Godly Leadership: Godly Leaders Will Recognize Pride (Part 3)

Acts 12:21–23 (ESV)
21 On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and delivered an oration to them. 22 And the people were shouting, “The voice of a god, and not of a man!” 23 Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last.

click on the link to read godly leadership part 1 and part 2

3. Godly leaders will recognize pride.

Usually this third point is worded like this, “Godly leaders are humble”. For me this is just another slogan that doesn’t deal with one of the most pervasive problems in ministry, pride. Pride left unchecked or unnoticed will destroy leadership and influence, not to mention dishonoring the transforming work of the Gospel.

The dictionary defines pride as: the quality of having an excessively high opinion of oneself or one’s importance.

Here are 5 quick way’s to know if your prideful:

1. Your sentences start with “I” or are surrounded around you.

2. You get convicted/mad when someone tries to correct/instruct you.

3. You have a critical and judgmental spirit.

4. Your closed to accountability.

5. Your getting mad right now as you read this.

I believe the hardest thing for a pastor to do, is to be self aware of pride. From my own testimony to others I know, we are most oblivious to the sin of pride. So how do we demonstrate the transforming power of the Gospel and cultivate the characteristic of humility in our lives and leadership?

1. Recognize the difficulty in seeing your pride.

Sam Rainer writes the following about recognizing pride,

Humility is the most difficult leadership trait to see in ourselves. The opposite of humility, pride is the most destructive leadership predisposition. Great leaders never stop fighting the battle to recognize pride and remain humble. It’s the quintessential leadership struggle. We stand on a sliding scale somewhere between healthy humility and unhealthy pride.
Even at our best, determining where we are on this scale is tough. We rarely recognize our pride until it’s too late. Followers often see it long before leaders become self-aware of arrogance.

Pride is an idol, and we can’t repent of idols in our life if we do not recognize them.

2. Have accountability that calls for repentance.

James 5:16 (ESV)
16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

I ask this question often, “who is asking you what you are repenting of?” and I get the same answer, no one. Just recently, I was with one of our called to ministry college students. I asked him, “when was the last time anyone asked you what you are repenting of?” He said, “never, no one has ever asked me what I am repenting of.” He and I are now meeting monthly via Skype and he has someone asking him what he is repenting of.

Every person needs someone in their life that knows them well enough and close enough to identify idols in their life; and then love them enough to call them to repentance. Sadly, there are so few people who have genuine accountably in their life. This must be a priority. Pastor, who is helping you really see and know yourself? Who has your permission to adjust your self-perception?

3. Humility is the answer, it demonstrates the Gospel.

James 4:6 (ESV)
6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

Let those you lead see you respond in humble obedience. If were were prideful and arrogant to someone, repent to them, ask for forgiveness. You may very well not get the desired response, but be obedient. God is sovereign and you are responsible for obedience.

There is much talk about “demonstrating” the gospel today. Recognizing pride and responding in humility is one of the greatest demonstrations of the Gospel we can give.



About George Ross

I am a pastor, church planter, husband, and father of four.
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