The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe...
"Confidence, With Humility"
I recently heard a sermon by a preacher in which he said to his congregation, "I will never compromise. I will never fail you. I will never let you down." He received a long ovation for his confident affirmation.
Contrast this with the Apostle Paul, who after decades of ministry declared, "I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway" (I Corinthians 9:27).
The preacher purported himself as being beyond the possibility of failure. Conversely, the Apostle recognized that no human being can guarantee ongoing faithfulness to God or people. One failed to understand the Biblical doctrine regarding our ongoing susceptibility to temptation and sin. The other realized the truth that as long as we live in a tent of flesh wherein "dwelleth no good thing," every believer remains susceptible to the possibility of sin and failure (Romans 7:18). One, while perhaps well meaning in his intentions, sets himself up for failure by pride and confidence in his own integrity (and has actually already failed and fallen). The other, also well meaning and far better informed by God and His truth, longed to serve the Lord and people faithfully. However, he also realized that even after decades of faithful service, he could still be cast away from active ministry by succumbing to devilish and fleshly temptations.
"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:13-14).
Born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, including preachers, should have much confidence in God's keeping and enabling regarding our walk in faith and faithfulness. We attempt to frequently affirm such grace-provided power in these messages:
"His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue" (II Peter 1:3).
No believer, however, can vow to God or human beings that we will never fail or compromise.
"Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall" (I Corinthians 10:12).
Both confidence and humility must pave the path of righteousness upon which we walk. It is never inevitable that we fail, nor is it ever inevitable that we will faithfully fulfill our calling. No less than Paul affirmed both our Christ-enabled capacity for godliness and our fleshly potential for ungodliness. The day will come after we are perfected at the return of the Lord Jesus Christ that we will be able to confess, to the credit of the One who perfects us, "I will never again fail or compromise!" This is not that day. Thus, we do well to bear much confidence that we can walk in faithfulness, but also acknowledge with much humility that we can also fail to do so.
A final thought: what could or should the preacher have said to his congregation?
"My brothers and sisters, I greatly desire to serve God and you faithfully, a longing I believe He has wrought in my heart by the Holy Spirit. I desire to not fail Him or you, or compromise, or let you down. However, I know that as long as we are in this present world, none of us can guarantee our faithfulness. So, please pray for me, as I do for you, that I will consistently and increasingly honor our Lord, and serve Him and you in a matter that reveals His grace and truth. Hold me accountable, and seek to be a good example of faith and faithfulness to me, even as I seek to be to you. Thereby we will together give all glory to Him as we trust Christ and Christ alone to be our perfect model of godliness, truth, and integrity."
"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us."
(I John 1:8)
Weekly Memory Verse
And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life."
(I John 5:11-12)