The Pitfall of Spiritual Leadership:Part 3

 In Blog, Charles Cavanaugh

Last time we looked at the pitfall of presumption. Let’s take a glimpse again at Saul’s life and see the third and final pitfall of spiritual leadership he displays.

3. The third danger or pitfall for leaders illustrated by King Saul is pride. Pride is the root cause of presumption and every other sin. Pride thinks more highly of self than it should. Pride refuses instruction. Pride feels threatened. Pride feels the freedom to act without God’s direction. Pride resents criticism. Saul’s pride came to the surface like so much dross in a kettle. Since it controlled his life, there was no way he could subdue the evidences of it.

Obviously every leader and every Christian battles the sin of pride. We all are prone to think too highly of ourselves and to react when people or circumstances threaten us. But it is one thing to battle pride and quite another to be controlled by it. Saul’s pride controlled him causing him to make unwise, even irrational decisions and destroyed his relationships with man and with God. His pride caused him to fail to see how his failures had disqualified him for leadership and that it was time to defer to another. His pride kept him from rejoicing in God-given victories because they were secured at the hand of his rival David. Pride caused him to attribute to David evil motives not seeing that his own failures had moved God against him and to choose David as his replacement. Arrogance moved Saul to believe he knew better what should be done with Agag and the Amalekites than God. Arrogance moved Saul to believe he could destroy the man God himself had chosen to replace him. Arrogance made him think he could consult a medium in secret and not suffer the consequences in public. Arrogance led Saul to believe that his will was more important than the good of the nation under his leadership and that he could subvert God’s will with his own. In the process, Saul destroyed his fellow man and, ultimately, his relationship with God. Saul’s early promise gave way to the destruction of a leader consumed with himself and his own agenda (see 1 Sam. 15 and the following chapters).

The wise leader will learn from Saul that leadership in not about preserving one’s position but serving those you lead. The wise leader will learn that it is not about what is best for me but what is best for those I lead. The wise leader may make commitments which bring results he does not like, but he will follow through anyway (Ps. 15:4a). The wise spiritual leader tethers himself to the anchor of God’s Word so that when people and circumstances change, and he is weakened by uncertainty and fear, he remains steadfast. The wise spiritual leader knows that while attempting to please everyone, if he does not please God, he has failed. The wise leader is not dependent on good looks, personality, or merely surface human qualities but upon the grace of God demonstrated by the reality and depth of his knowledge of God and his walk with Him. May God deliver us from the Sauls in leadership, and may he raise up those whose depth of Christian character make them worthy to face the challenges of our day.

Charles Cavanaugh

President – Vision4Living Ministries

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Showing 2 comments
  • Mike Fendrich

    Charles – You know this series has been good, however, when you point out pride, that’s getting a little too close to for my comfort.

    Seriously, great series. May God grant us many more leaders that look to God’s Glory and Kingdom rather than the numbers they attract or the influence they wield. Humility is so hard to find these days (and I am looking in the mirror when I say that). And yet, it is what God is looking for to increase both (or move us to the front row as the parable states).

    Peace in Christ brother
    Mike Fendrich

  • Bible Study

    Pride comes before destruction and we most definitely must watch out for it. Pride is probably the most dangerous of all pitfalls to sin. Beware of the leaven of those who are “puffed up” with pride.

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