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Read 1 Timothy 3-4
All of us played follow-the-leader as kids. But even then, when the guide in front was too daring or foolish, we would step aside. There were definite limits on how far we would follow.
Sadly, this is not always true in the spiritual realm, where leaders unworthy of the name sometimes command blind devotion. (Remember Jonestown and Waco and those fallen televangelists?)
No one ever defined that follow-no-matter-what syndrome better than our Lord in Matthew 15:14: "Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit."
Remember now, Jesus warned us against blind guides, not all guides. God still uses strategic, trustworthy, dedicated leaders, and they deserve our respect.
But how can we tell when "blindness" starts to set in? What are the symptoms to look for in strong, natural leaders that tell us trouble is brewing? After thinking about this for quite a while, I am ready to suggest six blind spots we dare not overlook.
Authoritarianism. Take care when a leader begins repressing your freedom. If there is the lack of a servant's heart, of a teachable spirit, pride is in control. Be especially wary of one who seems to have all the answers.
Exclusiveness. Watch out for the "we alone are right" and the "us four and no more" attitudes. They reveal themselves in an encouragement to break commitments with your mate, family members, and long-standing friends.
Greed. Moneygrubbing is another telltale sign. Especially if funds wind up in the leader's pocket and become "nobody's business."
Sensuality. Moral purity is a must if the leader claims God's hand is on his life. A holy life is never optional.
Unaccountability. Leaders who refuse to be accountable to anyone forfeit the right to be trusted and followed. Every leader needs counsel and occasional confrontation.
Rationalization. When wrong is justified with a defensive spirit, when inappropriate actions are quickly glossed over, when scriptural truth is twisted to fit a sinful lifestyle, when grey-black facts are whitewashed, stop your support.
Take Christ's advice: "Let them alone!"
If you're going to follow the leader, look where you're going.
Excerpted from Day by Day with Charles Swindoll, Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.
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