Articles from the Blog
But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. — Revelation 2:6Have you ever wondered who the “Nicolaitans” were, mentioned in the book of Revelation? Whoever they were, Jesus loathed their doctrine and hated their deeds. Let’s delve into this subject today to see if we can ascertain the identity of this group. What was their damnable doctrine? What deeds were they committing that elicited such a strong reaction from Jesus? Let’s begin in Revelation 2:6, where Jesus told the church of Ephesus, “But this thou hast [in your favor], that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.” Jesus was proud of the church of Ephesus for their “hatred” of the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which He also “hated.” The word “hate” is a strong word, so let’s see exactly what it means. It comes from the Greek word miseo, which means to hate, to abhor, or to find utterly repulsive. It describes a person who has a deep-seated animosity, who is antagonistic to something he finds to be completely objectionable. He not only loathes that object, but rejects it entirely. This is not just a case of dislike; it is a case of actual hatred. The thing Jesus hated about them was their “deeds.” The word “deeds” is the Greek word erga, which means works. However, this word is so all-encompassing that it pictures all the deeds and behavior of the Nicolaitans — including their actions, beliefs, conduct, and everything else connected to them. The name “Nicolaitans” is derived from the Greek word nikolaos, a compound of the words nikos and laos. The word nikos is the Greek word that means to conquer or to subdue. The word laos is the Greek word for the people. It is also where we get the word laity. When these two words are compounded into one, they form the name Nicolas, which literally means one who conquers and subdues the people. It seems to suggest that the Nicolaitans were somehow conquering and subduing the people. Ireneus and Hippolytus, two leaders in the Early Church who recorded many of the events that occurred in the earliest recorded days of Church history, said the Nicolaitans were the spiritual descendants of Nicolas of Antioch, who had been ordained as a deacon in Acts 6:5. That verse says, “And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch.” We know quite a lot of information about some of these men who were chosen to be the first deacons, whereas little is known of others. For instance, we know that the chief criteria for their selection was that they were men “…of honest report, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom…”(v. 3). Once they had been chosen, they were presented by the people to the apostles, who laid hands on them, installing and officially ordaining them into the deaconate. Stephen Like the other men, Stephen was of good report, filled with the Holy Spirit and wisdom. However, Acts 6:5 makes a remark about Stephen that is unique only to him. It says that he was “…a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost….” This stronger level of faith may have been a contributing factor to the development recorded in Acts 6:8: “And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.” Stephen was a God-called evangelist, and he was later privileged to be the first martyr in the history of the Church — killed at the order of Saul of Tarsus, who later became known as the apostle Paul (see Acts 7:58-8:1). The deaconate ministry was vital proving ground to prepare Stephen for the fivefold office of the evangelist. The name Stephen is from the Greek word stephanos, and it means crown. This is worth noting, for he was the first to receive a martyr’s crown. Philip Philip was ordained with the other six original deacons. However, Acts 21:8 informs us that Philip later stepped in the ministry of the evangelist. He had four daughters who prophesied (v. 9). Just as the deaconate was training and proving ground for Stephen to step into the office of the evangelist, it was also Philip’s school of ministry to prepare him for evangelistic ministry. The name Philip means lover of horses. This name often symbolized a person who ran with swiftness, as does a horse — a fitting name for a New Testament evangelist who ran swiftly to carry the Gospel message. Prochorus Very little is known about this member of the original deaconate. His name, Prochorus, is a compound of the Greek words pro and chorus. The word pro means before or in front of, as with the position of a leader. The word “chorus” is the old Greek word for the dance and is where we get the word choreography. There is a strong implication that this was a nickname, given to this man because he had been the foremost leader of dance in some school, theater, or musical performance. There is no substantiation for this idea, but his name seems to give credence to the possibility. Nicanor This unknown brother was found to be of good report, filled with the Holy Spirit and wisdom. Other than this, nothing is known of him. He is never mentioned again in the New Testament after Acts chapter 6. His name, Nicanor, means conqueror. Timon Like Nicanor mentioned above, Timon was known to be of good report, filled with the Holy Spirit and wisdom. Nothing more is known of him outside of Acts chapter 6. His name means honorable or of great value. Parmenas We know nothing more of Parmenas other than what is mentioned here in Acts chapter 6. His name is a compound of the words para and meno — the word para meaning alongside and meno meaning to remain or to abide. Compounded together, his name came to mean one who sticks alongside and conveyed the idea of one who is devoted, loyal, and faithful. Nicolas Acts 6:5 tells us that this Nicolas was “a proselyte of Antioch.” The fact that he was a proselyte tells us that he was not born a Jew but had converted from paganism to Judaism. Then he experienced a second conversion, this time turning from Judaism to Christianity. From this information, we know these facts about Nicolas of Antioch:
- He came from paganism and had deep pagan roots, very much unlike the other six deacons who came from a pure Hebrew line. Nicolas’ pagan background meant that he had previously been immersed in the activities of the occult.
