"I warn everyone among you not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought [not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance], but to rate his ability with sober judgment, each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to him." Romans 12:3 Amplified
Narcissism is an excessive conceit, an extreme level of self-admiration and vain self-centeredness. Accompanied by a disdain for perspectives considered less than its own, it results from an intoxication with one's self and point of view. Paradoxically, at its root is an unconscious inadequacy of wholesome self-esteem. Its behavior too often is drawn from the belief that the end justifies the means.
Simultaneously, true leadership walks a fine line that can bear a close resemblance to the pathway into this deceptive disorder. Leadership demands a confidence beyond the ordinary. It wields an influence that navigates past the trivial with results that make a difference. It is decisive. Genuine leadership operates beyond the boundaries of those enticed by power, prestige; those who yield to vain imaginations (Romans 1:21) and the subtle enticements of becoming "full of themselves."
Narcissism is a deception that manifests most plainly at high levels. It involves fine-line subtleties that ensnare those genuinely called when their long-awaited promotions thrust them into seats of power.
In a time when leadership within the Body is reaching parallels to the days of Joseph the Patriarch and the prophet Daniel, the distinctions between those who serve the Lord and those who do not are becoming much more obvious. So it will be in a leader's core modus operandi that the difference is determined between the many who are called and the few who are chosen.
From an era in which leaders in the Body have been personality-driven voices evoking followings; we are emerging into a time when history defines the leaders, known by His Name, by the impact of their influence, by the change they produce. They will bear the brand mark of the influence they wield on people of influence; through which there will be shifts in the roles of communities, segments of society, corporations and nations from the kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of Light.
Era of Dominion
Before us is an era to be navigated by an elect, behind the scenes leadership toward the mega-shift of dominion described in Isaiah 60. Much like in the days of Joseph and Daniel, these leaders will arise in the midst of turbulent times to excel within seats of power by means of stewarding God-centered gifts that serve.
The characteristics of the leaders who become the "few who are chosen" from the ranks of God's elect will be ones who truly operate in God, beyond themselves. They will be forerunners, aligned with God's heart, who consistently bypass leadership snares designed to divert them from the high-calling they have.
The thoughts, the very souls of the "few who are chosen" will be so immersed in God; that it will be said of them that the devil found nothing in them.
"The ruler of this world is coming and he has found nothing in me." John 14:30
Wielding God's power is a sacred thing. It carries the requisite of operating in oneness with Him; a place transcending the natural, described in Hebrews as within the veil.
"This hope is an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek." Hebrews 6:19-29
It is the oneness with God's heart from which the authority will be released to bring a shift of "dominion." Nothing less will accomplish the mission for those destined as the chosen.
"I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me." John 5:30
Among the snares that pervert otherwise strong leadership qualities of modern-day Josephs and Daniels are the fine-line enticements of being overly opinionated; self-righteous, critical, performance-oriented, manipulative and selfishly ambitious.
Opinionated. There is nothing wrong with strong opinions if generated by wisdom. Where being opinionated becomes a snare is when tolerance and respect are lost. Wisdom seeks common ground and persuades. Both Joseph and Daniel retained their identities in God in the midst of occult surroundings. By their wise patience and faithful stewardship, they exerted an influence in some most unlikely circumstances that strategically served the long-term purposes for God's people.
Self-Righteous. The operative word in this snare is self. It is an assumed righteousness based on a misguided perception of one's own accomplishments, rather than the result of depending on God. Self-righteousness is not only a perversion of intended good, but a blindness. Taken to extreme, it manifests a perception of perfectionism.
Critical. People gifted with strong, analytical minds need to consciously be evaluating the impact of their tendencies to rectify and make things right. The fine line becoming a snare is when the need to correct has a purpose other than to bring healing or help. A critical spirit can often be an analytical gift that's lost its bearings. Even when being advised of his death sentence, Daniel did not point the finger or find fault, which certainly would have been a most natural response, but rather he sought God for the solution that spilled over to benefit all facing this dilemma.
Performance-Orientated. The fine line snare is when attempting to do the right thing is done for the wrong reason: the approval of men. When operating, it misguides by misplacing reality and God's wisdom with the perception of those it seeks to impress. King Saul lost sight of his calling and with that his kingdom, when his need to heed the word of his people overshadowed that of God's (1 Sam 15:24).
Manipulative. True leadership equips, enables and mobilizes others rather than lording it over them. Jesus outlined this kingdom dynamic when He said that Gentile rulers lord over their subjects and wield their authority for their own benefit. His example was a leadership driven by love, humility and service. (Luke 22:25)
Selfishly Ambitious. The one not concerned with who gets the credit holds the potential to be great. It's the basis of servant leadership. Giving focus to setting one's own nest on high (Habakkuk 2:9) is a snare that will undermine even the best of intentions. Promotion comes from neither the east nor the west, but from the Lord.
In short, fine-line leadership snares induce narrow-mindedness, that brings myopic, short-sighted results that undermine the long-term purposes of God. Those most susceptible are ones who, as described by the opening scripture have "assumed an exaggerated opinion of their own importance;" whose attitudes are described by the folk wisdom of getting too big for their britches.
