LIFESTYLE LEADERSHIP

LIFESTYLE LEADERSHIP
Dangers of Leadership
By Daniel Sharp

SURVIVAL

We all face dangers of one kind or another. Some face the freeways of the commute to daily work while others face the most dangerous place, according to statistics, there is – the HOME! As we
grow up, we learn that to put a wet finger into a wall socket is more than just another way to get a charge out of life. We do learn to avoid certain dangers because they are obvious. The dangers that
befall a leader are far less obvious, and thus far more deadly – causing the death of the leader’s leadership!

CO-WORKER SELECTION

I have seen several leaders select co-workers that were not believers – on the premise that their participation would be a factor in bringing them into the Kingdom of God. Matthew 6:24 addresses this very matter in explicit and clear words. It is obvious that we would not select an “enemy” of the cross, yet Philippians 3:17 to 19 tells us that they are enemies when they are clearly concerned with the things of this world rather than the things of God. When a leader selects co-workers to share the ministry, the leader must select based on the LIFESTYLE as DEMONSTRATED by those who will assist the leader.  We must also make CERTAIN that we have a LIFESTYLE that does not, in any size, shape or form, demonstrate the above mentioned characteristics. Giving of ourselves to others is to be the basis of our LIFESTYLE. A basis which is IMPOSSIBLE without the power of God and the indwelling Holy Spirit being given full reign in our lives.

JEALOUSY – COVETOUSNESS

Look at I Thessalonians 2:5. Paul makes a special point that he and his co-workers were not guilty of coveting anything, and cited God as his witness. In his letter to the Colossians (3:1-5) he states in the absolutes of our Risen Lord that covetousness (and other worldly traits) is not permitted. “If ye then be risen with Christ…”

Many people don’t like to see this verse – it clearly connects covetousness with idolatry! When a leader becomes caught up in covetousness, leadership ceases! One cannot become covetousness
without taking his eyes off Jesus and putting them on the world. The leader must FOCUS his life on this world, and Jesus has told each of us “My Kingdom is not of this world…” The goal of the leader, the very LIFESTYLE becomes temporal and loses the eternal. The actions and ministries of the leader become unprofitable – both for the leader and for the Kingdom!

Our admonition is found in I JOHN 2:15-17. Peter tells us in ACTS 3:6 that “Silver and gold have I none…” but ACTS also records that Barnabas sold his land and laid the proceeds at the feet of the
Apostles. The admonition is exclusively to make certain that we do not increase our worldly position. One major factor of the lives of the Apostles is that not one of them died with any worldly estate or treasures. They had a LIFESTYLE that proved they lived what they preached and believed – to set their treasures up in heaven. I believe that the major reason that we cannot allow the world into our values by coveting the things of this world is that when we do that, we set God at position #2. When we do not place God FIRST, God always ends up with NO PLACE AT ALL!

Idolatry is loving ANYTHING more than we love God. Exodus 20:3 is the Commandment of God that we shall have NO OTHER GOD before Him. The gods of America have Fiberglas or metal bodies, glass, wool, silk or electronic variations. It arrives in a leader by searching out the hidden section of heart, and then waits for the “”Nothing’s wrong with this little…” We purchase a small game to “entertain” the children, and then we look back and see the average amount of money spent on one of these machines in a three year period EXCEEDS $2,100.00!

Paul gives us an idea of what our LIFESTYLE should be in his second letter to the Corinthians (5:14-15).

Covetousness is not found in our checkbooks or our bank accounts. Our material blessings have nothing to do with covetousness.  Covetousness is found in the heart. We can be possessed by our
possessions or our possessions can be slaves to the cause of Christ.  WE DECIDE!

The pain that I have when I see this in another person can be related to Ecclesiastes 5:10. “He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase:
this is also vanity.” The truth of God rings again and again.

Man’s folly continues to show the shallowness of his own plans and gains. How is that a millionaire commits suicide? Can the Word of God be true? Can a LIFESTYLE of seeking the things of this world truly end with emptiness? You KNOW it can and does. Our LIFESTYLE and our MESSAGE is to be one that will allow those who are seeking this world that satisfaction is exclusively the possession of those who KNOW that they can present themselves to God as His children and not as those to be judged.

Paul decried the loss of one of his co-workers, Demas, when Demas “having loved this present world” forsook Paul and was undone. Two classes were addressed by Paul – the ones who live TO BECOME RICH and those WHO ARE RICH. In I TIMOTHY 6:9-10 we find the first group and in verses 17-19, we find the second. If a follower of the apostle could be caught in this snare, why do we feel that we are above such temptation?

Jesus spoke clearly, as Luke tells us (12:13-15). Our LIFESTYLE must be one of constant awareness that the traps Satan sets have been in place for thousands of years. Only the guidance of our Lord Jesus is capable of steering us on the proper path to avoid the pitfalls.

SELF GLORY

Jesus spoke to me in a verse. MARK 12:38-40. I found myself being examined by my Lord and having to respond with a loud and painful “YES” when I was asked, “Are you enjoying the acclaim of the groups you are speaking to?” My Lord Jesus is so kind and loving, but I felt two inches tall and confessed to Jesus my failure to point to Him in all that I do. He is just and forgave me. Now I find myself saying “Are you about to join the ranks of the scribes?”

Our ministry is to minister “not with the eye service as men-pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.” (EPHESIANS 6:6).

The first area that I found my pride getting enlarged was in giving. I found this to be the most simple of “pride of life” situations. Again, my Lord came to show me the way – MATTHEW 6:1-4.
The next area seems to be the very area of service and harvest for the Kingdom. We must REMEMBER that the LORD ADDS to HIS CHURCH. We are ONLY vessels for Him to use. We find some that will perform in totally different behavior when the pastor is around than when “ordinary” people are around.

DISCOURAGEMENT

After a triumph for the Kingdom, Satan finds it most open to slip in the problem of discouragement for a leader. Satan will mount his most stringent attack immediately after a victory and cause us to fall. His attack can make us the NEXT POSSIBLE BEST AGENT for darkness BY NEUTRALIZING our witness. He can get to us by giving us false values. We want to escape from the persecution or the attack.  We want to be removed from the very place that God has placed us. We place OUR value – or our desires – ahead of those of God.

– OR –

Satan makes us point our finger at others and blame them for the problems we encounter. We fail to be responsible before the Lord God of Host, and we want to point to others as the ones responsible for the not-so-good circumstances that we are presently in.
– OR –

We lose perspective. We seem to believe that we and WE ALONE are the only ones faithful to the Will of God. ONLY WE are truly doing what He want done. We then lose the perspective that God is IN CONTROL – AT ALL TIMES! It is at these times that we develop the uncanny capacity to INSTANTLY change molehills into mountains.

We need to be aware that there are NO HUMAN DEFENSES to these traps set by Satan! I Chronicles 29:11-13 tells us all how we can survive these traps. “Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty, for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is Thine; Thine is the Kingdom, O Lord, and thou are exalted as head above all … Now therefore, our God, we thank Thee, and praise Thy glorious name.

Computers For Christ – Chicago

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