Keep Your Eyes On Jesus Christ And Not On Man! Do Not Put The Pastor Up On A Pedestal!
Posted by Job on March 2, 2008
John 13:15, Hebrews 12:2, 1 Peter 2:21
Keeping your eyes on Jesus and not a man (or woman). Today is a very
difficult Devotional for me to write since part of me is outraged by the
private conduct of some of those who have accepted the responsibility of
spiritual leadership, and the other part has great compassion and empathy
with these people who have to be going through so much turmoil and heartache
on a human level. The fiery evangelist in me wants to lambaste them for the
damage they are doing to the cause of Christ and to the lives of many who
follow them, yet the minister in me wants to love them, comfort them, and
help them heal. So after much prayer over this message, today I am going to
Throughout the history of the church, God has soverignly raised up men and
women for a season to guide and lead His people just like He did throughout
the Old and New Testaments. These were men and women who faithfully served
the Lord, that He allowed to rise to a place of prominence for a season to
bring His Truth and hope to the people of their day. No doubt through the
years some have “manufactured” their rise through the use of man-made
schemes, devices, and resources.
Simon the magician in the Book of Acts comes to mind as someone who sought
to buy the power of God on the open market. You have always had the false
prophets who duped people and led them astray, but they are always exposed
by the Truth of God’s Word. The fact is you can’t buy a sovereign move of
God, you can’t manufacture a sovereign move of God, you can’t duplicate a
sovereign move of God, and you can’t fake a sovereign move of God. When God
soveignly raises a man or woman up, there is an unmistakable power,
presence, and anointing that is obvious, even to someone who rejects God and
The problem we have in the year 2008 is that with the incredible amount of
media that exists, with a church that is for the most part Biblically
illiterate and operates with little spiritual discernment, and a hero
worship mindset most people have, it creates an environment ripe for men and
women to rise up and take positions of spiritual leadership through human
efforts instead of being Divinely appointed.
I know some well known TV preachers who will NEVER preach on sin or
sacrifice. I know some well known TV preachers who have preached the same
message for 20 years. I know some well known TV preachers who end EVERY
message with a reason your are supposed to send them money. They are so
clever they can preach on the verse, “Jesus wept,” and make you believe
Jesus was weeping because you didn’t help them buy a new Gulfstream!!!
Also, in the past 20 years you have had the rise of the non-denominational
church on the Christian landscape. Trust me, with most of the old mainline
denominations either turning away from the Truth of God’s Word and embracing
sins like homosexuality and abortion or simply being “dead,” there was a
need for a new breed of church and pastor who weren’t interested in
The problem that became evident very quickly is that these churches had
little or no accountability They were run like dictatorships or fiefdoms
with the pastor being a ruling monarch. Over and over scandals involving sex
and money have been seen in many of these non-denominational churches, and
the biggest contributing factor has been little to no accountability!
So is it any wonder why in the past few months, two of the biggest
superstars of Christian TV who generate tens of millions of dollars a year
are both in divorce court? One is from the Tampa area and has been in the
news for years due to the lavish lifestyle she and her husband led, and now
again once their divorce was publicly announced.
The other who lives outside of Atlanta had the unmitigated gall to broadcast
her wedding on TBN just 3 years ago, a wedding that reportedly cost well
over $1 million dollars. She begs people to send her money, and then spends
that money, not on saving souls but on some fairy tale wedding! She was in
the news recently after getting into a literal physical fight with her
estranged husband in the parking lot of a hotel in Atlanta.
These are two women who millions of people are being fed by every day!
Sadly, neither has announced they would be stepping down, taking time off,
or going through a time of healing or restoration. Neither one has slowed
down or missed a beat. If you saw them in person or on TV recently, you
would never know their personal lives were in shambles. They are both still
preaching, primarily to women, on how to have blessed and successful lives
Again, they have ZERO accountability and answer to nobody. Most disturbing
is the fact that despite their very public divorces, the Christian TV
networks and stations they air on, aren’t taking their programs off the air.
After all, these two women are both huge cash cows for these networks and
stations, not to mention they are also big money raisers during their many
telethons throughout the year. I hate to admit it but the non-believing
world is right about this one, it is simply a big business!
The minister in me hurts for both of these women because I deal with women
and men daily who are going through the pain of divorce and know the
incredible hurt and pain it brings to a person’s life. I’ve been friends
with the woman from Tampa and her husband for 13 years. The woman from
Georgia grew up on the south side of Chicago and comes from a family of
preachers. I knew her brother early in my ministry 16 years ago.
So I have a great deal of empathy for both of these women and their husbands
on a personal level. I can only pray that God will put the right people in
their lives to minister to them and help guide them thru this time of
personal tragedy. Both of these women and their husbands need to step down
for a season, take some time off and get their spiritual and personal lives
in order. You can’t lead others when your life is a mess!
