Last time I wrote on this subject I said, “Recently, I have been thinking about helping young pastors. I recognize I do not have all the answers and do not pretend to, but I do have some answers. God has allowed me to be in the ministry for 34 years and pastor 5 churches. This past week the Pastor I was called to preach under who is now with the Lord, his wife who is 80 years old, sent me a Christmas card. It was a great blessing! In the card was a weathered and yellowed paper. She stated, “I thought you might like to have this, I found it in my husband’s things.” It was a copy of the notes of my ordination council and all that went on the day I was ordained to the gospel ministry many years ago. As I read over it most of the men on the council who had been mentors of mine had gone to be with the Lord. I am very thankful for the mentors in my life, and just recently it has dawned upon me many are now with the Lord. It does create a void and a loss in my life. I do have fond remembrance of them and the part they played in my life. However, the Lord has been speaking to me about helping others and each of us older Pastors (hard to say that!) must be a positive influence on a younger generation to not quit or compromise the truth of God’s Word.
I get correspondence and calls from discouraged young and older pastors all the time through Hope Biblical Counseling Center. Most of that correspondence is about the lack of faithfulness of the people in their churches or the problems they are facing in their churches. Many times they share with me how hurt, disappointed, dismayed, and discouraged they are that their people have no more spiritual desire than they do and their lack of willingness to serve the Lord or be faithful. Or the overwhelming problems they are facing. I have had many young and old preachers literally cry and tell me they just want to quit. Unfortunately, many young pastors believe that the foolishness of people affects their family negatively and unfortunately they leave the ministry because of that. Their children carry those hurts all of their life and are disillusioned. Yes, it is difficult when people are unreliable, unreasonable, and unfaithful and you have to face problems. It is hard to build a church if you have to shoulder all the load or a major part of the load because people are unfaithful. It is hard to do the work of God if you have to work a secular job and try to do another full time job! I understand the hurt and the pain that goes on with it.
Many young and older pastors have told me they have just quit trying to encourage anyone because the people get angry at them or anyone who tries to encourage them and then leave the church. That always hurts a pastor who cares, but let me share a thought with you: Do not let yourself become disobedient by the disobedience of others. Below are some thoughts for you in the matter of handling your discouragement with people, their disobedience, and in handling problems you face. No you do not have to quit or compromise.”
Today, I want to give a principle that I believe will help each of us not focus on the negative aspects of what our church people do or do not do and help us understand it. If we focus on this principle improperly and let it become a discouragement to us. We must show people how to fix it and it will help us as well. Quite frankly, the reason many pastors have a discouragement, defeat problem is because they do not fully understand this principle. If we get it, it will help our church, family, and spiritual life.
I recently spoke on a subject that many pastors do not fully understand and it becomes a great discouragement to them. We must understand three very important things. Number one: There is only one right motive in serving God. John 14:15, If ye love me, keep my commandments. The proper motive is that we must love God. We have to check our heart every day on this matter and brutally honest with ourselves on this. Matthew 22:37-38, Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.
How can you and I know if a person really loves God? They will keep his commandments (faithfulness to His commandments). Secondly, that “a right heart produces right action!” So, if a person is not keeping His commandments, they have a heart issue. The heart issue is they have a problem in their love for God. They are wrongly motivated. Did you notice in John 14:15 it, if ye love me. The question is do you really love God today? Have you ever asked God that question? God is there any problem in my love for you? Then wait for the answer. Unfaithfulness comes from a heart that is divided about its love for God and is wrongly motivated, then it affects what they do or don’t do. Keeping His commandments is not a total desire of that heart!
That leads to all kinds of problems in the spiritual life, church, home, children, work, and marriage. Most people who lose their children or have a disaster for a marriage, it comes from a heart that is divided. They really do not understand that or want to admit that. They make poor spiritual decisions and seek to justify their actions. Remember, “A right heart produces right actions.” That is the reason we tell people they have to start out by having a real, intimate, personal, and passionate relationship with God. See our web site for the article, How To Have A Real Relationship With God.
They have to deal with their heart. That is the reason we ask God to check our heart. Jeremiah 17:9-10, The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
Thirdly, that a person who does not love God will lie, not only to others, but to God. This is generally to rationalize, deceive, or cover up their wrong actions. We see this in the life of Ananias and Sapphira. Acts 5:1-4, But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.
Ever wonder why people do some of the things they do? They have a heart issue. A person who has a heart issue gets angry or critical when corrected. They justify their actions, and then attack others to justify their poor spiritual choices. They believe they are justified and if they can justify their behavior in their mind then they are right in the poor decisions they have made or make. The problem is they have a heart issue and are too spiritually immature or stubborn to understand what is happening. They revert back to their “own way” (flesh, old nature) way of doing things (a divided heart). Sadly, most Christians have never learned this to begin with. The first and great commandment and their love of God is superficial and they do not understand (know) that. Their way is way they have always operated in life to make things work rather than really loving God and working at having a right heart. They have never understood that to begin with and destruction has been all over their life and family because of that. Proverbs 13:13, Whoso despiseth the word (does not give proper attention to) shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.
As a pastor we have to teach them what it means to have a real relationship with God not a divided heart. This does take real work. Of course, we cannot live there ourselves. Notice what Jesus said, Matthew 22:37-40, Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. You cannot love your neighbor properly until you love God properly. Remember this, vs 40 says, On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. In essence, if you don’t get these two right really nothing else will work. This is fundamental Christianity 101. The wreck that is happening in most of the churches and in most lives is because people do not understand that. I share this principle every single week in our counseling program. I always ask them the question did you understand that? Now will we apply it? That really is the question.
My desire should not be is not just to preach to them but to preach in a way that they will want to apply what they have learned. It should also be my desire to help them to apply it. Most people hear us, but do not really hear us. We have to be willing to disciple people. Many pastors do not wish to do that because it takes work.
If you are a lay person reading this, be very thankful if your pastor wants to help you by working to disciple you. Pray for him and be an encouragement to him by applying what you are being taught. The Bible is a practical book, it does not become practical until it is applied to your life.
Pastor, do you love the Lord today? Is His love real in your life? There is a considerable amount of material on our web site at Hope Biblical Counseling Center to help you in this great need today. Have a wonderful day in the lord, and remember it all starts with your relationship with God in the heart, Ephesians 6:6-7, Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:
A defeated person is one who has a heart issue in their love of God.