In the last few months, I have been reading about the first Ecumenical Councils of the church in the 4th and 5th Centuries. It was at these councils that the nature of Jesus was clearly defined for all of Christendom. Many of the misunderstandings about Jesus that survive today were addressed by these councils.
But Jesus is the wild card that makes everything possible. The point (or at least one point) of this story is that no-one is beyond hope. No-one should be written off as no longer able to be changed. No-one.
The question I have to ask myself is this, “if John the Baptist, arguably the greatest prophet sent before Christ, experienced doubt and confusion, why would I assume that I should be exempt?”
If we fail to properly value the individual people in our charge we are failing in our mission thus demonstrating a gap between how God views those people and how we do.
I am learning that success in any endeavor cannot be the gauge by which I assess myself. My value does not come from what I do or how successfully I do it. My value comes from the one who gave his life so that I might be in relationship with him.
I found these affirmations by Frank Viola to be quite helpful to me and thought I would bring them to the attention of my readers.
R. C. Sproul, in his book Can I have Joy in my Life?, rightly points out that the great enemy of joy is anxiety. In support of this statement, he points out that two verses after the command to be joyful, Paul writes about anxiety:
The Apostle Paul was confident that he was in Prison for a purpose and in prison he practiced what he preached. He rejoiced in the difficult circumstances and demonstrates that I have no excuse for not doing the same.
The bottom line is that we all (leaders and followers) need to look first to Jesus and be guided by him. If we are guided into a particular church by Jesus, we can then serve Jesus in that church no matter what may happen with the leadership.
While it would be foolhardy to expect to cure mental illness or drug addiction purely through petitioning the Lord, it can be an important part of the overall treatment plan.