“To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.” (1 Peter 5:1-4)
Are pastors, for the most part, expected to be control-freaks or is that an attitude that they inherit from former generation and often practice as a way to prove their lordship over the congregation? Pastors like the rest of the congregation are free to express their opinions. But what about when we turn those opinions into commandments written on stones.
“What should I wear?”
‘Who should I talk to?”
“What Bible version should I read?”
“What should I eat?”
“Where should I shop?”
“How should I pray?”
“Who should I marry?”
“Where should I send my kids to school?”
“How should I sing?”
“When should I worship?”
I once heard from a pastor, “I don’t allow my congregation to read this Bible version.” My response to him, at a later time, was, “What about those countries that have only one version of the Bible in their language. Are they lesser in any capacity because of such?”
If the freedom of Christ, the love of God, the joy of the Holy Spirit, the eternal life, is not the control being acknowledged for our lives in Christ, then fear is the leader.
“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16)
Walk by the Holy Spirit, not by the pastors. So, how does walking by the Holy Spirit look like?
“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” (Galatians 5:22-26)