Are you growing closer to the character of Jesus?
Therefore an overseer must be above reproach... 1 Timothy 3:2
The majority of what is written in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 isn’t just for those who are called to be elders. This is what God longs to see all his children being like!
Our purpose as human beings who have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. We glorify God by fearing (a healthy adoration) and obeying Him, keeping our eyes on the eternal (Matthew 16:19-21) rather than simply focusing on the temporary, and knowing Jesus intimately. We enjoy God by following His purpose for our lives, which enables us to experience true and lasting joy—the abundant life that He desires for us.1
So if God has given you a desire to know and enjoy Him, the list of qualifications for a church elder is for you! This list represents the character qualities of a mature believer. The more we grow in the areas listed in 1 Timothy 3, the closer we are to the character of Jesus, and the more our life glorifies God.
So how do we mature?
First, keep in mind--Grace enables effort. Effort does not enable grace.
Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, "By the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me" (1 Corinthians 15:10).
Maturity and growth in Christ happen as we "put on" Christ and "put off" sin. (see Ephesians 4:20-24).
Put on Christ:
- We get to know Christ (Philippians 3:10-11) through His Word, through prayer and practicing spiritual disciplines.
- We suffer and struggle (great article).
- We obey the simple commands of Scripture.
Put off sin:
- Learn to admit sin for what it really is. How powerfully this unmasks self-deceit — and helps us to unmask sin lurking in the hidden corners of our hearts!
- See sin for what your sin really is in God’s presence. See the true nature of your sin in the light of its punishment. Too easily do we think that sin is less serious in Christians than it is in non-believers.
- Recognize the inconsistency of your sin. The identity you had “in Adam” is gone. The old man was “crucified with him [Christ] in order that the body of sin [probably “life in the body dominated by sin”] might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin” (Rom. 6:6).
- Put sin to death. It is as “simple” as that. Refuse it, starve it, and reject it. You cannot “mortify” sin without the pain of the kill. There is no other way!2
2 The Practice of Mortification by Sinclair Ferguson