The Church, Unity, and Separation
By Mike Ratliff - Posted at Possessing the Treasure:
5 For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you, 6 namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion. 7 For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, 8 but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, 9 holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. Titus 1:5-9 (NASB)
It doesn’t take very long for me to discern whether the person I am dealing with through personal interaction is truly God’s man or woman or is a pretender. That personal interaction is necessary for me to see the true nature and focus of the person. As we debate or discuss doctrinal or church issues or even secular issues it soon becomes very clear whether I am dealing someone who is walking according to the Lordship of Christ or is their own man or woman. Their values soon become apparent. All of us are in various stages of spiritual growth and repentance to be sure, but the mark of the washing of regeneration is there to be seen in all of God’s people that cannot be counterfeited. Of course, this is only discernable by those who are looking for it and then only through God’s testing fires.
I think that is why those of us who truly belong to Him are so often struggling in the fires of tribulation. As I have that personal interaction with people as I shared above, I am given glimpses into their value systems and what is truly beleaguering them, et cetera. When some come to me full of retribution, meaning to shut up me or a friend or whatever, I always prayfully look at their motives. Never have I had anyone do that with the motive of bringing God glory. No, it has always been self-motivated personal glory. In light of this I pray that you will carefully read the passage from Titus I placed at the top of this post.