There are things every leader should be genuinely and honestly fearful of and seeking protection from. Here are four that I have been thinking about.
1. INDEPENDENCE FROM GOD AND OTHERS
Because of the strong desire to succeed and the fear of failing, leaders often work too much out of their own strength and work independent of both God and others. Simply put, the temptation is strong to go it alone and not be vulnerable and open with God or others. They come into leadership believing it’s all about them as the leader. Many leaders have a strong streak of self-reliance and self-confidence which is hurting them and those they attempt to lead.
2. FALLING INTO SEXUAL SIN
Many leaders succumb to sexual sin, whether they are single or married. I have honestly lost track of all the leaders I have known who are totally on the sidelines today because of:
- Cheating on their spouse
- Chronic and uncontrollable masturbation
- Addiction to pornography
- Becoming emotionally attached to someone with whom they’re not married
- Watching the wrong movies, reading the wrong books and listening to the wrong music that feeds the lust machine
It is sad and disappointing. Peter tells us (1 Peter 5:8) that the devil is after leaders and, in my experience, especially the younger leaders.
It’s noteworthy that the strongest man in the Bible (Sampson) , the wisest man in the Bible (Solomon) and the man after God’s own heart (David) all fell into sexual sin which seriously harmed their personal life, their family life and their leadership.
The book of Proverbs is loading with warnings and admonitions on this (see, especially, chapter five)
Paul writing to young Timothy says:
“So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”
~2 Timothy 2:22 ESV
I love this in the NLT:
“Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.”
In short, run from things (movies, TV, music, blogs, magazines) that you know are going to stimulate lust, and have close community with those who love Jesus and will love you
3. BURNING OUT AND CRASHING
Many leaders are full of ambition and worthy dreams and visions of what they want to see happen. In pursuing these admirable ideas, many times they travel too fast and try to do too much. Many very capable leaders have had emotional, physical and mental breakdowns at a young age simply from not pacing themselves and trying to take on too much. Remember, leadership is a marathon–not a sprint. A good friend I worked with a number of years ago had a full-on heart attack at 39…Wow!
4. BECOMING A DOMINEERING LEADER
At times, with success, also comes the thinking that you are better, smarter, wiser and more gifted than anyone else in your circle of co-workers. These leaders can become full of themselves and begin to lead with a iron hand which can morph into meanness, bullying and being verbally abusive. Anger becomes a very real issue and a mark of their leadership style. Once again, Scripture is clear on speaking against becoming a “domineering leader.” (I Peter 5:2)
Here are a few things to be on the lookout for (borrowed from Pastor Sam Storms):
- You domineer when you threaten with stern warnings
- You domineer when you use the sheer force of your personality to overwhelm and coerce others into submission
- You domineer when you use slick verbiage or eloquence to humiliate others
- You domineer when you exploit the natural tendency we all have to elevate our spiritual leaders above the average Christian
So, for all of His leaders, we should be running scared…scared and fearful of:
- An unhealthy independence from God and others
- Sexual sin that can destroy our lives and our leadership
- Burning out and crashing, thereby becoming unusable for God
- Becoming a domineering leader who dishonors the Lord and those whom we are privileged to lead