Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other. Don’t be impressed with charisma; look for character. Who preachers are is the main thing, not what they say. A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook. These diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned. Knowing the correct password—saying ‘Master, Master,’ for instance—isn’t going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience—doing what my Father wills. I can see it now—at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, ‘Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.’ And do you know what I am going to say? ‘You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don’t impress me one bit. You’re out of here.’ ~Matthew 7:15-23 (the MSG)
During Advent we read what the prophets in the Old Testament and John the Baptist in the New Testament said about the coming of our Lord and Savior. As Jesus draws his teaching in the Sermon on the Mount to a close he warns us to follow leaders who are authentic and true. Spiritually healthy people are life-giving to be around and their ministries multiply. Moreover, we can trust men and women who live humbly by faith, proclaiming with joy:
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
~Isaiah 9:6 (ESV)
During the season of waiting may you and I announce with great joy the many ways our Lord has come into our lives.