"A tree is known by..."
"What's deep in the well comes up in the bucket."
"Challenges expose not build character."
As more and more and more saints are unleashed to exercise their charismata on the corner of Lincoln and Main in Belvidere, Illinois, an increasing part of my Beruf is availability to encourage pastors and churches to esteem Lord and Savior Jesus as the foundation, focus, and filter for life and ministry.
For the glory, laud, and honor of God alone, we've moved from being a museum and mausoleum to mission fueling station.
Acts 29 concomitant to Numbers 15:30-31, Matthew 10, 18, John 10, and Romans 16.
And as I've tried/prayed to encourage others for life and ministry, I've learned how character is tested/revealed.
Character is betrayed glaringly when pastors and churches are challenged by the meanness, madness, and misery in the modern world and, gulp, church.
That's when true colors of allegiance and affection are really, really, really seen.
Anyone can be happy when things are going well.
It's when things aren't going well that we learn most about a person's true colors.
It's easy to love when loved.
It's easy to get along when everyone's going along with you.
Or as Jesus said, "If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?...If you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you?...Love your enemies, do good to them...Then your reward will be great and you will be known as children of the Most High."
I think of the pastor who I couldn't encourage to reconcile with her/his/His church because it wasn't a leap for her/him to go from loving to loathing her/his/His officers, staff, and members.
When the pastor's call was challenged, she/he became profane and polemical toward/with the people who she'd/he'd professed formerly to love sooooooo much.
Candidly, that pastor's true colors of loathing more than loving were exposed by challenges.
While I pray daily to be spared the challenges of life and ministry - "Lord, lead me not into temptations!" - because I know I have a history of falling and failing as testimony to never outgrowing my need for Jesus as Savior as well as Lord, I'm learning to embrace 'em as better barometers of fidelity than days when everything is going well and everybody's being nice not naughty.
That's why I'll often ask saints around me to report what they see in/through/from me when they know I'm challenged by whatever whenever by whomever.
In short, who we/they really are is best seen when challenged.
Blessings and Love!
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