- He was not afraid of taking an opposing position, evidenced by his ability to change religions twice. Converting to Judaism would have estranged him from his pagan family and friends. It would seem to indicate that he was not impressed or concerned about the opinions of other people.
- He was a free thinker and very open to embracing new ideas and concepts. Judaism was very different from the pagan and occult world in which he had been raised. For him to shift from paganism to Judaism reveals that he was very liberal in his thinking, for most pagans were offended by Judaism. He was obviously not afraid to entertain or embrace new ways of thinking.
- When he converted to Christ, it was at least the second time he had converted from one religion to another. We don’t know if, or how many times, he shifted from one form of paganism to another before he became a Jewish proselyte. His ability to easily change religious “hats” implies that he was not afraid to switch direction in midstream and go a totally different direction.
My Prayer for TodayLord, after what I’ve read today, I don’t want to allow any spirit of compromise in my life! I now understand that the doctrine of the Nicolaitans is compromise with the world. Lord, I don’t want to live with one foot in the church and another foot in the world. I want to break free completely from the world and its influence so I can give myself completely to Your cause! I want to be holy, to live in a way that pleases You, and to experience Your power in my life. Today I am renewing my commitment to You all over again! I turn from the world, and I am running to You!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for TodayI confess that I am free from the world! I do not walk in compromise! I am determined to live a committed and holy life before the Lord. As a result of my firm determination to walk with God, I have power over sin, power over Satan, and power when I pray. God’s Word promises that if I draw near to Him, He will draw near to me. I am drawing nearer and nearer to God every day, so I am confident that His Presence in my life is getting stronger too!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer1. Can you think of any area of your life where you have allowed yourself to be compromised by the world? If so, has that compromise hindered the power of God from operating in your life? 2. Do you know any other believers who thought they could live with one foot in the church and another foot in the world — but in the end, the world ensnared them and they backslid into a life of sin? 3. If you know someone who is on the verge of backsliding, what do you think the Lord would have you do to help bring that person back to where he or she ought to be?
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. — Ephesians 6:11What I am about to tell you is so simple — yet it is also life-changing and revolutionary. I want to help you understand how the devil tries to work in the realm of the mind and emotions. If you grab hold of these truths, they can set you free from the devil’s lies forever! In Ephesians 6:11, Paul explicitly tells us how the devil operates. He writes, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” I want you to especially pay attention to the phrase “the wiles of the devil.” The word “wiles” is taken from the word methodos. It is a compound of the words meta and odos. The word meta is a preposition that means with. The word odos is the word for a road. When the words meta and odos are compounded into one word, as in Ephesians 6:11, it literally means with a road. You’ve probably already figured out that the word methodos is where we get the word “method.” Some translations actually translate the word methodos as the word “method,” but the word “method” is not strong enough to convey the full meaning of the Greek word methodos. Let me make the meaning of this word real simple for you. As I said, the most literal meaning of the word “wiles” (methodos) is with a road. I realize this seems strange, but when you connect this to the devil as Paul does in Ephesians 6:11, it means that the devil is like a traveler who travels on a road. He is headed in one direction and has one destination. Let me give you an example of what I mean. If you’re going to take a trip, the logical thing for you to do is get a map and chart your journey to your destination. You don’t take just any road; rather, you strategize to find the best and fastest way to get where you’re going. Right? It would be pretty foolish for you to jump in the car and take off with no sense of direction. Taking any road could lead you in a multitude of wrong directions. It’s just better to use a map and stay on track. Correct? This is precisely the idea of the word methodos. The devil isn’t wasting any time. He knows where he wants to go. He has chosen his destination. Rather than mess around on a bunch of different routes, he