Leading Out of Love

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Contributed by Brian Shifflett, Worship Pastor at Image Church

Periodically, I turn to 1 Timothy 3 to remind myself of the type of man God has called me to be as an Overseer at Image Church.  Being a leader is not often easy, and so upholding God’s standard for my life is not only important to me…it is essential for me – essential because leaders are often required to make tough decisions and/or say tough things.  The character qualities laid out in 1 Timothy are foundational to being able to make those tough decisions and say those tough things in a godly, Christ-exalting way. 

I wonder how hard it must have been for Paul to seemingly always have to confront the early church on issues of false teachings, conduct, etc.  I could even see how some would have thought Paul to be overbearing or just plain mean.   At the beginning of 1 Timothy, we see Paul urging Timothy to stay in Ephesus so that he could address certain false teachings (1 Timothy 1:3).  More false teachings=more tough things to say=more confrontation.  Sounds like a great time, doesn’t it?  Yet, it is verse 5 that makes everything make sense.  1 Timothy 3:5 says:

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

Paul led strong in that way because he loved people.  He loved God’s people.  He loved the church.  He loved Jesus, and he loved the Gospel.  To Paul, nothing was as important as making sure the church heard and understood the full Gospel – nothing more, nothing less.  Some of us may have had someone in our lives that has given us solid godly advice before.  Regardless of how you felt at first, aren’t you thankful for it now? 

I am thankful for Paul’s convictions out of love.  I am also thankful for leaders around me who strive to make tough decisions and say tough things out of love for people.   Of course, no one is as loving or as pure as Jesus.  But we can strive to live and love like Jesus, as we boldly defend Him like Paul did.  My prayer for Image Church is that our leaders would always stand up for the full Gospel – because the heart behind that is one of love, whether it feels like it or not.

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