Developing Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

3 Temptations for Leaders

This is what the LORD says:   “Maintain justice and do what is right.…  But what is right?  How do I know if it is right or wrong?  As leaders we are frequently making judgment calls where it is not black or white, rather it seems as if most of these decisions are “gray.”  What standards or grids can we use to help us?  Here’s one simple guideline  –  if the devil is involved, it’s wrong!

Let’s look at the temptations that Jesus faced and see what lessons and applications we can make for ourselves.

3 Temptations of Jesus/Leader      Luke 4:1-13

 1)  Self-Gratification     –        vs. 3-4

3The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”  4Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone.

This is the temptation to use resources for yourself, instead of the work.  Leaders often have special access to leadership accounts or resources that others don’t have.  Many times there is also a lack of oversight or accountability for these accounts and it can be very easy to justify an expense that is personal and say it was for the work.  The ability to say no to this type of temptation is key for further responsibility in the Kingdom.  See Luke 16:9-11 and Nehemiah 5:14-19.

2)  Self-Promotion        –        vs. 5-8

5The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7So if you worship me, it will all be yours.”  8Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.

The second temptation of Jesus is also a common one leaders face – that is, the temptation to use our position and influence to promote ourselves.  This seeking of power or position or influence flows from a misguided sense of ambition.  Many Kingdom leaders are self-flagellating out of the misconception that any kind of ambition is wrong or bad.  But in the NT we find that there are two types of ambition.  The bad type is self-seeking and wants to gather attention to ourselves.  Our English bibles often translate it with the words “selfish ambition.”   See Philippians 2:3-4.  But there is a good ambition, one that seeks to promote Christ and the Kingdom, rather than self.  Paul mentions this in Romans 15:20 when describing his own ambition.

3)  Self-Glorification     –        vs. 9-12

9The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” ….12Jesus answered, “It says: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.

This last temptation is seeking attention for ourselves, turning the spotlight on us, or taking credit for something that was the work of others.  It flows from an enlarged ego that is a common trait among leaders.  Want to know if you are in a danger zone for this?  Here’s a simple test – how much do you talk rather than ask questions and listen?  See 1 Samuel 15:12.

Leadership is not about you, but others!  Beware of these common temptations and pitfalls that have removed others from the race!

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