Do not look at man

“Do not look at man, look to God” seem to be the recurring theme at the belated welcome lunch for the new addition to our staff. There were three pastors and two lay leaders and I had asked them to give a helpful piece of advice to Ethel Shin the youth worker.

They knew that in her calling she would have to deal very closely with people. People of all sorts including leaders and pastors. People with different personalities, backgrounds, expectations and values about how to do church or be church. Some of them may be  difficult to deal or work with. She would also know pastors and leaders who she thinks are good and godly, but as she gets near, and works with them, their imperfections will appear like cracks in the wall. She may get disappointed, disillusioned, hurt, discouraged or even worse cynical. Keep your eyes on the Lord, not on man.

Its good advice for everyone. The seeker searching for God. The searcher looking for a church community to call home. The faithful die-hard member and the active member serving in increasing capacities in different spheres and levels of involvement. The newly elected board member or addition to a leadership team. The new addition that joined  a cell group. Keep your eyes on the Lord, not on man.

Someone said, There is a snake in every garden. We think the church is a garden and there won’t be any snakes in them. They are safe to walk, play and relax and lie down on. We leave our handbag around and $50 is missing when we get home. “I thought I have a $50 note inside, where has it gone?” Why should we expect the church to be full of Mother Theresas? The church is full of all kinds of people at different junctures in their journey and development. Even the Mother could be difficult for some to handle. The fall of man has its residue in the church and as long as there are people in church its good advice to look to God and not to man.

If we have to look at man, and Paul does ask his readers to follow his example, look at the positives, the praiseworthy, the good, the noble, the godly characteristics that we could be inspired, encouraged and blessed by. Look for the Christ in them and praise God that if we look with His eyes of faith and hope, we can see many encouraging signs of God’s transforming grace and love in them. Do not look at man, look at God, is good advice. And when you look at man, pay attention to how Christ has graced him with goodness and mercy.

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  • Agree absolutely we have to look at God and not man as man always fail and we get discouraged. This helps us even when leaders fail sometimes. However am always mindful of the quote ” The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians, who accknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what the unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable. ” DC Talk ( not sure ). Like it or not, the pre believers do look at our lives and thats why there must be intentional discipleship backed by the grace, mercy and power of our Lord Jesus. Cheers

    • I agree with your statement. The world will look at the church and they will be compelled to believe when they see how Christians of all ages, ethnic groups, denominations, status demonstrate unity and love for one another.

  • Excellent answer, Blogpastor.

    Intentional discipleship?

    Hear, hear brothers and sisters in Christ: To all who had undergone divorce, ex-prisoners, ex-gay/ lesbians, single old maids and all who had failed one way or another please EXIT the church. You have no place here as the church is a place to showcase an array of perfect people, perfect lifestyle or at least those who are able to sweep all these under the carpet perfectly for the eyes of the pre believers.

    Hear, hear, people of the world or pre-believers: To those of you who are homosexuals, adulterers, ex-prisoners, divorcees etc. etc. do come to church to observe how you should lead your lives. You’ll be very attracted to how perfect we are and come week after week to until you are influenced by our obedience. Do come.

    I told you self-effort equals self-righteousness..sigh 🙂

  • Hasty and baseless generalizations plus wrong premises used in an argument ( even if the argument is logical, the conclusion is unsound) and analogies smacks of bigotry. No wonder pre believers many a times accused christians of being bigoted. Yes making disciples is the great commission. Yes christians can be stumbling blocks to fellow christians as well as prebelievers. While christians can look to God, prebelievers often ( like it or not, rightly or wrongly) look at the messenger as well who carries the Message. It has nothing to do with the obsession of equating self effort with self righteousness which is totally invalid anyway. Cheers.

    • “A reliable way of making people believe in falsehoods is frequent repetition, because familiarity is not easily distinguished from truth.”
      ― Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow

      The road to Hell is often paved by the well intentioned unwise.

      Jesus was meek and tolerant,wondering why are some “followers/adherents” homophobic and judgmental?

  • Yes, yes, and if I were a pre-believer, and a messenger like you who calls your own people ‘the greatest single cause of atheism’, ‘bigoted’ and ‘stumbling blocks’, came to me, I’d definitely choose to be an atheist!

  • Let me explain myself a bit here (before I’m called a stumbling block again :)).

    A few years back a minister brought a group of people to be baptised in my place. She had been persuading one of them to get baptised for quite some time. The pre-believer refused and then agreed later. However, on the day she was supposed to be baptised, she had a change of heart.

    We gathered around my dining room and the minister had a go again in persuading her. She said ‘no’ as she’s ‘not ready’ and had not been living the ‘right’ life.

    By the leading of the Lord, I preached to her a two-sentenced sermon. “All of us in this room today are sinners and that is why we all need Jesus. If we can obey God on our own, we do not need Jesus to save us”.

    She immediately said to me “please lend me your shorts” (to get into the pool).

    So, yes, although people do look at us (especially our hearts of love and unity) but that is not why they are moved to commit (otherwise a huge chunk of us will not get to be disciples).

    What made her AFRAID to commit was the fact that she thinks ‘we (Christians) have it altogether’ and she doesn’t (only God knows when she thinks she’ll reach that stage).

    Many pre-believers stay away for this reason.

    It’s the Grace of God that saved her. So, yes, let’s not look at man. We’re all the same, all bankrupts, all sinners.
    Let’s look to the Lord and urge others to do the same.

    Some Christians holds themselves very well (too well, in fact). All hidden with a facade of perfection. People in need usually stay away from this perfection. Conversations are kept at a superficial level. It’s very hard to relate to perfection. That is why the best counsellors are the ones that had gone through the same problems. They understand the heartbreak, the frustration, the hurts. People who has not gone through much usually roughshod over people’s feelings and experiences. In conclusion, the Lord will send whom He wills.

    Luke 5:31
    On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

    Luke 7:47
    Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven–for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”

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