“This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe” – I Timothy 4:9-10.
In this article, we are focusing on truth, the platform on which we ought to be formed. Surprisingly the challenges of this world are taking hold of the righteous with effortless ease. Yet the careless ones carry on with business as usual, while the concerned wonder – what is going on? The crisis of truth and integrity among the leadership and the led is a matter of concern. While it is true that this is not peculiar to the Church of God alone, it seems we have succeeded in making Sodom and Gomorrah look like saints and yet we are supposed to win the world for Jesus!
Because it did not work for Abraham, then known as Abram, who “went down” to Egypt because of famine (Gen 12:10), how then do we think it will work for us now? The ways of Egypt have never been known to sustain the righteous – it is in fact contrary to God’s mandate because Egypt inspires fear, lie, fraud, deception, prayerlessness, loss of fellowship with God, and trust in man. Abram experienced all these vices until God caused his deportation from Egypt “And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him: and they sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had” – Genesis 12:20
He was thereafter forced to “go up” out of Egypt and went straight to Bethel (the House of God), to the altar which he erected as at the first (Genesis 13:4). With the kind of things we see and hear today it is high time we returned to Bethel as Abram did.
Brethren, where do you stand? On the rock of truth or on a slippery place of a lie? Apostle Paul in I Timothy 4:1-2 warned us: “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron” Is it not obvious we have arrived at this point? For what else can we call the buying and selling we see all over our churches? the lies, deception, fraud, immorality, lack of integrity, and untruthfulness of the worst kind?
The African adage says “When elders are in the market place the head of a newborn child should not be bent.” It is sad to note that there are many bent and twisted heads amongst us simply because the elders have abandoned their place. As leaders and the led, let us watch our lives and persevere in godly works. We must labor to show forth the praises of our king and strive for truth at all times.
How can Leaders strive for truth?
Be a Good example in speech
Avoid half-truths, exaggeration, and manipulations.
Live a surrendered life
See integrity as a goal that must be attained. Pastor, do not see tithe and offering as your source, and let it become the epicenter of your message. Rather, let Jesus be the focus of your message.
Be a shepherd and not a hireling. Shepherds love all irrespective of their financial positions; hirelings choose to love the wealthy and give them full attention.
Faith must be apparent
Is the work done by divine provision elicited by faith or human provision through skillful manipulation of the sheep? Competitive spirits have placed yokes upon many and their congregation because they dabbled into things God has not called them to do. Consequently, we are raising money for projects that have allowed plenty of blood money to show up in our services just because we want to push our own pet projects. We have a lot to learn from the Orthodox Church which some of our brethren are running back to because they are tired of the way we do church. For example, years ago, First Baptist Orange Park, Florida rejected a tithe of around $600,000 brought by one Robert Powell, a member of the church who won the Florida Lottery Jackpot. The church and Pastor David Tarkington politely declined and told Powell they will not accept the lottery winnings. How many of us in the Pentecostal circle will honestly reject this kind of money? Think about it!
God gives provision for the vision
If God, the owner of heaven and earth does not make the money available, is it not a sign that He is telling you to wait? Money at hand may make the un-spiritual build what God has not ordained. Let us be wise.
Train yourself to be godly
You have to discipline yourself to crave for the things of God. You are the Bible others are reading. Be the example you preach about.
Fellowship with God is key
Stir up the gifts of God through prayer, fasting, meditation, praise, worship, and fellowship with God. “Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers” – I Timothy 4:15-16.
As you respond to this desperate cry, may these words be fulfilled in your life: “And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels;… Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.” (Malachi 3:17-18)
Taiwo Ayeni is the President of Rehoboth Bible Ministries. He lives with his wife Abidemi, Son Rereloluwa and Daughter Oreoluwa in Grand Prairie Texas. He authored several books. Website: www.rehobothbministries.org. Email :firstname.lastname@example.org.