Christian Leaders Feel Alone in Their Struggles
Did it ever cross your mind that Christian leaders feel alone in their struggles? A significant problem for these leaders stems from the belief that we cannot discuss the wounding behaviors that impact us. We do not want to be accused of slander or of being a gossip. We do not want to be a bad testimony. Nor do we want to speak against God’s anointed. We do not want to place heavy burdens on our friends. We do not want to be a whiney baby. Furthermore, we do not want God to be displeased with us. Ultimately, we do not want to hurt the cause of Christ.
We genuinely want to evidence grace. And we want to demonstrate the all-sufficiency of Christ. Of course, we want to exhibit spiritual maturity. We want to be a good example of enduring persecution. But can we fulfill all the expectations of a Christian leader? People expect Christian leaders to be strong, continuously Holy Spirit directed, always kind, consistently nice, filled with encouragement, always exhibiting sunshine, always overflowing with the fruit of the Spirit, a living example of everything a Christian should be . . . Perfect.
We Live by a Double Standard
We want others to feel totally free to come to us to discuss their struggles, but we do not believe we can go to anyone else to discuss our own issues. If I let someone know what is really going on in my head, will I lose credibility? Christian leaders and those we serve BOTH hold a double standard. The person in the pew places high expectations on their Christian leaders but is distraught when the same leaders seem pious.
Are We All Hypocrites?
Are we all hypocrites? Dictionary definitions of a hypocrite include: a person who claims or pretends to have certain beliefs about what is right but who behaves in a way that disagrees with those beliefs; a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion; a person who acts in contradiction to their stated beliefs or feelings.
The healthy response to hypocrisy is authenticity. Authenticity requires and demonstrates a desperate dependency. When I am genuine, the truth is exposed. What is true may actually have to be exposed to me, not just by me.
The Lord’s lamp sheds light on a person’s life,Proverbs 20:27 CSB
searching the innermost parts..
When the Lord shines His lamp on my heart and exposes it to others, I must depend upon Christ to handle the ramifications of that. All fears of what people are thinking or how they might gossip must be placed in the hands of our Refuge.
But for me it is good to be near God;Psalm 73:28 ESV
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
that I may tell of all your works.
Christian Leaders Need God’s Truth to Not Feel Alone
While I might wish to escape from people to avoid authenticity, Christ requires a relationship with Himself AND His people. The function of the church – the body of Christ – is to remind one another to consistently connect to God’s truth as we shine the lamp of the Lord. This is accomplished by practicing the many admonitions that are directed one to another. We may actually empower one another with God’s truth!
Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds.Colossians 3:9 NLT
Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.James 5:16 NASB
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.Galatians 6:2 NIV
Authentically living out the One Anothers of Scripture requires ALL to live by the same standards. But can you appropriately handle the responsibility of bearing one another’s/my burdens or is your limited connection with Christ detrimental to His body?
Will I cause you to stumble if I share my story? Will you spread the information you hear? Why? Can you point me to find Christ relevant to my grief, hurt, and pain? Will you simply say, “I’m not qualified,” and leave me in my grief, hurt, and pain? Will my story cause you to find Christ more relevant as you try to help me find Christ relevant?
The Crisis Can Connect Us to Christ
The crisis is sacred. God desires our crisis to be that sacred turning point where we depend on Him in a new and desperate way. To be able to “Rejoice in the Lord always,” as Philippians 4:4 commands, and enjoy the peace of God as Philippians 4:9 promises, we must live within the context of Philippians 4:4–9. This includes, “Let your reasonableness be known to everyone,” with a desperately dependent exercise of the One Anothers of Scripture. Learn to think according to God’s design of Philippians 4:8, but also learn how to encourage others to view their circumstances from God’s perspective.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:4–9 ESV
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Whether you are a Christin leader or not, Christ is relevant to your feelings. God cares about how you are feeling. God desires to be your Savior, your Sustainer, and your Benefactor. Will you let Him?
God’s Prayer Pattern
Search me, O God, and know my heart!Psalm 139:23–24 ESV
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!
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