Matthew 15: 7-9 (NIV) Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: 8 “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 9 They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.
All of us played follow-the-leader as kids. But even then, when the guide in front was too challenging 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 15:1) : “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 on the horizon? After thinking about this for quite a while, I have provided a few for your review:
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.
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, it’s time to stop your support.
Point to ponder- If you’re going to follow the leader, look where you’re going.
In His Service,
Pastor James Baker, Jr.