With everything that is currently happening in our society and with how confused and confusing our culture is on truth right now, what can we do to protect the faith of our people?
Something the Apostle Paul said in Acts 20 to a group of church leaders from the Jesus community in Ephesus might be helpful here.
Paul knew that after he left, “savage wolves” would get into the flock and do terrible damage. Paul was deeply concerned with protecting the church in Ephesus so he gave the church leaders a challenge:
- “Keep watch over the flock.”
He challenges them to watch out for the people, to guard them, and protect their faith. Shepherd the church. But, before he challenges them to keep watch over the flock, he says this:
2. “Keep watch over yourselves.”
It makes sense to me that there is intentionality behind the ordering of these two challenges. Keep watch over yourself first. Then, keep watch over the church.
I think this is important for us right now. Before you can watch out for someone else, you have to watch out for yourself. Before you can lead someone else, you have to lead yourself.
Perhaps the greatest spiritual protection you can offer the people under your care is your own thriving relationship with Jesus.
The reminder for us here is to remember to keep watch over our own spiritual health and growth. I wonder, where do you need to keep watch?
How’s your personal time with Jesus?
Is there an area of vulnerability or weakness that needs special attention right now?
How’s your thought life?
Something I’m keeping watch over right now is my sense of value and worth—my identity. Since I was a young teenager I’ve struggled with attaching my sense of value to what people think and say about me.
So, I’ve become very intentional about journaling and praying about my identity. A prayer I write almost every morning is this:
Father, remind me that I am not what I do and not what people think. Remind me that my identity is rooted in who you are, what you have done, and what you have said.
I’m keeping watch over my thoughts around identity.
Where do you need to keep watch?
I believe this is an important challenge for us as leaders in this season because so much is demanded of us, so many people are struggling emotionally and spiritually, and because many of us are feeling a bit insecure about our well-being of our churches.
Aaron Buer on February 17, 2022