Thursday, October 02, 2008

The Truth About PRIDE

I get Perry Noble’s blogposts daily in my email. They are always great nuggets of wisdom. However, every once in a while, one of them will really hit home. Today’s post was one of those! I’m gonna to post it here, but I am also going to punch in a thought here and there about my own journey and struggles with PRIDE… (my thoughts will be tagged…)

(Perry Noble)

Scripture is so clear–God hates pride! In fact, I read a couple of times this past week where He actually opposes the proud!!! (James 4:6, I Peter 5:5)

Yet EVERY leader I know wrestle with pride! It’s tempting…it’s intoxicating…and it’s sinful. What is P-R-I-D-E?

P = Personalized

When a leader runs every decision through the grid of, “How will this impact me,” rather than, “how will this impact the Kingdom”–pride is often rearing its ugly head.
Pride always whispers to the leader, “It’s all about you…and if this doesn’t suit your personal preferences OR isn’t really convenient for you…then don’t!”

Tara: One thing many leaders struggle with or will struggle with at some time is the battle between thinking about “my” church, “my” congregation, “my” ministry, etc. instead of “Kingdom” thinking and living. Kingdom is whole, collective, and sacrificing for the great commission, Prideful (stinkinthinkin’) is selfish and contemplates how everything will “make me look.” I’ve been there, and it’s ugly. Renewing our minds to think as Christ does… Kingdom… will revolutionize everything we ever thought ministry or leadership was!

R = Reconsideration

Pride will NOT allow us to reconsider a previous bad decision because we fear losing face with the people we lead…not understanding that following through on that bad decision will damage our leadership integrity WAY more than admitting a mistake.

IN FACT, admitting a mistake actually gives us credibility as a leader…more often than not! If there is a bad decision…and you know it–change it…everyone will be thankful!

Tara: WHO likes to admit they were wrong? NOBODY! However, I found that nothing shuts someone hellbent on tearing you up over mistake than a decision to take the high road, humble yourself and say, “ I messed up, I apologize, what can I do to make it up?” At that point, as Perry said, willingness to do just that does make you look bad, it gives you credibility!

I believe being transparent does the same thing. Forget the sugarcoating and chasers, be honest, shed the pride and make a change.

I = Individual

Pride tells the leader, “YOU make the call…and if no one around you agrees with you…screw them and their ideas!”

I believe in point leadership. I believe that God has called the pastor to lead…to be the decision maker. However…in my opinion, that ONLY works if he is mutually submissive to the people he leads with.

For example…if I had something I thought needed to be done…and I honestly thought it was from God–and so I took it to our senior management team and shared it with them…and all of them pushed back…I would not say, “Forget you guys…I’m the leader!!!”

I would listen…take notes…absorb every word they say…and then prayerfully reconsider. Doing this has allowed me to escape MANY mistakes! The best leadership resource many of us have are the people around us!!!

Tara: I am an idea person, I like to strategize and find our what worked for others. Re-inventing the wheel is something that does not appeal to me. Has it been done? Did it work? Why or why not? The Bible tells us, “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” Seeking a multitude of counsel is the basis of Brainstorming – exploiting the simple fact that other people can offer experience, information and novel insights into a situation that we simply do not possess ourselves.

I have always made it a point to always submit myself to people who will challenge my thoughts and ideas, shift the paradigm a little to ask, “What if…” I have FAR from perfected this approach, but I make HUGE strives whenever the opportunity presents itself!

D = Deceptive

Pride is SO easy to see in others…and almost impossible to see in ourselves!
There is a fine line between being prideful and being confident. Some people are confident and are mistaken as prideful…and others are prideful and mistaken as confident. The only people that truly know are the leader and Jesus!!!

We can be confident leaders without being prideful…we KNOW pride is leaking in when we begin to think, “I don’t need these people…I can run this show…if something is going to be done right around here then I am going to have to do it!”

Tara: Having been on both sides of this coin I feel that I can give an honest and educated opinion on this. I am a fairly confident woman with big ideas, thoughts, and, *sigh* I can be loud about it at times (nice way of saying I have a big mouth at times!)! Depending on my motivation, I can be considered either confident and passionate or cocky and prideful.

So, I have put into play a little “prayer” in my life… I simply ask God to remind me daily that I am NOT Teflon (if I mess up- it WILL stick to me- I do not want to be a finger pointer...) and I am not the Messiah.. even on my best day, I am a mere servant at my core. I rely on god every waking moment of my day! I need Him to put the right people, who have the right skills, who know or have known key people, and are in the right places... around me, beside, and over me so I can fulfill the task at hand in a way that brings honor and glory to HIS agenda! I also pray daily that the Holy Spirit will wear me as a coat… and He will definitely help keep me in line! LOL!

E = Everything

Pride IMPACTS everything! When a leader will not confess and repent of pride…every single area of the church (or the area he leads) will be tainted! We can’t maintain a posture of pride and receive the blessings and favor of God at the same time.
One of the most dangerous things God can bless a church or leader with is success! When great things happen we need to simply…

  • Remember where He found us!
  • Thank Him for His faithfulness
  • Understand He doesn’t need us…but because of HIS mercy He uses us anyway!

Tara: Wow, ain’t that the truth! We can’t run from it, if pride is a factor in our lives, sooner or later it will catch up to us. I have been told often that the best way to cast off pride is to refrain from being defensive. And ooo, that IS a hard one! Our human nature wants to attack and prove our innocence. However, when we simply select humility as our “weapon” of choice and we swallow the urge to get on the horn and lay out our evidence then we are killing our flesh, killing our pride. Truth will speak for itself when necessary, but a proud spirit will lash out defensively. Again… learned this the hard way! And some days, I am re-taking that test.

Realizing that pride does in fact impact EVERYTHING will force us as leaders to examine ourselves more thoroughly. As we daily empty our cup before the Lord, He will point out any area that pride may be affecting or creeping up in. Though it can be a painful process, I do love when he does it because it is only a constant reminder of how far I’ve come and where I am going to next!

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