has mastered the best way to get where he wants to go. He is not a mindless traveler. And when he arrives at his place of destination, he has one main goal he wants to accomplish: He wants to wreak havoc and bring destruction. Therefore, we must ask: “Where is the devil traveling, and what does he want to do once he gets there?” Paul answers the question about Satan’s destination in Second Corinthians 2:11 when he says, “…we are not ignorant of his [Satan’s] devices.” Pay careful attention to the word “devices” in this verse. It is the Greek word noemata, a form of the word nous. The Greek word nous describes the mind or the intellect. Thus, in one sense Paul is saying, “…we are not ignorant of the way Satan schemes and thinks.” But the word noemata also denotes Satan’s insidious plot to fill the human mind with confusion. There is no doubt that the mind is the arena where Satan feels most comfortable. He knows if he can access a person’s mind and emotions, he will very likely be able to ensnare that individual in a trap. One writer says that the word noemata not only depicts Satan’s scheming mind but also his crafty, subtle way of attacking and victimizing others’ minds. I personally like this because it identifies the primary destination of the devil — to get into a person’s mind and fill it with lying emotions, false perceptions, and confusion. It was for this reason that Paul urged us, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). The words “bringing into captivity” are from the Greek word aichmalotidzo, which pictured a soldier who has captured an enemy and now leads him into captivity with the point of a sharpened spear thrust into the flesh in his back. The captured enemy knows that if he tries to move or get away, the Roman soldier will shove that spear clear through his torso and kill him. Therefore, this captive doesn’t dare move but remains silent, submissive, and non-resistant. However, when Paul uses the word aichmalotidzo in this verse, he writes in a tense that describes the continuous action of taking such an enemy captive. This is not a one-time affair; it is the lifelong occupation of this soldier. He constantly has a spear in his hand, and he is always pushing it against the flesh of an enemy’s backside as he leads him away to permanent captivity. Because the devil loves to make a playground out of your mind and emotions, you must deal with him like a real enemy. Rather than fall victim to the devil’s attacks, you must make a mental decision to seize every thought he tries to use to penetrate your mind and emotions. Rather than let those thoughts take you captive, you have to reach up and grab them and force them into submission! You must take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ! But if you’re going to beat the devil at his game, you have to put all your energy into taking every thought captive. If you’re not really committed to seizing every thought the devil tries to inject into your mind and emotions, he’ll strike you again! So once you make the decision to do it, stick with it. It’s time for you to take charge of your thoughts and drive his lying insinuations right out of your brain!
My Prayer for TodayLord, I don’t want the devil to fill my mind with insinuations and lies. My mind belongs to You, and the devil has no right to flood me with false perceptions, vain imaginations, or lies about who I am or what I will never be. I refuse to let him operate in me any longer! You have provided me with the helmet of salvation, and by faith I put it on to protect my mind against the devil’s assaults. He can strike as hard as he wishes, but Your Spirit and Word protect me!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for TodayI confess that I bring every thought into the captivity of Christ! When the devil tries to invade my mind with lies, I capture those lies and drive them clear out of my brain! Rather than fall victim to the devil’s attacks, I seize every thought that he tries to use to penetrate my mind and emotions. I grab each lie and force it into submission! Because I stand firm on the Word, the enemy’s lies are not able to exert any power against me.
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer1. Can you think of one area in your mind where Satan repeatedly tries to attack you? What is that area, and how long has he been attacking you in this area of your thought life? Has it gone on for a day, a week, a month, a year, or for many years? 2. When you feel heavily assaulted in your mind and emotions and you need someone to pray with you, is there someone you know you can go to for prayer and support? If so, who is that person? If not, don’t you think it would encourage you to find a friend to whom you could talk and who could help you resist the lies of the devil? 3. What is the most successful tactic you’ve learned to shut the devil up when he’s trying to roar loudly inside your head?
