"And now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He is revealed we may have ocnfidence and not be put to shame before Him at His coming."
(1 John 2:28)
Man... if you have a guilty conscience, 1 John is NOT the book to read! Actually, we all are sinful and fallen creatures. That's the ultimate reality of the human condition. But that's not how we were created. We were created in the image of God! We were called to be in relationship and fellowship with Him! Along the way, each of us have messed that up in one way or another.
Yesterday was Ash Wednesday - the beginning of the Christian season of Lent, the 6-week period of spiritual refocusing and preparation for Easter. On Ash Wednesday especially, we remember that all of us have fallen short of God's glory and are in need of a Savior. The quest of Lent... (actually, the quest of being a Disciple - a Christ Follower)... is to "abide in Him"... to put our lives in step with the Master... so He might guide and direct us along the way.
As a pastor, I have an even greater responsibilty to abide in Christ. By no means am I perfect. Not at all. But I have been called to shepherd a congregation... to be a leaderr in a denomination... and to represent Jesus to all of the world, as an ordained minister. Wow. That's a big burdne to bear. I know I will not always live up to it. But God does not call me to be perfect - God calls me to be faithful. God calls me to abide in Him... turn every aspect of my life over to His care (relationships, work, personal life, thoughts/feelings, actions, conversations, etc.). I do not want to be "put to shame" before Him (as the author of our text puts it. Because if I'm put to shame as a pastor, then so is my church... my denomination... and ultimately, my Lord. Will I be any differnt than the countless others in the river of faith that have stumbled and put God to shame over the centuries? I don't know. I pray that won't be the case. Give me strength, Lord, to abide in You... all the time! AMEN.