Developing Kingdom Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Archive for the tag “Temptation”

The Battle for Your Minds

Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny.                                 Ralph Waldo Emerson

… clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.      Romans 13:14  (NIV)

The battle is raging for the control of your thought life.  For if the enemy can gain a beachhead within your thoughts, that front will eventually expand to control more and more territory, finally expressing itself in our actions.

Often, we tend to minimize what goes on within our thoughts, saying to ourselves, “Well, at least I didn’t do it!  Yes, I may have thought it, but I didn’t act on it.”  This rationalization can lead to self-delusion, for the Lord Jesus reminds us that even to lust after a woman is the same as committing the sexually immoral act of adultery (see Matthew 5:27-30).

So, what to do when the battle rages within for control of our thoughts?  Here’s some practical suggestions:

  1. Determine to fix your thoughts upon Christ
    • Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest.     Hebrews 3:1   (NIV)
  2. Arm yourself for battle by storing away God’s word within you
    • How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
      By living according to your word.I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.    Psalm 119:9,11
  3. Ask God for help as the battle rages – it is not a matter of our will power, but rather His power
    • call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.        Psalm 50:15 

The enemy is waging war against you seeking to gain a foothold within your thoughts that he might exploit further into your leadership actions.

Resist the devil and he will flee from you.   James 4:7

How’s your thought life today?

7 Woes for Leaders – #1

When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table.  But the Pharisee, noticing that Jesus did not first wash before the meal, was surprised.  Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.  You foolish people!  Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also?  But give what is inside the dish to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.     Luke 11:37–41  (NIV 1984)

Jesus launches into a scathing rebuke of the religious leaders around Him at the dinner table of a local Pharisee.  This passage begins a list of seven failures that these leaders experienced.  I’ve included this first exhortation to the following list of six that are prefaced with a dire warning, “Woe to you…”

Here’s #1  –  Using leadership’s privileges to promote personal greed and wickedness  –  v. 39   (NIV  1984)

The Pharisees were questioning Him about washing before eating.  In particular, they were concerned about ceremonial cleansing of their dishes and utensils.  Jesus uses this question as a launching point for a stinging rebuke.  He excoriates them for cleaning the outside of their cups, while they ignore the evil inside their hearts.

These leaders were focused on the externals rather than the internals.  They looked good on the outside, but in their hearts they were evil.    They used their leadership to promote personal greed and wickedness.

Leaders often have access to resources that others don’t.  We can take advantage of these for our own personal use rather than using them for the accomplishing the mission.  Leaders have authority to make exceptions and often those exceptions are to our personal benefit.  Or, worse yet, we can think that the rules and regulations don’t apply to us.

The source of this is pride.  It is the sin of Lucifer that resulted in the great divide.  He subtly works to help us justify our self-centeredness.  “You sacrifice so much for this work,” he whispers.  “You deserve it.”  “It’s only a little thing,” he says.  “No one will know.”

Be very careful!  For the Lord’s hand comes off those who do such things.  Even more, He actively works against and opposes those whose hearts are prideful and self-centered.

That is why Scripture says:  “God opposes the proud
but gives grace to the humble.”  Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.   James 4:5-7  (NIV 1984)

Success – A Leader’s Greatest Challenge

In 2 Samuel 8 we read about David and how he handled his success as a leader.  The following are several observations and principles that we can take away and apply to our own leadership should we experience success.

In vs 1-5 we see the listing of David’s initiatives against the Philistines, Moabites, and Arameans.  The results are summarized in verse 6 – The Lord gave David victory wherever he went.  David experienced great success in his military campaigns against the surrounding enemies of Israel.  In fact, he had success in everything that he attempted.

The resulting success of his campaigns led to David becoming wealthy.  Remember that this son of Jesse came from a family that raised sheep for a living.  This new-found wealth came quickly and could have turned the heart of a lesser man.  But we see David’s response in vs 11 – King David dedicated these articles to the Lord, as he had done with the silver and gold from all the nations he had subdued… 

His successful military campaigns and growing wealth led to the seemingly inevitable conclusion as to how he was viewed by others.  In vs 13 we read – And David became famous…  Personal fame for the successful leader is a challenge that many leaders face, just as David had to deal with.