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. — Philippians 3:13,14Every once in a while, my wife and I take time to seriously and thoughtfully review what we are accomplishing and what we are not accomplishing in our lives and our ministry. We do our best to be very honest with ourselves and each other about these questions. Taking this kind of look at ourselves and our work is not always pleasant. Sometimes we find areas of glaring failure or areas where we know the Lord expected more of us. But in order for us to see the truth about our lives the way God sees it, He requires us to lay down our pride and be honest with ourselves. In the end, we’re always glad we did the review because it helps us repent for the times we failed, rejoice over what God helped us to accomplish, and make sure we’re on the right course where we will be the most focused and effective. When other people say,“Wow, you accomplish so much!” we are always glad that they can see fruit in our lives. However, the most important question to us is not what other people think, but what the Lord thinks of us and our accomplishments. Maybe it’s true that we accomplished a lot compared to what others have done. But how we compare to other people and ministries is not the measuring stick we are to use to determine how we are doing. In Second Corinthians 10:12 (AMP), the apostle Paul wrote that when people “…measure themselves with themselves and compare themselves with one another, they…behave unwisely.” This means our measuring stick should never be how we measure up to other human beings. Compared to them, we may have done well, but the real issue is how we “measure up” to the goals the Lord gave us. When we stand before Jesus, He isn’t going to judge us by how we did in comparison to others. He will judge us for how we did with the assignments He gave us to do. Therefore, you should ask yourself on a regular basis:
- Am I accomplishing the goals the Lord has given me?
- Can I stand before Him with a heart free of condemnation, knowing that I gave my very best effort, work, and faith to achieve His will?
- What, if any, changes do I need to make in my life, schedule, commitment, and financial resources to do what the Lord has told me to do?
- He had preached all around the Mediterranean Sea.
- He had preached in the imperial palace.
- He had started churches all over Asia Minor.
- He had written most of the New Testament.
- He was one of the greatest apostles of his generation.
- Yesterday’s victories were for yesterday.
- Yesterday’s good reports were for yesterday.
- Yesterday’s accomplishments were for yesterday.
My Prayer for TodayLord, I am so very thankful to You for all the progress I’ve already seen in my life. But today I am turning my eyes to the future because I know You have so much for me to do. I don’t want to miss anything You have designed for me, so I am choosing to turn my attention to the vision and to run my race with all my might! Help me remove anything that would hinder my race so I can press forward toward the prize of the high calling of God for my life!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for TodayI boldly confess that I am focused, concentrated, and determined to run my race! God has called me and anointed me; therefore, I can do exactly what He has asked me to do. I have no excuse for failure or any reason to slow down or quit, for God’s Spirit in me is ready to empower me to run this race all the way to the finish. Doing it halfway will never do, so I am committed to seeing this all the way through!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer1. How long has it been since you assessed your situation to determine the progress you are making in your life, church, or business? How frequently do you take time to review your situation so you can gauge your progress? 2. Are you stuck in a rut, or are you still moving forward with the same speed and the same passion that once possessed you? Does the vision still burn in your heart? 3. What alterations do you need to make in your church, business, organization, or ministry in order to get back on track and to start moving forward again?
