There was a young Scottish pastor, Robert Murray McCheyne who died at 29. Before his passing he brought a great awakening to his church. This week I read a quote from this man of God, he said, “The greatest need of my people is my own holiness.”
We have a plethora of eloquent preachers, an over abundance of charismatic personalities, more than sufficient number of high profile leaders. What we are in want of are holy men of God. People need to see more than ministry skill from their leaders; they need to see a godly heart.
A pastor cannot take his congregation into the depths of Christ any further than he has gone first himself.
What’s the outcome of a church that has astonishing programs, brilliant leadership, edge of the seat presentations and state of the art building but has no vision at its core to be a holy people? What good can come from engaging speakers conducting entertaining events if that leader is not a man desiring to bow in brokenness and humbly recognize how estranged he and his congregation are from a holy and awesome God?
Our churches are often full of frivolity and we know it but it is not changed because leaders tolerate it rather than grieve over it. The situation in the church is simply a reflection of the reality that is within the pastor’s heart. The light pouring from a single broken vessel far outshines the productions of a thousand religious entertainers. Paul said you have many tutors but few fathers. Today he might have said you have many church experts but few holy men.
R.M. McCheyne’s word is more necessary today than when he first spoke this to a compromised, liberal, nominalist church in Scotland. But not just his words but his example, the power of his pulpit and the effect of his ministry empowered his words. His word contained power behind a life that contained purity.
Are you hungry to be a holy man or woman of God? There is only one way to see this happen. It is to lay down both human efforts to strive at your own righteousness and be fully cloaked with the garments of Christ and to simply receive the finished work of Jesus on the cross.
This holiness is far more than self-willed negating of sin; it is an absolute surrender to Christ who releases a great and glorious passion for holiness. I don’t want to spend my life trying to wrestle with my old man. I want to see Christ form in me the fullness of the new man he has created.