In vs 15 we see how David led after experiencing successful leadership efforts, growing personal wealth, and increased personal fame – David reigned over all Israel, doing what was just and right for all his people.  This is one of the reasons why David is a hero of mine.  He seemed to be able to handle success well.

Now immediately we are thinking of his low points in his adultery with Bathsheba or his counting of the army – yes, those were huge mistakes with huge consequences for his life and leadership.  And yet, through it all, he recovered and did not let those personal failings derail him.  He confessed his sin, humbled himself before God and men, and continued to lead.  All failures need not be fatal!

David was real – he had great strengths, also some glaring weaknesses.  Yet through it all he “did what was just and right for all his people.”  How are you handling your success?  Are you stewarding well God’s resources that have come your way due to this success?  What goes on in your heart when people point out your successes or publicly praise you?

Safe and Secure

Romans 8:1-39


Security is found not in the absence of danger, but in the presence of the Lord.  Once we have trusted Christ and become a member of God’s family, he promises never to leave us.  Nothing will separate us from him; we are safe and secure in his care.


Jesus promises to be with us forever.  Though we still encounter trials and difficulties, he will be with us in the midst of them.  We need not fear that he will forsake or abandon us.  He will be faithful to us, even if we are unfaithful.  What amazing love!


1.      God will never leave us!  What is said in the following passages about God’s commitment to us? — Matthew 28:20; John 10:27-30


2.      One person plus God is a majority.  What do the following passages say about the security we have in the presence of God? — Romans 8:31; Hebrews 13:5-6


Question to ponder:  How does the fact of Christ’s presence with you always affect your daily attitude and activities?


Passages for further study:

Proverbs 3:23-26

2 Timothy 2:11-13

J.O. Sanders

J.O. Sanders spoke to The Navigators’ Indonesian staff at our annual conference in September 1986 in Central Java.  I had the privilege of accompanying him afterwards across Java to insure that he arrived at his next destination in good order.  This time at the conference and the personal time with him afterwards was one of the highlights of my entire 11 years in Indonesia.

Here are some of the notes I gathered as a result of that time together:

  1. You must pay for a spiritual ministry.  It is paid for a little at a time throughout life.  When you stop paying, the ministry stops.
  2. Leadership trials all leaders face:  appetite, avarice (desire for things), and ambition
  3. God prepares the ministry for the person and the person for the ministry.
  4. The Lord does not always explain Himself.    John 13:7
  5. The word “leader” is only used 6x’s in New Testament.
  6. To see if you are a leader check and see who is following.
  7. Spirituality alone does not make a good leader.
  8. A leader leads in vision and faith.  Joshua got the vision for Jericho, but had to communicate the vision and faith to the people of Israel.
  9. Leaders set the tone by their example.
  10. Watch your life and doctrine closely – notice the order!   1 Timothy 4:11-16
  11. Maturity is the fullness of Christ.    Ephesians 4:13
  12. Becoming mature (Matthew 5:48) as the Father is ‘perfect’ is used in a relative sense.  That is, we are to be mature for our stage of spiritual growth, not mature in an absolute sense.
  13. We are as close to God as we choose to be.     Exodus 33:13,17
  14. Maturity is measured by the fruit of the Spirit, not the gifts of the Spirit.
  15. Gifts can be counterfeited, but fruit can’t.
  16. Tests of a Person’s Maturity
  • Seeks the glory of God more than their own glory or advancement
  • Prefer holiness instead of happiness
  • Desire solid food, not milk from the Word
  • Prefer serving others rather than being served
  • Prefer giving rather than receiving
  • Will be fruitful rather than barren (fruitful in character and in service)
  • Will be joyous rather than gloomy
  • Will accept rather than refuse the discipline of God
  • Will accept responsibility in the service of God

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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