“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
The saying is true and irrefutable: If any man [eagerly] seeks the office of bishop (superintendent, overseer), he desires an excellent task (work). 1 Timothy 3:1 AMP
He must rule his own household well, keeping his children under control, with true dignity, commanding their respect in every way and keeping them respectful. 5 For if a man does not know how to rule his own household, how is he to take care of the church of God? 1 Timothy 3:4-5 AMP
The same qualities that are required to be the head of the house, to earn the respect of your wife, and to raise godly children, are also the qualities needed to lead God’s people. If it doesn’t work at home – in your own house – don’t export it. Do not ever make ministry your first priority. Make your own relationship with God your first priority and your spouse and children second and third before ministry. Make sure you take responsibility for them. Too many people in ministry are minding other people’s business ahead of their own. Minister to your family – make sure that you love them, provide for them, protect them, direct and correct them. Then you may bring direction and correction to others outside of your family. What good is it if you save the whole world, and your own family goes to hell?
He must not be a new convert, or he may [develop a beclouded and stupid state of mind] as the result of pride [be blinded by conceit, and] fall into the condemnation that the devil [once] did. 1 Timothy 3:6 AMP
People who are newly born again should not be placed in a place of leadership. Even if someone is older in years or a leader in business or the community, that does not qualify them to lead God’s people. Those who want to be in leadership must be mature in the things of God. There are some young people, who have served God all their lives – like Timothy – who are more qualified to lead in the Body of Christ, than an older person who was only recently saved and sanctified. Grey hair does not automatically give you wisdom, but the fear of God, and obedience to Him and His word, is the beginning of wisdom. A spiritually immature person is too vulnerable to pride to be in leadership. A potential leader must learn humility – they must learn the lesson that God is in charge. They must learn not to be moved by persecution or by praise. It all goes to God. The Lord wants to protect you from pride, because pride is the devil’s way of deceiving you and leading you astray.
Furthermore, he must have a good reputation and be well thought of by those outside [the church], lest he become involved in slander and incur reproach and fall into the devil’s trap. 1 Timothy 3:7 AMP
Some people behave one way in church and another way in the world. They are little angels in church, but when they are not in church, they act just like the world, because they are carnal. You will never win sinners to Jesus by acting like them. Those who want to be in leadership must carry themselves in a godly way all the time, wherever they are. Being godly is not being “super-spiritual” or religious. It is just consistently walking in the love of God and being a blessing to others– not promoting one’s self, but putting the welfare of others first.
In like manner the deacons [must be] worthy of respect, not shifty and double-talkers but sincere in what they say, not given to much wine, not greedy for base gain [craving wealth and resorting to ignoble and dishonest methods of getting it]. 9 They must possess the mystic secret of the faith [Christian truth as hidden from ungodly men] with a clear conscience. 10 And let them also be tried and investigated and proved first; then, if they turn out to be above reproach, let them serve [as deacons]. 1 Timothy 3:8-10 AMP
Deacons must also adhere to the same standards with a clear conscience. No matter what your level of involvement, no matter what position of leadership you aspire to, the same standards apply. Those who want to be in leadership must not be two-faced or critical of others. Matthew 5:37a NKJV says, “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.'” and Ephesians 4:15 AMP says, “Rather, let our lives lovingly express truth [in all things, speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly]. Enfolded in love, let us grow up in every way and in all things into Him Who is the Head, [even] Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed one).”
[The] women likewise must be worthy of respect and serious, not gossipers, but temperate and self-controlled, [thoroughly] trustworthy in all things. 12 Let deacons be the husbands of but one wife, and let them manage [their] children and their own households well. 13 For those who perform well as deacons acquire a good standing for themselves and also gain much confidence and freedom and boldness in the faith which is [founded on and centers] in Christ Jesus. 1 Timothy 3:11-13 AMP
Women generally like to talk more than men do and sometimes are more open to temptation in the area of gossip and criticism. Both men and women who desire to be used by God need to put a guard on their lips. Psalms 34:12-13 AMP says, “What man is he who desires life and longs for many days, that he may see good? 13 Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.” and Psalms 141:3 AMP says, “Set a guard, O Lord, before my mouth; keep watch at the door of my lips.”
If you do all these things, then God will be able to use you. You will promote God’s Kingdom – not your own – and be a blessing to all the people whose lives you touch.