Scripture Read: 1 Timothy 3:1-7 It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do. 2 An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. 4 He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity 5 (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?), 6 and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil. 7 And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
Application: Whenever we read Scripture, no matter who it's speaking to in a specific context, we must be careful never to pass by quickly thinking it does not pertain to us. You have taught me many times Lord that the Scripture can always be taken by the Holy Spirit and applied in so many specific ways to my life. This is what we must do as we read this section of 1st Timothy, even though these qualifications are specific to eldership it is important that we look at each one of these discriptions and allow the Holy Spirit to bring the truth and personal application for that truth, of Scripture into our own lives. I'm sure that we will find many profitable lessons for own lives as we consider these qualities.
Paul states that an elder must be “Above Reproach”. What does this mean? In the original language this word means, “not to be laid hold of”. We know that, as we live in the flesh, it is impossible for an individual to live sinless. We must see the intent of the language meaning the person can have no obvious “vices” or “inconsistencies” that someone can bring against him. This term, above reproach, means ~ they have no public sin or lifestyle that would shame the name of the Lord or bring disgrace on the church, the leaders or the office of elder. It means that, even when the person does fall into sin they take responsibility ASAP, and the appropriate actions to correct the situation. Because of the characteristics of HONESTY, and VULNERABILITY, leaders are regular people, but they choose to act differently went they make mistakes or sin. . They don’t walk on water, for they cannot, however they commit to noy excusing or hiding their mistakes or sins when they are confronted about them. Instead, they do what their Lord would expect. Because this is in the scripture, we have the right to expect them to not live in open sin or have a life that is controlled by sin to the point that someone looking at their lives could bring an accusation against them of sinful living. Because they are like us, leaders may lose control of their temper at times, yet each time they do, they confess it and make things right if they hurt anyone, but a leader that habitually loses his temper, showing public outrage and is consistently not in control of his temper, unforgiving, refuses to resolve problems, that leader is not beyond reproach. If we are honest, this quality has many ramifications for our life. I personally, struggle with my weight. If I just gave up and ate whatever I wanted, did not exercise and let my body become an example of a person that does not care about his health, I would not be above reproach. So struggling with sin is not the issue, it is living contently with it. That is when we have let something lay a hold of us!
Meditation Questions: If you struggle with a particular sin, are you not above reproach? What is the difference between someone that preaches how we all should live, but fails to do so and a hypocrite? How would you describe what the sin life of a person that really wants to follow Christ should look like? Do you have certain sins that are very difficult to over come? What are you doing about those? Which sins do you think are more dangerous, visible or those no one sees? Why? List the dangers of both.