I think one of the hardest things for me to deal with as a pastor is to watch people who have experienced the love and grace of Christ return to their previous lives of fallenness and brokenness. It truly is frustrating to me. John Wesley wrote about this idea of Christian Perfection and the idea that we could actually be perfected in this lifetime. Now, to be perfected, Wesley was referring to our complete freedom from voluntarily breaking known laws of God. Will we make mistakes? Sure. Will we fail at things? Absolutely. But, Wesley believed (and I share this belief) that we could actually get to a point in our growth with God that we would no longer knowingly go against the desires of God.
I know this is one of the reasons it is so frustrating to see people revert to their “old ways” (because I believe you are actually capable of breaking free of your old ways). But, the more troubling reason is found in 1 Peter 2.
If people escape the moral filth of this world through the knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ, then get tangled up in it again and are overcome by it, they are worse off than they were before. – 1 Pet 2
It goes to show that when you know what the right thing is…and you CHOOSE not to do the right thing…it is much worse than if you never knew in the first place. As a leader and Pastor this carries a lot of weight. How do I lead? How do I handle staff? How do set an example as a leader? How do I, in the midst of difficult situations, do the right thing? I will be honest with you, many times it is tempting to do something other than the right thing because it is…well…easier.
But, in the end…we are not called to what is easy. We are called to what is right. Period.
When do you get tempted to return to the “moral filth” of this world rather that staying true to what God desires?
What does this mean for you in the areas in which you lead?