Antidotes to Snares
For the elect on the path to be the chosen, the narrow path offers a firm foundation for those who understand their boundaries; whose hearts reject the pride of life, the love of the world and the lusts of the flesh; whose ongoing interactions with the Lord recognizes the ongoing need for repentance; and who continually immerse themselves in His Word.
Defining the Boundaries. Each of us has been equipped and gifted within a specific "sphere" for the purposes for which we individually are called. Accurately defining these boundaries and avoiding presumption is imperative to maintaining the course. Within the parameters of these boundaries is great authority and potential. Outside these boundaries, not only is the potential for multiplied presumption and misfires, but regardless of the good intentions it represents an area beyond the safety net tied to being in God's will.
"We will not boast beyond our measure, but within the measure of the sphere which God apportioned to us." 2 Corinthians 10:13
Humility. While one level of humility is the absence of arrogance or pride; in God it is the recognition of our complete reliance on Him for not only what we do, but for who we are. Humility is that level of unwavering faith that recognizes that others can do little to override God's purposes in our calling; only we can. In this regard, safety is found in humility. It is the pathway to holiness, leading into the fullness of His calling on our lives; of not being subject to the snares of the soul. The translation of the opening scripture from The Message punctuates the foundation for humility.
"It's important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him." Romans 12:3 The Message
Repentance. Full repentance clears the decks of spiritual trivia, bondages, snares, judgment and curses. It is the means to bring every thought and attitude captive to the obedience of Christ; to realign our spirits with God's heart. Serious repentance, together with communion, activates the spiritual default button and opens the way when the passage has become bogged down. It is the poise of the soul of the mature.
Word Immersion. God's word is living and active and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12 NASU). Deuteronomy 17 outlines the requirement for kings to daily immerse themselves in God's word in order to prevent them from becoming proud, assuring that they treat their subjects with dignity and fairness and to avert them from turning away from God's word in the smallest way. Below is the link for a 9 chapter a day Word immersion program from my latest book, "Something More." It is for the mature. When put into practice it will begin to address each of the above purposes that Deuteronomy 17 outlines for kings.
Embracing the heart that unlocks Kingdom dominion must first ensure it avoids the type of positional deceptions, elitism and heart that perverts the authority it wields: "Under three things the earth trembles, under four it cannot bear up: a slave when he becomes king, and a fool when glutted with food; an unloved (hateful) woman when she gets a husband and a maid when she succeeds her mistress." Proverbs 30: 21-23
The king with a heart of a slave misuses authority. The leader with a heart of a fool is ruled by desires. The one in charge without love will never trust and the ruler with an oppressed heart will pervert authority. It is the outworking of these elements within leaders that congeal to produce what scripture refers to as "the bondage of corruption" or what we commonly refer to as the abuse of power.
Within today's marketplace movement is an unspoken assumption that those bearing high-calling mantles to shift dominion will come from the ranks of the achievers; with their spiritual support from a band of intercessors and spiritual advisors dedicated to their cause. Regardless of the numbers, the spiritual support of the elect will never exceed that which flows from the heart of the one called. A similar notion masking the narrow path comes from reckless prophetic support for icons, who otherwise don't reflect the spiritual maturity of the calling they espouse.
The road toward narcissism is wide, alluring and seductive. Maintaining the course of the Kingdom pathway will involve recognizing and bypassing the fine-line snares to where evil has no root. It is the prime distinction of God's chosen from that of being like everyone else.
"Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction and many are those who go in by it." Matthew 7: 13
The alignment with God's presence and heart doesn't happen overnight. It's a process that carries a cost. It follows the pathway Jesus described as narrow and difficult. Each level of this path is filled with snares of both soul and spirit. Yet, in the face of systematic adversity, it is the very passage into a level of maturity that pierces and then enters within the veil.
"When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then You knew my path. In the way in which I walk they have secretly set a snare for me." Psalm 142:3
Jesus was the forerunner of piercing this veil between soul and spirit. Reaching beyond the veil is not an option, but rather the very dimension required that separates the many called, from the few who are chosen.
"If you have run with footmen and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses? If in the land of peace in which you trusted, they wearied you then how will you do in the floodplain of the Jordan?" Jeremiah 12:5
Morris Ruddick has been a forerunner and spokesman for the call of God in the marketplace. He is author of "The Joseph-Daniel Calling;" "Gods Economy, Israel and the Nations;" "The Heart of a King;" and "Something More," which address the mobilization of business and governmental leaders called to impact their communities with God's blessings. They are available from Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com and other popular outlets.
Mr. Ruddick is also the founder of the Global Equippers Entrepreneurial Program, which imparts hope and equips economic community builders where God's light is dim in both the Western and non-Western world. To schedule a speaking engagement, sponsor a workshop, make a donation or to get more information on how you can help, contact Global Initiatives at 303.741.9000.
2011 Copyright Morris Ruddick - response@strategic-
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