For a bishop, as God’s steward, must be blameless; he must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or addicted to wine or violent or greedy for gain; but he must be hospitable, a lover of goodness, prudent, upright, devout, and self-controlled. He must have a firm grasp of the word that is trustworthy in accordance with the teaching, so that he may be able both to preach with sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict it.
We could perhaps too easily gloss over these verses when we see that they are about Bishops (literally overseers). We are more used to mutual accountability than hierarchy. However, mutual accountability requires us all to play the part of overseers, as well as to be overseen. Not only that, but we are also all called to be God’s stewards, so that the goals listed in these verses are set before each one of us.
I say goals, because we all fall short of them. The trouble is that because we know we’ll never be blameless, it’s too easy to read these verses without reflecting seriously on how to apply them afresh in our lives. Nevertheless, if we feel that there is a yawning gap between our reality and these goals, then there must surely be something that we can do to get closer to them.
This can be where mutual accountability really comes into its own. One of the best ways to keep our goals in sight is to be part of a small confidential group of people, who can work together on their discipleship, pray for one another, and hold each other accountable.
Our goals need to include a firmer grasp of the word, otherwise how can we can live our lives according to it or hold one another to account (which is tantamount to teaching one another)? Consequently, by using these Daily Devotions you have taken a step towards the goals that the writer has set before us. What will your next one be?
Living God, How can we be blameless? Sometimes following you seems impossible: too big an ask – too big a task. Help us to have the courage to aspire to perfection and daily to take the next small step in that direction: to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. For we ask it in his name Amen.
St. Andrew's United Reformed Church - The United Reformed Church in Monkseaton and Whitley Bay
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