Various Temptations of Christian Minister

Temptation to quit the Ministry

Every Christian minister after he has preached and ministered to the people, sooner or later, wants to quit his ministry. Elijah did the same thing. After he had called fire from heaven, turned the hearts of the people towards Yehovah God, killed Baal’s prophets, and restored rain in Israel through His faith, when he was exhausted, fled from the threat of wicked and defeated Jezebel and prayed that his ministry and life may end. “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!” Elijah may have thought that after witnessing the mighty miracle of fire from heaven, Ahab and his family would get saved. He was not expecting a threat to come from his family instead. This seems to me to be the cause of his discouragement. Therefore, a Christian minister must always remember that He is called by God and is serving God, and not himself or the people. It is up to God to save people; our job is to serve Him. God is faithful to see you through until He calls you home.

 

Temptation to compare

Christian ministers are always tempted to compare themselves and their ministries to other ministers and their ministries. A minister with a small group of Christians listening and supporting his ministry may get discouraged after seeing the financial resources available to another minister with a larger following. On the more dangerous side, a minister with a large group of Christians listening and supporting his ministry may fall into pride by comparing himself to other preachers in his city.

Both should remember that “neither he who plants, nor he who waters is anything. But it is only God who gives growth. Both, he who plants and he who waters will get their wages according to their labor” at Christ coming. Neither of their ministry is less important, nor is any minister less important than the other, if they are serving the Lord and not themselves. We should never compare ourselves against others and nor should we compare our children with other children.

 

Temptation to woo

The preaching and the ministry of a Christian minister must always be to turn people’s focus to their Savior, Christ Jesus. When the preaching and the ministry has ended, when the Christians depart to their homes, their security must increase in their Lord and Savior. They should know that all their sins are forgiven. They should know that Jesus loves them and will never leave them. They should know that they are blessed, accepted and pleasing to their God. Surely, they will bless and be grateful such a preacher like a lost child would love the person who brings him safely to his parents or a lost woman to her husband. Jesus said, “if I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to myself.” We must always lift Jesus up in the hearts of the Christians who look to us for Christian leadership. “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.” Faithful ministers are such a voice leading from behind, always restoring people to their beloved Jesus. They always preach and teach the living Word of God, and restore people into a relationship with the Word of God. They set their congregation free to fact-check them on what they preach or share.

 

Temptation to be careless regarding one’s personal Health

A Christian minister must have regular habits of eating, sleeping, exercising, vacation and recreation. The minister must realise that the head of the church is Christ, and not him. Yes, he has to study really hard for his next sermon, he has to attend calls from the church members and counsel them, he has to visit the sick at their homes and hospitals, he has to attend his board meetings, he has to do marriages and funerals, etc. Above all this, he has to take care of his own personal family. He must give sufficient time to his own children and wife. He is doing the best job in the whole world of serving the Highest Authority. Therefore, he must always remain in good shape and health.

 

Temptation to imitate

Ministers may be tempted to copy other successful ministers’ style, or, preach their sermons without consulting the Holy Spirit, or, continue in the old ways of doing things from the earlier generations. God has chosen you for His ministry after well considering your unique personality and your life experiences. He wants to use you for His work. So, we must remain ourselves and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit (God in us) in everything. New wine gets poured into new wine skins. It is the lukewarm, that God spits out of His mouth.

 

Temptation to forego accountability

Representing Christ to the church and society is a big responsibility. A minister has to spend hours every day in prayer and in reading the Word of God. He has to everyday seek the presence of the Holy Spirit, while waiting at the feet of the Lord. He must run back to his prayer closet when feeling exhausted, just like the Lord did on several occasions. Even after doing all this, there must be people in the minister’s life who have permission to ask him questions on how he conducts his ministry and how he is living his personal life. Some leaders build walls around their personal lives and compartmentalise what they do personally from what they do vocationally. They would not allow anyone to question what they do in their personal lives. A Christian minister’s personal life and public life both get used in their ministry work. People not only see what the minister preaches, but also how he conducts his personal life, because he is a public figure. Since all of him, both public and private, represents Christ to the Church and his society, a preacher must keep his ministry and life accountable to other mature Christians and church leaders.

