themselves to those who are above them in the things of faith, that they also might grow. All of these is only possible when we go on about our journey of faith with the instruction given by the scripture verse we are looking at today.
 
When a man conducts this exercise upon himself, it leaves him no room to be arrogant and self conceited, and the exercise will equip him with the ability to deal with the diverse nature of the members of the church community.