Motives

"Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will; the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice," - Philippians 1:15‭-‬18 First, let me start off with a bit of confession. When it comes to preachers, I am very critical (with respect to content more so than skill). I have a deep desire for truth, my personality prefers hearing and saying things bluntly, and I don't think our culture hears enough unbridled truth. Second, although pastoral critique is not my main subject, it does seem very clear that the apostle Paul was critical of preachers as well. Whether it's how he "opposes" Peter in Antioch, or excoriates the "false brethren" in Galatia, Paul doesn't play games with preaching. Specifically when the Gospel is being distorted. But what Paul says here in Philippians 1 has truly begun to change me. In Philippi the apostle Paul rightly judges the different motives inside different preachers who proclaim Jesus Christ. Some, he says, do so out of "selfish ambition" while others out of pure motives. But what Paul says next is what has really gripped my heart. He says that either way he rejoices that at least the name of Jesus is proclaimed. Wow!? This is not to say that the apostle Paul doesn't have a problem with those who preach Jesus out of ill motives, rather that the preaching of the name of Jesus is the more important issue. Although unspoken it is clear that Paul has a great deal of faith that God will be the ultimate arbiter. In todays world, where many preachers proclaim Jesus in such a way as to grow their fan base and/or gain "market share" in the "church as an organization" culture, I am learning to focus my attention (like Paul) on the fact that at least Jesus Christ is being proclaimed. I could spend my time mulling over why people do what they do, or what I would say to them if given the chance, but neither one would change a thing. All that thinking does is keep me in a place of frustration. Instead what I'd rather have is a mind like Paul, trusting that God will work all things together for good and that the motives of people will be judged by God some day. In conclusion, like Paul, I'm not only grateful that Jesus is being proclaimed, I actually rejoice in this fact no matter who's making the proclamation. 

#teachers #church

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