 

Temptation to Procrastinate

Without faith, it is impossible to please God. If all our ministry is the fruit of our own personal ability, God gets less glory. However, God often gives us tasks to do which are beyond our personal ability and strength. Whenever God asks us to do such a task, our immediate reaction is to reply back to God saying, “who am I that I will be able to do this!” Moses did that when God asked him to go to Egypt and deliver the people of Israel. But God’s answer always is “I will certainly be with you.” Every minister of Christ needs to understand that God will always ask us to do things considering His own ability and not ours. Surely, God takes a big risk when He assigns His task to us because we do not know how to do it. But God knows that because we love Him. we will seek Him daily regarding the task and He will tell us the next step to do. By assigning tasks that require our continuing reliance on God and His strength and wisdom,  God is increasing our faith. Moses was present with Jesus on the mount of transfiguration with Elijah. He chose to obey God and is thus so honoured in church history.

 

Temptation to lord over Christians

Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.

Peter is exposing three wicked behaviors common in church leadership in the above passage. Instead of willingly serving, leaders become lazy and uncaring. Leaders become greedy for money. They also start lording over the Christians in their church, eventhough they are called to lead by example. To be effective in Christian ministry, leaders must serve the church, instead of expecting the church to serve them. Such a tendency of the flesh can be bound by remembering that the Lord of every Christian is Jesus and the minister is called to continuously restore every Christian’s faith and trust in their Saviour, so that the Christian can live a victorious life in the power of His Lord, fulfilling his or her calling.

 

Temptation to do vainglory

It is certain that a Christian minister will come across people who are poor and in need, both within and outside his church. He will also meet other Christian ministers who are in need. The minister may be tempted to sacrifice his personal needs to help others. Whenever the Lord calls a person to leadership and ministry, God also arranges provision to the person for his personal needs and comforts and that of his family. God takes pleasure in the prosperity of His servant. He wants his servants to not worry about where their provision will come from. He wants his servant’s children to grow financially secure and full of faith so that they can do greater things than their parents in this world for the kingdom of heaven. When a Christian minister deprives himself and his family of their necessities in order to help others, he does the sin of vainglory. Just as God takes care of him, God will take care of His other servants. If he has spare money, he should help, but not at the expense of his family’s needs.

 

Temptation to get so busy in ministry so as to compromise on his personal devotion time

Doing the work of ministry and serving people is a joyful thing. To see people smile again, to see people restored in faith in God, to see the sparkle of faith in a person’s eye, to see a person physically healed, to see a sinner turn from his sinful ways and surrender his life to Jesus, to see a person, to see a youth find their calling, all of this is so thrilling and exciting. This can cause a minister to think that his ministry time is same as his devotion and personal fellowship time with the Lord. Having a personal fellowship time with the Lord is very essential. Lord Jesus too escaped from His ministry often to spend personal quality time with His Father, to pray to Him, to worship Him, to adore Him, to fellowship with Him, to seek His counsel before making a major decision, etc. A Christian minister must never forsake his personal devotion time with his Lord and Heavenly Father. He must daily read his Bible for himself before he reads it to find what message he has to preach to his church.

 

Temptation to not pay his tithes and bring his offerings

Since Christians bring their tithes and offerings to worship the Lord to the church and the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel and serve the church be taken care of by this money, ministers are tempted to not bring their tithes and offerings to the church. Of all that the Levites got in the Old Testament, they were commanded to give a tithe from it to Aaron the priest (and his descendants, the priests). Likewise, the priests were commanded to offer their tithe as a burnt offering.

Unless a preacher tithes and brings his offerings, he can never teach his church the principles of tithe and offering. He would deprive them of their financial security and blessing in the Lord.

My father, recently, on 22nd June was informed that he would lose his job in a month’s time, despite being in senior management and having faithfully and sincerely worked for the growth of the business for 8 years. The employer said he was facing financial difficulty. Since he is past 55 years of age, it was unlikely for him to get another job at this age. He miraculously got another job within a couple of days after his job was over. It is a significantly higher paying job. My dad was able to fulfil his faith promise for the year. My dad has always paid his tithe, because his first church pastor and his family always paid tithes and brought an offering to the church and they still do. Worshipping the Lord with tithes and offering surely ensures financial stability and prosperity to Christians. So the Christian minister must be first in bringing his tithes and offerings to the church.

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