Flawed but Functional

Sin had ensnared another victim.

I listened as the newscaster gave a piecemeal report. The leaders of a noted mega church met behind closed doors. The pastor had planted the church sixteen years before on a college campus. From a small start, the church had grown into a mega-church with several satellite campuses. Thousands flocked to its campuses each week.

The following morning, I listened to the newscaster again. This time the news was grimmer. The pastor had been accused of alcohol abuse and asked to step down.

Had church leaders polled congregants for advice on how to handle the situation, the members would have given a wide variety of opinions. Some would have wanted him to stay, some would have favored him leaving, and some would have given intermediary actions between the two extremes. What will happen to his ministry was up for grabs. Opinions of those in leadership positions would determine whether he ministers again.

Although God proclaimed His Old Testament people holy, they were often anything but. “For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession” (Deuteronomy 7:6 NIV).

God’s people dabbled in the pagan worship rites of their neighbors while trying to worship God simultaneously. Their repeated pattern involved faithfulness followed by rebellion. God designated them as holy—and expected them to be—but they rarely lived up to the label. Flaws decorated their lifestyles—just as it did the pastor of this mega church.

Flaws are inevitable, even for leaders. I was born with a flawed nature. Christ gave me a new one at salvation, but He didn’t perfect me immediately. I’ll have to wait for heaven for that. In the meantime, I’m flawed like the Israelites and the pastor—and all people. I journey toward experiential holiness, but flaws keep me from reaching it in this life.

But the news isn’t all bad. Although I’m flawed, I’m still functional. Even though this pastor struggled with an addiction and had to leave his post, God can give him power over his addiction and use him again. God used the Israelites in spite of their rebellion. King David committed adultery, murdered, schemed, and lied, but God still found room in His service for him. And He has continued to use me even though I’ve made many missteps into areas I should have avoided.

You may be flawed, but you are still functional in God’s service.

Martin Wiles

Martin lives in Greenwood, SC, and is the Managing Editor for Christian Devotions (www.christiandevotions.us), the Senior Editor for Inspire-a-Fire, and a Proof Editor for Courier Publishing. He is an author, English teacher, minister, and freelance editor. He is the founder of Love Lines from God and the author of six books, including his most recent, A Whisper in the Woods: Quiet Escapes for a Noisy World. He has also been published in numerous publications. He and his wife are parents of two and grandparents of three. He can be contacted at martinwileseditor@gmail.com.

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