Shallow Superficial Confidence in Christ
Saleama A. Ruvalcaba
We learned in The Antonym of Appeal that our gospel walk must be that of beauty if we truly want to evoke change in others and expand the kingdom of God. But how exactly do we get a gospel walk that radiates beauty? One way is through proper discipleship. If you’re a new Christian or have been a Christian for many years, if you haven’t been properly discipled – it is best that you do, or you will hinder your growth and stifle the kingdom of God. If you truly care about what God cares about, you will seek first the kingdom of God. There is a dangerous aspect of living as Christians without proper guidance from the Holy Spirit. We live in a world exposed to a lot of bad which can influence us in a negative way. We must expel the bad to allow in the good. The good (Jesus Christ) cannot come into our heart, if we do not understand how to let Him in.
Titus 2:1-2 “You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and endurance.”
Like most new Christians, we are excited and want to make a difference. I recall I was a one month Christian; I had never been to a Christian church, and I knew nothing about the Bible. I had no idea what the Old Testament or The New Testament was. I did not understand Jesus Christ vs. God. I did not understand sin. As far as I was concerned a sinner was the person who robbed a bank – so I knew I wasn’t a sinner. However, I emailed and called every ministry department at church to be in leadership. Every time I saw a new posting for a leader, I was first to respond! A wise older friend of mine once said, “Christians who convert later in life sometimes get too excited and want to make up for lost time.” Well that was me. I had no purpose, prior, but now I had Jesus Christ so I was going to have a purpose in the church. Even though I had no understanding of sound doctrine, or self-control or sound in my faith – I was determined to be a leader.
Titus 2:3-5 “Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”
I know I boast very often on the great marriage I have today. Well, I can assure you, during this period in my life, my marriage was not great. It was bad. Eventually I was allowed to be a leader at church. In fact, I was a leader in several ministries simultaneously. I was on the Bible study council. I was a head leader for Tuesday Morning Women’s Bible Study (one of the largest ministries at the church). I was president of my Sunday school class. Publicity Coordinator for Mother’s of Preschoolers (MOPS). And lead supervisor in preschool on Sunday mornings. I was popular. This was at a megachurch and a lot of people knew me. I finally had a purpose. Well good for me. In the meantime I overlooked my husband and my children did not get the best of me, and I had no patience for my non Christian extended family. Also, not being rooted in sound doctrine I had no ability to properly serve the MANY people I had authority over at church.
I was out of control. I was prideful and ambitious and was using God to achieve personal success. I would be up until 2 a.m. working on ministry stuff – and loved it! Maybe you’re not in leadership at church, but you still need to understand sound doctrine. God gives us the Bible to help guide us through all of life situations – and proper discipleship is essential. We cannot live our entire lives as non believers, then dive headfirst into leadership over others. We must first learn who Jesus Christ is. We need to know why He came to earth and died for us. We need to understand sin and the ramifications of living a life of sin. We need to understand sexual temptations. We need to understand proper procedures dealing with children. We need to understand how to pray and spiritual warfare.We need to understand wisdom and humility. God has so much for us all to do. There is no shortage of people to serve, so we need to learn patience and allow God to teach us – first.
Titus 2:14-15 “who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.”
In this verse, I was the one who needed to be rebuked and the leaders had to stand up for themselves and not be threatened by my response to their reprimand. I left that church angry and dejected. I spent years blaming them. They were the ones who allowed me to be in so many ministries – it was all their fault. They should have trained me better. Yes, it some respects we should make sure new Christians are discipled before we place them in leadership. But ultimately, when it’s all said and done; our Christian walk is our personal responsibility. We have to answer to God. Sure, I can be like Eve and blame the serpent and be like Adam and blame Eve. Or I can admit, I must seek God and trust that He will lead me properly in areas that I need growth. He will teach me, and through His guidance, He will direct me to the right leadership at the given time.
God stripped away every area of leadership in my life little by little. Finally five years as a Christian and having served in prominent leadership positions in church, I took my first leadership class. I did not serve anywhere. I studied and allowed myself to be discipled. I was finally beginning to understand; God first, Family second, Career (ministry) third. As a nine-year Christian, only now am I starting to see God use me more often. Now I can see I am having more of a godly influence. I slowly began to understand patience and love. No matter if it’s in your home, your church, at work, or at school – allow God to teach you. Don’t be in a rush for power, or influence. Be humble. Be excited to learn from the greatest teacher of all – and in His perfect time, He will allow you to influence others while – – expanding His kingdom and giving glory to God.