Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Shepastor: "Leading by Example, Modeling What We Desire to See..."

Nehemiah 3:1 Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brethren the priests, and they builded the sheep gate; they sanctified it, and set up the doors of it; even unto the tower of Meah they sanctified it, unto the tower of Hananeel.

"Leading by example" and "modeling what we desire to see" may be easier said than done. This can be particularly true for modeling Christ like behavior in the midst of "un-Christ like" people. Unfortunately many un-Christ like behaviors exist in the church. It can be challenging to continue to love, lift, encourage and support individuals who exhibit the opposite. It can be equally as challenging to model fervor, enthusiasm and faithfulness amidst the lax and indifferent. Yet we are called to lift high the spiritual fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness and humility. We also must show balance, diligence and responsibility.

In our text, Nehemiah was leading the Israelites in rebuilding the wall around the city. In ancient times, city walls were critical. They protected enemies from easy access to the community. Cities without walls were vulnerable to easy attacks from enemy nations. Nehemiah led the people to rebuild the walls in sections. One of the first groups to begin the process were the priests. The high priest, Eliashib, "rose up with his brethren the priests, and they builded the sheep gate;"

The sheep gate was the place where the priests brought in the sacrifices for the atonement of the sins of the people. Nehemiah understood the respect the people had for the priests and for the role they played in leading the people in holy living. How appropriate for the priests to be among the first to model rebuilding that which was critical to their safety and well being.

As leaders, we are called to lead by example and model Christ like behaviors. We are called to rebuild and to model shaping what is critical. When we model an even temperament, even in the midst of unreasonable and ill-tempered people, we are helping to rebuild broken walls that are creating avenues for the enemy of our souls to enter. As we pray and ask the Holy Spirit to order our steps, and to "bridle our tongue," we will begin to positively influence others who may struggle with their behaviors.

When we model a spirit of encouragement, even in the midst of discouraging and critical people, we are rebuilding healing walls and positively influencing the atmosphere with love, affirmation and kindness. When we model self-control in our responses, we rebuild walls of healthy communication...diffusing potentially explosive situations.

When we model a spirit of unity, support, compassion and considerateness, we rebuild the critical walls of working together, guarding against divisiveness, treachery, and cruelty, yes even in the church! When we exemplify diligence, balance, enthusiasm and responsibility, we model good stewardship.

We are unable in and of ourselves to model these behaviors. It is only through prayer, abiding in Christ and dwelling in God's presence that we are able to overcome all of the challenges associated with facing off all that opposes the spirit of Christ.

Yes, we can rebuild the right walls and lead by example through Christ. Is it easy? No! Is it possible and necessary? YES!

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Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

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