That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. — 2 Thessalonians 2:2In Second Thessalonians 2:2, the apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonian believers and warned them about events that would occur right before the coming of the Lord. He wanted to prepare them so these major world events wouldn’t take them off guard and throw them into a state of panic. Therefore, Paul told them, “That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand” (2 Thessalonians 2:2). Notice that Paul told the Thessalonian believers not to be “soon shaken.” The word “soon” is the Greek word tachus, which means quickly, suddenly, or hastily. The word “shaken” is the Greek word saleuo, which means to shake, to waver, to totter, or to be moved. The tense used in the Greek points to events so dramatic that they could result in shock or alarm. In fact, the Greek tense strongly suggests a devastating occurrence or a sequence of devastating occurrences so dramatic that they will throw the world into a state of shock or distress. By using the words “soon shaken,” Paul was urging his readers (and us!) to resist being easily shaken up by events that will occur just before the coming of Jesus. He was particularly careful to mention that we must not be “soon shaken in mind.” The Greek word for the “mind” is nous, which describes everything in the realm of the intellect, including one’s will, emotions, and ability to think, reason, and decide. Whoever or whatever controls a person’s mind ultimately has the power to dictate the affairs and outcome of that person’s life. Thus, if a person allows his mind to be doused with panic or fear, he is putting fear in charge of his life. Because Paul wanted his readers to remain in peace regardless of the tumultuous events that transpired around them, he urged them not to allow fear from these shocking and distressful events to penetrate their minds, will, and emotions. Then to make certain we comprehend the magnitude of these last-day events, Paul went on to say, “That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled.…” The word “troubled” is the Greek word throeo, which indicates an inward fright that results from the shocking occurrence described above. The shock resulting from these nerve-racking events could be so severe that it could cause a person to be devoured with worry, anxiety, or fear. Paul is confident these events will not be only a one-time occurrence; thus, he uses a Greek tense that points to an ongoing state of worry and inward anxiety resulting from these outward events that keep occurring again and again. It is as if he prophesies that there is no pause between these shocking, debilitating, and nerve-racking happenings. One scholar therefore translates the word “troubled” as being jumpy or nervous. These words are so jammed-packed with meaning that it is almost impossible to directly translate them. To help you see exactly what Paul was communicating to his readers, I have translated and paraphrased the original Greek words, pulling the full meaning out of each word and then transferring those meanings into the interpretive translation below.
All the words Paul used in Second Thessalonians 2:2 convey this idea:
“Some things will be happening right before His coming that could shake you up quite a bit. I’m referring to events that will be so dramatic that they could really leave your head spinning — occurrences of such a serious nature that many people will end up feeling alarmed, panicked, intimidated, and even unnerved! Naturally speaking, these events could nearly drive you over the brink emotionally, putting your nerves on edge and making you feel apprehensive and insecure about life. I wish I could tell you these incidents were going to be just a one-shot deal, but when they finally get rolling, they’re going to keep coming and coming, one after another. That’s why you have to determine not to be shaken or moved by anything you see or hear. You need to get a grip on your mind and refuse to allow yourselves to be traumatized by these events. If you let these things get to you, it won’t be too long until you’re a nervous wreck! So decide beforehand that you are not going to give in and allow ‘fright’ to worm its way into your mind and emotions until it runs your whole life.”Paul strongly urges us not to allow ourselves to be shaken or moved by anything we see or hear. He tells us that we must get a grip on our minds and refuse to allow ourselves to be traumatized by the events that occur in the world around us or to allow fear to control our whole lives. Instead of letting these things “get to us” and rob us of our joy, peace, and victory, we need to be deeply rooted in the confidence of God’s promises! If you take a look at the world around us today, it is clear that Paul’s prophecy about the last days is unfolding before our very eyes. Because of the many different situations that our generation is facing, we must take a stand against fear and determine to stay in faith! But in order for us to stay in faith, it is imperative that we keep our minds focused on the Word of God. Colossians 3:15 says, “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts.…” Verse 16 goes on to say, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly….” When the Word of God dwells richly in our lives, it produces peace — so much supernatural peace that it actually rules our hearts! The word “rule” that is used in this verse is the Greek word brabeuo, which describes an umpire who calls all the shots and makes all the decisions. You see, when God’s Word is dwelling richly in your heart, suddenly the peace of God makes all the big decisions, calls all the shots, and umpires your emotions. Rather than being led by the ups and downs of the day or by what you read in the newspaper, you will be ruled by the wonderful peace of God! But to receive this benefit of God’s Word, you must let it dwell in you richly. This word richly is the Greek word plousios, and it can be translated lavishly. This presents the picture of you giving the Word of God a wonderful reception as you roll out the red carpet so you can richly and lavishly welcome the Word into your heart. When you let God’s Word have this place of honor inside your heart, mind, and emotions, it releases its power to stabilize you and keep you in peace, even in the most difficult times. There is no doubt that we are living in the very end of the last days. We are a chosen generation — and we will observe events that no other generation has ever seen. If you are going to keep your heart fear-free so you can live in continual peace, you must make a firm commitment to let God’s Word rule in your heart! God’s Word will protect your mind and prohibit fear from worming its way into your emotions and turning you into an emotional mess. Is God’s Word the foundation of your life today?
