I recently asked Steve Graves to speak to my leadership team at LifeWay about leading ourselves, caring for our own souls, and doing all we can, by God’s grace, to continue. The following comes from his challenge, which was very good and very helpful to our team.
Not all viruses have the same devastating impact on people. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other organizations have plotted viruses on a chart with deadly on the y-axis and contagious on the x-axis. Some viruses are just more deadly than others. Regarding spiritual viruses, here are six (not an exhaustive list) that take leaders down.
Leaders, even ministry leaders, can be filled with greed ‒ the continual desire for more ‒ often more money. When greed has a leader’s heart, the leader makes decisions that are centered on cash and not on Christ and His people.
When lust resides in a leader’s heart, the leader makes destructive decisions. What once seemed unthinkable becomes a fantasy that can easily move to reality. When lust grows in the heart of a leader, a fall is inevitable.
When leaders are harmed or feel like they have been harmed, they can wrongly feel it is their role and responsibility to right every wrong and extract pain from others—pain they feel makes the scales even. A leader filled with a desire for revenge fails to walk in wisdom.
Sometimes leaders use the excuse that “no one understands” as justification for their preference to be alone. But when leaders are alone, they make foolish decisions.
Because leaders are often in places of authority and influence, pride can easily build in the heart and mind of a leader. When pride spreads, the leader fails to learn from others, fails to recognize the fragility of the moment, and fails to serve for the benefit of others.
Laziness can plague leaders who feel they have earned the right to stop serving or who have lost their passion for the mission they have heralded. When leaders grow lazy, the culture of those they lead quickly deteriorates.
These “viruses” may start small, but they can quickly spread in the leader’s heart. Leaders are wise to continually ask the Lord to search their hearts to bring these to mind so repentance can occur.
Will you pray right now and ask God to open your eyes to the hidden things that are now attacking your heart? Will you pray that God will strengthen your hands for battle and respond with an active counterattack to defeat the disease that is afflicting you?