Sunday, June 16, 2019

Rule of Life: A Code to Live by as a Minister of the Gospel

It's interesting that we spend so much time attempting to live in a biblical manner, but how few of us have identified our game plan for living rightly? Here is the biblical code of ethics that I’ve outlined as my rule of life. I've borrowed ideas and thoughts from other codes of conduct for ministers and pastors in various denominations, but this one will apply directly to me.  What is your code of conduct for life?  Take some time and consider for yourself, how you ought to live your life.  

Personal and Family Life
I will place my devotion to God almighty as the number one priority of my life, above anything other concern (Luke 10:27).
I will diligently practice daily prayer, devotional reading, reading and studying of the word of God, and weekly deeper spiritual disciplines.
I will tithe a minimum of 10% of the gross of my income, with the goal of giving more and more, up to 25% in the future (Mark 12:41-44). Along with that, I will regularly give offerings as I feel led.
I will seek to live in a healthy manner, eating properly, not eating too much, while also engaging in regular exercise and weight-lifting, to remain physically healthy.
I will love my wife as second only to God. I will seek to live in mutual submission with her, submitting to each other, and not treating her harshly, but being fair and honorable in my conduct with her (Ephesians 5:25, 1 Corinthians 13).
I will love my children third, seeking to love them and discipline them in the ways of God. I will seek to treat them gently, but firmly, and respectfully and fearfully raise them up as Christians.

Congregational Relationships
I will endeavor with all my efforts to be a godly, humble servant leader of the church where I serve (James 4:6). 
I will faithfully preach the Bible as the complete revelation of God, not selectively preaching on only comfortable scriptures, or on only difficult scriptures, attempting to diligently preach and teach the entirety of the scriptures and the whole revelation of God in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I will faithfully teach biblical Christian principles, never compromising the truth of the scripture for the sake of cultural trends, or what is in vogue in society.
I will strive with all my efforts to add to the body of Christ with evangelistic zeal and passion to win souls for Christ (Matthew 28:16-20).
I will serve with impartiality, showing no favoritism, but treating everyone equally. I will not practice nepotism by favoring friends or relatives in ministry positions (James 2).
I will reject bribes of any kind, including gratuities, because my needs are provided from (Proverb 15:27).
I will never steal from the corps where I serve, and I will only access the food we provide once all others have had access to choose from it as they will.
I will honor my congregational members and treat them respectfully, even if they do not return my loving respect.
I will never violate a confidence, that which is shared with me in private, unless imminent suicide is mentioned, or if violence is imminent against another person (Proverb 11:13).
I will not engage in gossip in regard to the church body or the daily work place (Proverb 16:28).

Collegial Relationships
I will respect the sacred unity of other congregations and not attempt to ‘steal’ members from other churches already established. (In the case of cults or non-Christian religions, this rule does not apply)
I will not engage in any forms of competition with other pastors in the area, for the sake of glory or of appearing important (Luke 22:26).
I will not practice manipulation or political career climbing in The Salvation Army hierarchy.
I will refrain from speaking poorly of the officers who served before me, or came after me.
I will refrain from speaking poorly of the larger organization, unless these discussions exist in a spirit of reform and blessing to the larger organization.
I will not meddle in the affairs of appointments where I previously served.
I will be thoughtful and encouraging and respectful to retired officers in the local corps.
I will not gossip about other ministers.
I will consider all ministers, pastors, officers, and priests as brothers and sisters who serve alongside me in the harvest of God’s commission in the world.

Community Relationships
I will serve those in the community without discrimination, serving anyone who comes to the corps regardless of race, color, creed, or sexual identification.
I will carry the gospel faithfully in word and deed to any and all who are in the community, seeking to win as many as I possibly can to the cross of Christ before time runs out on the Earth (Ephesians 5:16-18).
I will not compromise my ethics and standards to appear to be a relatable person.
I will be a person to the community, not just a minister.  I will be a participant in the community during my off time, and a minister to the community while at work.
I will seek to meet needs in the community as led by God’s Spirit, realizing also my own limitations and the limitations of The Salvation Army in which I serve (Matthew 25:31-46).

Moral and Ethical Issues
I will uphold God's design for marriage, as between man and woman exclusively, despite cultural and social pressures to redefine marriage to include other relationships.
I will uphold the sanctity of human life.
I will uphold God's design for gender, as being male and female as recorded in the book of Genesis and affirmed by Jesus in the gospel of Matthew.
I will speak up against corruption in society and expose evil where I find it. 

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