5 Signs You are in Danger & 5 Ways to Guard Your Heart
In the epic book and movie, Lord of the Rings, I’ve learned a great spiritual lesson that I pray will guide me; protect me and the people I lead at Transformation Church, including my precious wife and children.
In this epic story, Sméagol kills a friend for a special ring that had been made by the Dark Lord Soran. This ring had the power to control all other rings.
As Sméagol embraces the ring and its cunning allure, he is transformed over time into the tortured, disfigured soul named Gollum.
Pastors, may we be ever so careful not to be deceived by the allure of the “ring”… power, control, fame, money. When we allow the “ring” to seduce and deceive us, we become tortured, disfigured souls. We will find ourselves doing things that we would have never imagined we would do. We will get hurt. Our families will get hurt. The people we lead will get hurt. And worst of all, the glory of God will be diminished in our lives.
Following are 5 signs that we are in danger of being allured by the “ring” and 5 ways to guard our heart.
(1) We are in danger when we surround ourselves with people who are impressed with us.
People who are impressed us will rarely, if ever, tell us “No.” They will rarely, if ever, challenge us. In essence, our inner circle is formed by “Yes” men and women. As someone said, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
To guard my heart, God has blessed me with confident, capable leaders with whom I can lead, be lead by, and who will tell me “No” and challenge me often.
(2) We are in danger when we find we only have time to meet with people of influence or wealth.
In essence, we are saying, “I only have time for people who can influence and finance the vision.” This is a form of spiritual prostitution and very un-Jesus like.
Don’t get me wrong, Jesus has called me to lead and serve a fast growing, large church. And as much as I’d like to, I simply can't meet with everyone. That’s why we’ve developed the Transformation Church Care and Counseling Team of which I’m a part. Each month, I make sure my schedule has slots open for care and counsel to “whomever.”
I guard my heart by being accessible.
(3) We are in danger when we think we our staff, servant leaders, and community of believers belong to us.
We say words like “my staff” or “my church.”
NO! We lead and serve Jesus’ church. And the staff is Jesus’ staff, which we have the privilege of blessing and being blessed by as journey towards maturity in Christ together.
To guard my heart, I am thoughtful to say “our staff,” “our church.”
(4) We are in danger when we are no longer approachable and no longer interact with the congregation.
Instead of being a shepherd, we act more like a CEO of business called church.
If I hear another pastor say, “Ministry would be great if it wasn’t for the people,” I may go Evangelism Linebacker on him. Ministry is the people.
To guard my heart, I love people. I shake hands and hug people after just about every service. I have the honor to care for and counsel people. I have the honor of going on hospital visits. I’m a shepherd; I want to smell like the sheep I’m called to connect with and care for.
(5) We are in danger when we think people exist to serve only us.
To guard my heart, I want to embody Jesus’ leadership model as displayed in John 13, when Jesus put on a servant’s towel and washed the feet of disciples.
Pastors/Church Planters, our influence on people’s lives is much greater than we realize. May we walk closely to the Father of Love. May Jesus be our greatest treasure and may the unlimited riches of HIS grace be sufficient. And may the Holy Spirit’s presence and power in our lives keep us faithful.
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