We have friends with an adolescent in the late teens. The mother and father have been experiencing heart-wrenching rebellion from this young person. The teen has been moody, mouthy, disobedient, unappreciative, defiant, and far more. The father often takes the side of the misbehaving child, likewise railing on the mother. As a result, the teen is living in sin, the relationship of the parents is broken relationship, and the mother is heartbroken.
While this real life example depicts a broken family, far too often a similar situation exists in the family of God within local churches. Even the Apostle Paul experienced the rebellion of the saints and the heartbreak of strained or broken relationships. The believers in the region of Galatia had been ill influenced by false teachers who had been successful in pulling them back into the bondage of trying to keep the Mosaic Law. They were even compromising a clear gospel of grace alone. So, Paul instructed them to stand fast in salvation by grace, in their liberty in grace, and in the doctrines of grace. Sadly, they did not want to hear sound doctrine and responded poorly. Paul had to ask them: “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth” (Galatians 4:16). The Corinthians were also carnal in their treatment of Paul. When he sought to bring them out of sinful conduct, he was actually “despised” by those he sought to help (I Corinthians 4:10). How? Certainly they despised him in attitude, but there were other ways too. Even after He led them to Christ, Paul said they questioned his apostleship, demanding further “proof of Christ speaking in me” (II Corinthians 13:3). Even through all this, Paul told them that he was willing to sacrificially “spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved” (II Corinthians 12:15). It seemed like the more he did for them, the less they appreciated it, and their treatment of him deteriorated more and more. How sad!
How do you treat God’s servants, especially those who regularly minister to you? Do you angrily resist the truth they teach when it stands contrary to how you want to do things? Do you question their authority as a leader God has graciously provided? Do you allow yourself to despise them? Or do you appreciate their work and sacrifice on your behalf? Let today mark a positive change in the way you treat God’s Servants.
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