23 Jun The Power of Integrity
Never be in a hurry about appointing a church leader. Do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure. 1 Timothy 5: 22 (New Living Translation)
Paul exhorts Timothy here to be careful about how to raise up leaders in the church. At first glance it may seem like there’s not much connection between the first part of the verse and what follows: “Do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.” But it is clear that if a pastor appoints a person to church leadership without knowing their faithfulness and integrity over a period of time, then they risk elevating someone who may not be ready to serve in that position because of character flaws. In this kind of mistake there is the potential for a leader to actually share in the sins of others by contributing to false pride. There is also the possibility that the leader is not entirely pure in his or her motives for elevating someone prematurely.
The broader application is a clear reminder to all believers that we should not be influenced by the actions of others to the extent that we go along with the crowd or the world’s mentality of “everybody’s doing it anyway.” To keep yourself pure means to carefully heed the impressions of the Holy Spirit when He convinces us of our sin, whether it is in motive, or something we look at, or even our thought life. It is always wise to bring our failures and shortcomings to the Lord so that we can function in his grace and forgiveness. Then He empowers us to walk in purity.
That is what releases us to continue to minister for Him. We’ll never be good enough in our own righteousness to minister on His behalf, but when we’re reconciled to Jesus, He presents us to the Father for service as ‘holy, unblameable and unreproveable.’ Then we’re able to minister on the basis of Christ’s righteousness in us, not our own.
In a world where purity is often scoffed at as irrelevant, Victorian, and unrealistic, I am challenged to be tenacious about having self-control and discipline in order to walk with integrity. As a pastor, I understand well the call to lead others in to a life of obedience and faithfulness to the truth of God’s Word. I must lead by example and I understand this to be a lifelong challenge.
There is a power and authority that comes to the life that is surrendered to God’s will in all purity. I so enjoy the power and presence of the Lord when serving Him in purity which is described as the “anointing.” I know that my choices can either empower and enhance that anointing, or undermine it. I am inspired this day by Paul’s words to keep myself pure and available to God’s powerful anointing in my life.
Father God, thank you for your great grace and mercy. Thank you for sending Jesus to die for me and to cleanse me from sin. I choose to walk in purity before You this day, in thought and action. Come Lord Jesus and fill me with your Spirit so that I can walk in your power today. Help me to mentor others who will be able to have an impact on the people in their world.