My Prayer for TodayLord, I am so thankful that Your Word prepares us for every event that comes along in this life! I know I am living in the last days and that these challenging times require a higher level of commitment from me if I am going to live free from fear. This is such a critical moment for me to be strong, free, and secure. When I am strong, I can be a tower of strength to others who are drowning in the world around me. Help me be that source of strength and power to the people who surround me, Lord. I want to be all that I need to be in this hour.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for TodayI confess that God’s Word dominates my mind, my will, and my emotions! Because I have put God’s Word into my heart, I am not shaken or easily moved by the things that occur in the world around me. I know who I am; I am secure in my Father’s love; and I recognize that He destined me to live in these last days because He has a special plan for me. Regardless of what I see or hear, I take my stand on the promises of God’s Word, and it provides me with safety and security!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer1. In light of the world events that have occurred in recent years, how pertinent for you are Paul’s words in Second Thessalonians 2:2? Does it sound like Paul is writing about the nonstop traumatic events that have shaken the world over the past several years? 2. If it is true that we are living in the last days just before the coming of Jesus Christ, how should this affect the manner in which you are living your life? 3. Do you spend more time reading your Bible, reading the newspaper, or watching the news? Whatever you dwell on the most is what will dominate you, so isn’t it time that you make God’s Word the primary focus of your attention?
Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. — 1 Corinthians 4:1I want to devote today’s Sparkling Gem to the private lives of potential leaders. In particular, I want to talk about their marriages, their children, the physical condition of the houses where they live, and the manner in which they manage their personal finances. These four points are extremely important when you’re considering someone to be a leader. What happens in a person’s private life affects his job or his public ministry. Someone may argue, “But my private life and my home life don’t have anything to do with my ministry at the church, my ability to serve, or how I perform at work. You have no right to dig into my personal life.” This way of thinking is wrong. What happens in a person’s private life spills over into his public life. What goes on behind closed doors in a leader’s home will tell you exactly what kind of blessings or problems he will bring to his public ministry or job. This is precisely why the apostle Paul urged Timothy to take a deeper look at the personal life of a potential leader before inviting him to be a part of his leadership team (see 1 Timothy 3:4,5). You see, God designed the home as a honing instrument for many of the qualities required to be a leader in the Kingdom of God. Paul told Timothy that a leader must be “one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)” (1 Timothy 3:4,5). The Greek word for “ruleth” is the word proistimi, a compound of pro and istimi. The word pro means before or in front of, and the word istimi means to stand. When compounded together, the new word depicts someone who is standing up front before others in order to lead, guide, direct, or manage a situation. It conveys the meaning of a leader who is responsibly giving oversight and direction to a group of people or to a project. Paul uses the word “well” to describe the way this person rules. It is the Greek word kalos, which means good, well, or skilled. Thus, it pictures an individual who has shown that he is able to successfully give oversight to a group of people or to a specific project. Paul says it is required that a spiritual leader rule well his own “house.” The word “house” is the Greek word oikos, which is the word for a physical house. However, as it is used here, it includes the management of the house and everything that happens in that house. Thus, “ruling” one’s household would include how a leader manages his home life, his children, the upkeep of the physical house or apartment where he lives, and his personal finances. All of this would be part of his oikos — his house. Important information about how well potential leaders will serve at church or at work can be ascertained by delving into these four points. So let’s briefly review these four critical areas of concern.
Their Home Life:
Paul said a leader must be “one that ruleth well his own house….” As noted, the word “house” is the word oikos and includes everything about a person’s home life. One of the most strategic factors to consider when selecting new married leaders is the condition of their marriage. What kind of relationship do they have with their spouse? Is it a supportive, healthy marriage, or one that is full of problems? Does the relationship reveal good communication between the husband and wife? If that potential leader cannot successfully communicate with the most important person in his life, how do you know he will be able to properly communicate with others at church or at work? These questions may give you great insight into the pluses and minuses that come with new potential leaders.