My word for you today is simply this, KEEP YOUR EYES ON JESUS. One of the
major complaints of nonbelievers is that Christians are hypocrites. Those
who don’t even know the great stories of the Bible, can tell you in great
detail the stories of Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, and the preacher down the
street who ran off with his secretary. It is one of the most common
objections of an unbeliever, that he would be a Christian, but those who
claim to be Christians don’t act like Christians.
I am sure there were many in the first days of the church who said, “I would
be a Christian, but look at what Peter did. This man who claimed to be a
follower of Jesus denied him. Not once, but THREE times!!” It is a valid
point. The fact is, however, a Christian is nothing more than a sinner who
is saved by grace. Even though we are saved, we are still frail,
prone-to-sin creatures living in a sin-filled environment. That in no way
excuses our sin, but it is the reality we live in.
The quickest way to fall away from your faith is to put too much emphasis on
a man or woman of God. God uses human instruments to plant the seeds of
salvation. He uses human instruments to disciple us in our new-found faith.
He uses human instruments to impact our spiritual lives. In a society that
is prone to idolize others, such as entertainers, athletes, and successful
people, we take that into our Christian lives as well.
We place our spiritual leaders on pedestals. We normally only see them when
they are “on”, when they are doing what God has called them to do. Because
of that, we almost tend to forget they are humans, men and women who walk in
the same frail clay bodies as we do, prone to the same weaknesses we are.
Since we rarely see these spiritual leaders other than the times they are
doing the Lord’s work, we lose sight that it is only a part of their life.
They have lives outside of their work for the Lord. THEY ARE ONLY AS CLOSE
TO GOD AS THEIR DAILY WALK WITH THE LORD.
Because they are in the spotlight, when they fail, when they sin, it is
often made known to the public. Our first reaction is “how can that be
possible?” Nobody is immune to sin. No matter who you are, your life flows
from your personal relationship with Christ. A minister, a priest, a
spiritual leader is only as close to God as his or her daily walk. Like
anyone, if they neglect their daily time with the Lord, they get farther
away from God. It is only possible to minister to others from your own
personal walk with Christ. As you neglect that daily time with the Lord, you
start to be disconnected. You may have some spiritual gasoline left in your
tank, but eventually you will use that up.
Those spiritual leaders who fail, fail because they have neglected their
time with God. Someone who is in the Lord’s work has to guard more than
anyone else against neglecting their daily time with Christ. There is a very
real enemy who is out to kill, steal, and destroy. The enemy is very wise in
the art of warfare. Why waste time working on taking out people one by one,
when if you can take out a leader you can wipe out many people at once. The
enemy knows that to take down a Jim Bakker or the pastor of a local church,
he can take out many people at one time.
I love you and care about you so much. The key point I want you to
understand today is that you must keep focused on THE man, and not A man.
Christ was the only one who did it perfect. My personal philosophy is to
take the spiritual wisdom from other men and women of God, but never idolize
them, never expect them to be more than the man or woman of flesh and blood
they are, but realize that God has touched them in a special way and given
them something that can benefit our spiritual lives. I have always called it
my spiritual filter.
Being in full-time ministry for the last 18 years, having been in over 500
churches of every type of denomination, having spoken at hundreds of
conventions, being involved for many years in the TV world, I have had a
unique opportunity to see an incredible number of God’s choicest servants of
our day. The list is a who’s who of spiritual giants. However, no matter who
the person is, I always do two things. I always line up what they said with
the Word of God. That is number one. I don’t care who it is. If it is not in
line with the Word of God, it is not something I want.
Second, I always look at the man or woman of God as an instrument God is
using. I never expect them to be supernatural or anything other than a
vessel God is using to bring spiritual truths into my life. The only person
I ever idolized, or tried to pattern my life after, was the life of Christ.
I have always taken what I can from men and women of God and tried to use
that to help me in my quest to be more like Christ each and every day.
Today’s word is an important reminder to never get so focused on a man or
woman of flesh and blood, that you let it get in the way of your own
personal walk with Christ. God has placed men and women of God in our lives
to help teach us and show us the truths of His Word. However, no matter how
close to the Lord they may be, the only one we should ever try to pattern
our lives after is Jesus Christ, because He is the only one who lived this
life without sin. He is our example and the one each one of us should strive
to be like.
Take time today to pray for those God has placed in spiritual leadership
over you, your pastor or priest. Pray for those that God brings into your
life to share the truths of His Word and to help you grow spiritually. But
never lose sight that they are mere mortals, men and women of flesh and
blood like you. Never let your eyes focus so much on A man that you lose
sight of THE man. After all, no man could die for your sins. It was THE man
who loved you so much that He willingly bled and died so that you might have
everlasting life. Keep your eyes focused on HIM.
In His love and service,
Your friend and brother in Christ,
Bill Keller firstname.lastname@example.org
(C) Copyright 2008, Bill Keller Ministries. All rights reserved.