People follow leaders, right? When we call someone a leader, we are saying they lead others. But what about the leader? Is he following himself?
How many times have we witnessed the moral failure of a Christian leader, not because he simply stopped leading, but because he wasn’t leading himself to the place he was leading everyone else? Leading others to Jesus, while not going to Jesus himself? Encouraging others that the Bible is the answer, while not reading it for himself? Pointing down a moral path as the way to go, but not walking down the road himself?
Have you noticed in the past few years how many times we’ve heard about a law enforcement officer being arrested for breaking the law? A politician who knows exactly how to balance the trillion dollar budget, but not his own bank account? A parent that preaches a morality to the kids that they know isn’t practiced personally? A husband that expects his wife to manage three jobs (job, house, kids), while he gets a pass with just one? (Ok, if watching sports counts as a job, then two.)
So, here’s the question: wherever you are leading—are you leading yourself first? Do you follow your own counsel? Do you take your own advice? Do you listen to you? Now, second question: How many of those that you are leading know you don’t buy your own rhetoric?
Historically, the world has been changed by leaders who act first, talk later. That’s why America isn’t respecting Washington in general anymore, right? All talk.
A bad leader will ask: “Why wouldn’t these people follow me?”
A good leader will ask: “Why should these people follow me?”
Here’s some practical questions and steps to change:
Question: Where are you preaching, but not practicing?
Action Point: Stop preaching, until you are practicing. Then just teach. Cut the preach. Nobody likes that anyway.
Question: Who do you know isn’t buying your line anymore?
Action Point: Get real with those people. Ask for forgiveness. Start over. Stay real.
Question: Which direction are you pointing, but not walking yourself?
Action Point: Shut up, put your hand down, and start walking it. Relax, you’ll remember how to walk.
Question: Is there a spiritual discipline you encourage, even teach, others to do, but are not doing yourself?
Action Point: Forgive yourself. Take it back up today. Go slow. Start simple. You know how.
Question: What is God showing you today? This week? Where is He telling you to lead yourself? Just you, no one else. Where is God taking you?
Action Point: Pray. Listen. Obey. (For there’s no other way.)
Check out this guy for some inspiration . . .
“When I walked downtown and sat with my friends in the public square, young and old greeted me with respect; I was honored by everyone in town. When I spoke, everyone listened; they hung on my every word. People who knew me spoke well of me; my reputation went ahead of me. I was known for helping people in trouble and standing up for those who were down on their luck. The dying blessed me, and the bereaved were cheered by my visits. All my dealings with people were good. I was known for being fair to everyone I met. I was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame, Father to the needy, and champion of abused aliens. I grabbed street thieves by the scruff of the neck and made them give back what they’d stolen. I thought, ‘I’ll die peacefully in my own bed, grateful for a long and full life, A life deep-rooted and well-watered, a life limber and dew-fresh, My soul suffused with glory and my body robust until the day I die.’ “Men and women listened when I spoke, hung expectantly on my every word. After I spoke, they’d be quiet, taking it all in. They welcomed my counsel like spring rain, drinking it all in. When I smiled at them, they could hardly believe it; their faces lit up, their troubles took wing! I was their leader, establishing the mood and setting the pace by which they lived. Where I led, they followed.” —Job in 29:7-22 MSG