Paul said a leader must be one who has his “…children in subjection with all gravity.” If potential candidates have children, perhaps nothing gives you clearer insight into what kind of leaders they will be than the example of their own children. Although you can’t make this a hard and fast rule, most often the children of potential leaders are a reflection of the kind of leadership those candidates are currently exercising in their own home.
Since people can impart only what they have in their private lives, it is good to observe what potential leaders have imparted within their own homes. What is the visible fruit of their influence and leadership in their children’s lives?
- Do the children speak respectfully to elders?
- Do they speak respectfully to each other?
- Do they understand authority and submission?
- Do the children do what they are told, or do they ignore their parents’ instructions?
The answers to these simple, basic questions are important indicators to let you know how potential candidates are leading their own homes. If they’re not leading their own homes with excellence, why would you imagine they could lead an entire division of the ministry with excellence? That’s why it’s important to never overlook a potential leader’s children. They will always be one of the clearest signals to alert you to the kind of leader this person will be.
Their House or Apartment:
Paul wrote that a leader must be one that “…ruleth well his own house….” As already stated above, the word “house” refers to everything connected to home life. Part of home life is the physical house where the family lives. Therefore, it’s valid to ask:
- What kind of home does this potential leader have? Is it well-kept and maintained?
- Is it needlessly neglected? Does it look like it’s falling apart?
- Is the yard mowed so this candidate has a good testimony with his or her neighborhood?
What exactly did Paul mean when he said leaders must rule well their own homes? One thing is for sure: If a potential leader can’t decently take care of his own domain, you don’t want to put him in charge of your domain. That’s why this is such a serious question to consider when selecting someone for a prominent place of leadership in your church, ministry, or organization.
In regard to finances, the phrase “ruleth well his own house” leads me to ask, “How does this potential leader handle his money and the payment of monthly bills?”
How a person handles money is very revealing. It tells a lot about his personal integrity, his character, and how he respects the rights of others. When a person doesn’t regularly pay his bills on time, he inconveniences and upsets other people’s financial plans. This failure to keep financial commitments often reflects a lack of respect for others’ needs and rights.
It also may simply be a sign that this person is immature in his understanding of money management and responsibility. Or he may not do well at saying no to his fleshly lust for material things. A person’s financial problems may also be an indicator that he’s experiencing problems in his marriage as well. Or perhaps his life is unstable due to irregular work conditions.
No matter which of these factors may be the cause for a candidate’s financial problems, they are all serious enough to require thoughtful consideration on your part. Does this person have the time, energy, or maturity to handle a position of greater responsibility in your church, ministry, or organization?Never forget that it is impossible to separate a person’s public life from his private life. What happens in one area spills over into the other. What is in a potential leader’s personal life is exactly what he will bring into his public life. If he has order and peace in his private life, it will give him a solid foundation for public ministry. But if he struggles with disorder, chaos, turmoil, confusion, upheaval, and anarchy in his private life, it will obviously affect his ability to carry on publicly as a leader. What happens at home really does affect one’s ability to work, serve, and follow God’s will for his life. If this is the case, what do these things reveal about those people who are being considered for leadership at church, business, or organization? Does their home life show that they are ready for larger areas of responsibility? And by the way — while you’re thinking about the home life of these leadership candidates, it would be good for you to turn these questions around and apply them to yourself. What does your home life reveal about YOU?
My Prayer for TodayLord, help me bring order into my own personal life! Since what is happening in my private life is exactly what I will bring into my public life, I want to bring more order into my own personal affairs. Help me take an honest look at my life so I can see those areas that desperately need my attention. Once I acknowledge the areas that need fixing, please give me the courage to delve into those areas and to get things right. I want every area of my life to glorify You, so if there is a secret part of my life that doesn’t bring honor to You, I’m looking to You to help me make the needed changes.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for TodayI confess that with God’s help, I am putting my house in order! The way I handle my family life, my children, my physical home, and my finances brings glory to Jesus Christ. I am serious about my walk with God, and I therefore invite Him to invade every sphere of my life and to bring it under His Lordship. Jesus is Lord of my marriage, my children, my home, and my money. It all belongs to Him; therefore, I want to be a wise steward for His sake — and I will!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!