Have you ever had those situations where you were presented with an idea and did not think it was a good one at first? Perhaps a time share, a used vehicle or a phone plan? The kind of thing where the dealer keeps sweetening the pot until it just seems like the right thing to do. Slowly your opinion transitions and you join the band wagon. Usually you enjoy the ride for a time, perhaps a year – maybe even two but then the bigger picture begins to be revealed, the time share becomes a great frustration with all its fees and limitations. The phone plan ends up costing you more because the things not included have gone up so much or new, much better plans have come out. The used vehicle becomes a money pit which you can’t rely on. We have all had it happen but the cycle has begun, there is no good way out. The investment has been made, the pattern set, you would lose a lot changing plans, selling things off and the hassle of change is not worth it. You started with good intentions – you knew it was not a good idea to start with and you knew what the right thing to do was, slowly over time you broke down, conformed and allowed your view and ways to be distorted. The road back is not so easy.
When Pastors and leaders start their ministries they generally start with good intentions, knowing right from wrong. They start because of a mission God has given them and a love in their hearts to see the lost saved, people discipled, the Kingdom impacted. Unfortunately over time things creep in distorting our judgement, shading our view. Frustrations, hurts, opposition to good things, rewards for worldly ways that have found their way in. Too many hands in the pot, different opinions and pressures can change the way leaders do things. Being surrounded by nay sayers and pessimists, strong personalities and selfish people can eventually seep into your way of doing things.
8 That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. 9 “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” 10 I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion, whoever that may be, will have to pay the penalty.
Which lens are you currently looking through?
It becomes easy to lead with selfish ambitions in mind. Trying to appease everyone so we don’t get challenged or rebuked. Making the popular choices so we are looked upon with favor. Making decisions that put us in the lime light but undermine the leadership of others. Looking for numbers of growth so we can be measured by worldly standards and patted on the back rather than quality spiritual growth in our people.
I was challenged today by the words in James 3:13-18. Who am I as a leader? Are there areas where I have allowed selfish ambition to creep in? Do I envy other leaders, covet praise, seek to make others happy above God? Is my leadership about doing the best for me and those who see me or doing my best for God? Do I serve in love with humility? Are my motives pure, am I considerate, submissive, impartial and sincere? In some areas I can say yes to these things – in others I am challenged to look deeper. There is no blanket answer for this, if you look at each area you serve in individually you will see the answers to these questions can vary greatly. When the answers don’t measure up to the Heavenly standard of wisdom – I challenge you to look deeper. Band aid solutions of changing outward behavior won’t work here. Find out why, where you have let things in, what are the motivators and causes and deal with those issues in a personal, real and humble way. Then the Bible says you will raise a harvest of righteousness. Changing, humbling ones self and purifying your ways is not an easy road but it is a worthwhile one.
Two Kinds of Wisdom
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.