Our world seems to be descending more and more into moral chaos and confusion as moral relativism and secularism wreck havoc on people’s lives. Rather than the church of Jesus stepping up to provide the gospel cure and model a better way forward, the church and many of her leaders seem to have been ensnared as well. It is so disheartening to hear of more church leaders falling morally. Every leader knows that except for the grace of God, we too could easily succumb and that we must take heed lest we fall (1 Corinthians 10:12) The moral failings of church leaders give an occasion for the Lord’s enemies to blaspheme and charge the church with hypocrisy. Is there any hope for the church? How can we move forward?
There are many things to suggest, but I will start and end with something I reread this morning that seems to be a missing piece in many of our lives, especially for the leaders of God’s people. We would do well to slow down, mull over and rediscover the old concept of pursuing piety. John Calvin describes what piety is in the following way:
That reverence joined with love of God which the knowledge of his benefits induces. For until men recognize that they owe everything to God, that they are nourished by his fatherly care, that he is the Author of their every good, that they should seek nothing beyond him — they will never yield him willing service. Nay, unless they establish their complete happiness in him, they will never give themselves truly and sincerely to him.John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 1.2.2.
How can I begin to pursue piety?
- Ask the Lord to show you some of the specific benefits you have received from His Fatherly care, and thank him for them. Psalm 103:2 challenges us to “forget none of His benefits.”
- Recount the good gifts that God has given you (James 1:17). Name them specifically and thank the Lord for them.
- Contemplate if there is anything from which you are seeking happiness and delight more than the Lord. Repent of your idolatry and ask the Lord to so work in you that you make knowing Him the center of your life and the passionate pursuit of your heart (John 17:3,Philippians 3:8,Jeremiah 9:23-24).
- Ask the Lord to help you fully surrender all that you have and are to His Lordship and hold nothing back.
- Lastly, pray for the Lord to show you a specific way that you can serve Him this week as a way to show your gratitude for all that He has done in Jesus to rescue you.