by Devon Leesley
In my christian experience of many years, you have to look long and hard to find another believer you can really connect with in the Spirit. Even with those who have escaped Christendom, many of them still hold to pride and jealousy, even as in the church system they escaped. Thinking they have improved on their walk with Christ by leaving organized religion, they have taken on a new form of arrogance; that of seeing all things “church” as being hopelessly inundated by paganism… and rightly so, but their sin of pride is disgusting.
I’ve tried connecting with certain brothers on the matter of all the falsehoods only to be snubbed and rejected still. Sounds off topic but I don’t think so. It all goes back to the same old sin… the pride of life. Esteeming oneself above others. I believe in order to be part of the “remnant”, truth and true humility must go hand in hand. So easy to gain an insight and miss the ooze of self importance seeping in to your spirit.
What a battle! God has ways of keeping us small. That should be a constant prayer… if you want to belong to that remnant.
For years I followed the conventional church teaching that this was speaking about the individual, who’s body is the temple; and if you smoke, drink, or do drugs or tattoo and pierce yourself into a monster, you were defiling the temple….. and I still hold to this, but its much worse than that.
The Greek for defile is phtheiro. It means to lead astray, to corrupt the temple.
Now this speaks to the individual and to the corporate body of Christ. The Word warns us that doctrines of men and of demons, traditions of men that cancel out His truth, hirelings, false teachers, false prophets, false apostles, and wolves would be in abundant supply in the “church” (ekklesia); twisting the scriptures for their own gain, making merchandise of the folks, stealing the wool, eating the fat, devouring widows houses (which means making poor widows pay the ungodly tithe if they want to sit in the pew) – in a word…. phtheiro, defiling: leading astray with their deception and lies, corrupting the temple, the body of Christ.
by Devon Leesley
Elders are manifest by their character and their maturity in the things of God. They do not flaunt them nor do they wave a banner, “Look at ME!!” They are obscure servants that set an example. They support the poor; in fact, their heart bleeds for the needy. They are not given to avarice nor do they desire filthy lucre.
They are given to teaching and guiding not controlling and demanding. They seek not a pedestal or pulpit or podium. They do not take, they give, as all the body parts are taught to do, esteeming others greater than themselves. They do not wish for a personal following but they instruct others to follow Christ.
They deplore recognition and applause. They abhor presents and gifts. They shudder at the thought of any allegiance to them personally. They tremble at the prospect of favoritism being lavished on them by the “body”. Double honor is theirs for teaching well and their commitment to study but they would prefer to forgo that acknowledgement.
These are the marks of true servanthood and eldership. These are the fruits of the truly qualified leader. They look not for the lime-light but seek the Lamb-light as their reward. Nothing on this dismal earth appeals to them. Nothing can tempt them or buy them. Slander is their food and reproach is their mainstay. Rejection by religionists is their meat and their daily diet. To be accepted by the glitter and pomp and success of modern Christendom is anathema to their spirit.
Much of the confusion, much of the pain, much of the discouragement that abides with modern Christianity is, well, because of modern Christianity. Years of soul searching and self-condemnation is part and parcel to the whole atmosphere of today’s “church”.
A web of deceit, a pit of falsehoods, a myriad of misunderstandings about God’s true nature and His true plan for (and true nature of) His body has, with many, caused a life of despair and hopelessness inching toward the cliff of total rejection of the things of God. For others, they stay clear of the cliff but yet resolve themselves to merely “hang-on” regardless of the state of things no matter how excruciating things might be. Then there are those that follow blindly along the bottom of the ditch which they have long ago fallen into, believing “all is well in Zion”.
Point being this: God’s word, His designs, and His desires for the “body of Christ” are true, hopeful, magnanimous, all-perfecting, all-glorious, and all-set-in-stone. The problem is not with God or His wonderful plan. The problem is, and always has been, with man and this world system that man simply can’t break himself away from.