Arrogance can creep in so easily among church leaders.
There are two primary ways Christians succumb to arrogance: success, and by using a common but false definition of ‘maturity.’
Let’s start with the first. The most difficult test of character is not failure. It’s success.
Here’s why. It’s pretty easy to be humble when you’re failing. It’s just far too easy to take all the credit when things go well.
As a result, leaders of growing churches and ministries almost always have a daily fight with arrogance. Or at least hopefully there’s a fight. Because if there isn’t, arrogance will win. Every time.
I know in my life as the church has grown, as more people have read my blog or even listened to my podcasts, the battle against claiming credit is daily.
I remember that when our church was little, I regularly prayed: “God, write a story so big here that only you can possibly claim credit.”
The truth is, God has. Our church or my wider ministry has impacted far more people than I ever dreamed or could possibly have pulled off. But I still have to fight myself to make sure that I’m not trying to snatch credit for anything God has done in my life or ministry.
The goal of Christian leadership, after all, is not to get people to follow you. It’s to get people to follow Jesus.
If the battle against pride isn’t daily, pride will win.
A second way that arrogance creeps in is when Christians falsely characterize Christian maturity as knowledge.
If you listened to many in the church these days, you’d think knowledge equals maturity. The more you know, the more mature you are.
Scripture suggests that’s a false test. After all, as Paul points out, knowledge puffs up; love builds up.
Knowledge makes you arrogant. Love fosters humility.
As a leader, I need to be daily transformed by love and humility. When I do that, I resist the devil.
If you’re feeling beat up by the first two points (and in different seasons, I’ve felt beat up by both of them…well, actually, I needed to be beaten up by both of them), then you might gravitate toward another of the devil’s favorite strategies: discouragement.
I’m no good.
I’m not making a difference.
I always mess up.
What’s the point?
I might as well give up.
We’ve all been there. But I believe that none of those messages are from God.
Want a little hack? Read the book of Ephesians, and everywhere it says “you” or “us” just substitute your name. Put your name in the blanks below:
Even before he made the world, God loved _______ and chose _______ in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt _______ into his own family by bringing ________ to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.
I know that’s a little cheesy, but it actually helps you battle well.
The best antidote to a lie is the truth. So ground yourself in the truth. And also in the truth about yourself.