Last week, I wrote about the three greatest temptations of leadership. This week, I want to talk about the three ways we can keep our integrity and prevent those temptations from destroying our testimony and diminishing our influence.
First, deepen your reverence for God. Never forget that God put you in the position you’re in today. Psalm 75:6 says, “For promotion and power come from nowhere on earth, but only from God. He promotes one and deposes another” (LB). Great leaders realize that they are stewards. They realize that it’s not their world, their church, their business; they are just the manager, the steward. Promotion comes from God, not from other people.
You also must realize that God is holding you accountable. One of the reasons I think leaders try to get away secret sin it is that they don’t fear God. But the Bible says, “Obey your spiritual leaders and be willing to do what they say. For their work is to watch over your souls and God will judge them on how well they do this” (Heb. 13:17).That verse ought to put the fear in leaders. God is going to judge us. There is no authority without accountability.
The Bible says clearly that we pastors are accountable to God, as are all leaders in God’s kingdom. As a leader you are called to be accountable before God. Where there is a deep reverence for God, there will be integrity before Him.
Second, develop a love for people. There is a law of leadership that states, "Losers focus on what they can get while leaders focus on what they can give." The Bible says, “David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them” (Ps. 78:72, NIV). The Good News version says he shepherded them with "unselfish devotion.” Psalm 78:72 is one of my life verses. I pray that God will let me shepherd with integrity and with skill.
I find when I study leaders, good and bad, the leaders who consistently abuse their powers are those who don’t love people. Paul said, “Because of our love for you we were ready to share with you not only the Good News from God but even our own lives. You were so dear to us!” (1 Thess. 2:8). Notice that he says, “We gave even our own lives.” If you really love people, you’re not going to abuse and misuse them.
Third, discipline yourself for eternal rewards. If you’re going to be a leader, instead of having more and more privileges as your influence grows, there is really less space for personal privileges. More is required of leaders; there are more restrictions on leaders. The higher you go in a position of authority, the more is expected of you, the more is restricted of you and the less freedom you really have. You must often sacrifice privilege in exchange for influence.
There’s another leadership law that states, "Losers focus on their rights while leaders focus on their responsibilities."
Hebrews 11 tells us Moses "preferred to suffer with God’s people rather than to enjoy sin for a little while” (v. 25).There are few people in the history of the world that had more potential to have the power, privilege and position that Moses did. He was No. 2 man in line for the No. 1 position as pharaoh of the most successful nation of the world at that time—Egypt.
And he left it all to lead a bunch of slaves across the desert. He gave up power, position and privilege—the very thing most of us spend our lives trying to get. He gave it up because he had his values right. He had his values right because he had his vision right. He kept his eyes on the future reward.
Protect your integrity at all costs—if you lose it, little else matters as a leader.
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America’s largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times best-seller The Purpose Driven Life. His book The Purpose Driven Church was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also the founder of pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
For the original article, visit pastors.com.
Leaders are readers! Subscribe now and get 3 magazines for the price of 1. Get Ministry Today, Charisma and SpiritLed Woman all for $24. YES - I'm a leader!
Ministry Today Subscription Special - Subscribe to Ministry Today magazine today and get 12 issues (2 full years) plus Amplified Leadership, a free leadership book for only $24.