All leaders face temptations…some conquer and some cave. The temptations of a leader are not different than what everyone else faces. The difference is that there is usually more at stake and more people affected.
Now, obviously there are many more than three, but here are three that should (in my opinion) clearly be at the top of the list:
1. The Temptation To Overwork And Not Consistently Practice Sabbath
As most of you know, I am a professional life/leadership coach with Ministry Coaching International (www.ministrycoaching.org). I am currently coaching about 25 leaders in the USA and five other countries. When we begin, most of them confess that overwork and an unhealthy work/life balance is killing them. Some were working 70-90 hours a week and had not taken a real vacation in years. Many seldom consistently practice taking a day off, let alone practicing Sabbath as a principle by observing good work/rest rhythms.
I start my coaching by giving each an assignment to have a day-long retreat to prayerfully and carefully take a close look at their priorities and weekly schedule. This has been an unbelievably life-saving and career-saving day for many as they begin implementing what they heard from the Lord. For many this is the first full day they have taken in a long time to prayerfully reflect on how they are doing.
Consider Matthew 11:29 & 30 in The Message. This is one of my favorites when it comes to practicing Sabbath--not just as a day (although that is a good start for those working seven days a week) but also as a daily principle.
“Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
“Unforced rhythms of grace”…Gotta love it!
2. The Temptation For You To Not Share Ministry Responsibility And Decision-Making With Others
There are at least three consequences to giving in to this temptation. One, is to burn yourself out due to an overloaded schedule. Two, is to be a bottleneck that slows everything down because nothing can be decided without you voting, which means productivity suffers. And, three, creative people will be frustrated due to not being able to exercise their leadership and decision-making gifts and make their contribution. These frustrated leaders will either bring the morale of the organization down or leave…you loose either way!
In Exodus 18 we read of Jethro confronting Moses over this issue. It’s still a major problem for lots of insecure and power-hungry leaders. If this is currently a problem for you, please study your way through Exodus 18 and ask God for wisdom and courage to apply what He shows you.
3. The Temptation For You To Lead A Secret And Private Life Where Nobody Is Allowed To Challenge You And Speak Into Your Life
When King David was confronted by Nathan, he said, “You did it in secret.” (2 Samuel 12:12). The number of leaders who have fallen sexually, financially or relationally have, somewhere along the way, decided to keep secrets…secrets from their spouse, their children, their close friends and their team.
Questionable relationships, habits, activities and financial transactions are carefully hidden away (so they think) from public view. Secret relationships, secret bank accounts, secret websites they trust no one will discover. At a certain point in ministry, some leaders talk themselves into believing that the rules don’t apply to them. As a result, lying, cheating and hiding becomes a way life and it’s all downhill from there. Think Lance Armstrong as the latest poster child for this way of life.
--->How are you currently doing on these three?
--->Need to make some changes with His help?
--->Keeping any secrets you need to share with a few others…starting with your spouse/kids?
+From your experience, what other temptations would you add to these three?