Monday, September 11, 2023
A church leader's good reputation outside the church family is essential. Pride and arrogance ultimately undermine a leader's influence inside and outside the church fellowship. So, as God's people look for leaders in our congregations, house churches, and groups, Paul reminded us that our leaders must positively impact those outside our family of faith and those inside it.
Since Jesus called us to reach people of nations and groups, God's leaders must share this view of missions and live in ways that facilitate reaching lost people for Jesus. If a leader lacks a good and godly reputation outside the church context, he can fall into the devil's trap of disgracing himself and the people of Christ. Here are a few passages of Scripture — one from Paul and one from Peter — that emphasize the importance of each follower of Christ remembering their influence on those outside the church, even those who may oppose them:
Live wisely among those who are not believers and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone. 
Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don't worry or be afraid of their threats. Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong! 
One of the most extraordinary testimonies an enemy of the cause of Christ can give was shown in the early church when the group that sentenced Jesus to death recognized that His disciples had been with Him and His influence rubbed off on them:
The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus. 
As followers of Jesus, we must call our leaders to the high standards of Jesus and be able to say with authenticity, along with the apostle Paul: "Don't give offense to Jews or Gentiles or the church of God. I, too, try to please everyone in everything I do. I don't just do what is best for me; I do what is best for others so that many may be saved. And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ." 
Father in heaven, I ask that you please bless us with godly leaders who have a heart for the lost and broken. I pledge to encourage and support their passion for outreach, evangelism, and disciple-making. I also pray, Father, that You use me and my example to draw others to Jesus, in whose name I pray. Amen.
Together in Christ is a daily devotional that focuses on what Scripture teaches about godly living in relationships.
'Together in Christ' is written by Phil Ware.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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