Over the years I’ve noticed that, if the devil can’t get you to leave the ministry, he’ll use tactics to render you completely ineffective. The evidence of this is great, just look around and you’ll see many churches stagnant, dying, and irrelevant. Or they simply implode. In the driver’s seat of the majority of these ministries there is a common thread. It’s like these leaders have been bitten by the same bug. This nasty malady can be difficult to detect and almost impossible for the infected to recognize, let alone do anything about it. They have been bitten by the double-headed snake of pride and insecurity.
I know you might be thinking, “Aren’t pride and insecurity opposites?” The answer is “Nope. They’re not.” In fact pride feeds off of insecurity and insecurity is fueled by pride. This demonic duo just keeps on going and it’s a hard cycle to break. Let me give you a few examples:
Insecurity whispers inferiority and discouragement when attendance is consistently low. Pride comes along and says, “I don’t know why we’re not growing. I’m just as good of a preacher as the guy at the mega-church.” Instead of evaluating and making course corrections, we assure ourselves that we are not the problem and nothing changes.
We really need to keep growing and reading, but pride convinces us that “all we need is the Word” and those authors don’t really know what they’re talking about anyway. Then insecurity makes us believe that we have to prove that we have nothing to learn by acting like a know-it-all idiot.
Our group starts growing and making a difference, then pride kicks in and we start drinking our own cool aid. Suddenly, our spiritual leadership doesn’t seem to know anything. Eventually things fall apart and insecurity drives us to manipulate the people we used to inspire and lead.
What ever the case, we’re all susceptible to this wicked pair. We all have to make a deliberate effort to stay humble and teachable. How? Here are a few tips:
1. Have people in your life that will shoot straight with you. Ask them to critique you as a leader and let them be brutally honest.
2. Don’t defend. When criticism comes, let Jesus be your defense attorney. Always ask God to show you what you need to learn from each criticism.
3. Pray, pray, and pray some more. A lifestyle of prayer is conducive to humility because it reminds us of our true power source.
4. Stay teachable. Keep reading a diverse selection of books. Don’t just stick to your favorite authors. Listen to those who have gone before you even if your ministry has the outward appearance of greater success.
Remember pride and insecurity may not get you out of ministry, but it will severely limit your ability to produce true, Godly fruit.
Proverbs 11:2 says, “Pride leads to disgrace,but with humility comes wisdom.“