I’d love to say I never lie, but the truth is, I do. I don’t really mean to, but sometimes I lie to others and sometimes to myself. I lied to my wife the other day when I told her I didn’t really care where we ate for dinner. The truth is I did care. I wanted Chinese food instead of tacos.
You might say that’s not that big of a deal, and maybe you’re right, but nevertheless, I wasn’t telling the truth, which is the definition of lying.
I lie to myself quite a bit, like when I tell myself I don’t care what other people think about me. I wish that wasn’t the case, but I do care; sometimes a lot!
I share this because it needs to be established that anyone who says they NEVER lie, is a big, fat LIAR!!! Even when the intention isn’t to deceive a person for negative reasons, or it’s for your own self-preservation, we do lie to ourselves and others from time to time.
Often the lies we tell ourselves actually come from our Enemy in a desperate attempt to derail us from being the leaders, spouses, parents, and friends God has called us to be.
I love the John Eldridge quote that sums up our lives well, “The story of your life is the story of the journey of your heart through a dangerous and beautiful world. It is the story of the long and sustained assault on your heart by the enemy who knows who you could be and fears you.”
We are under attack and one of the most effective weapons the Enemy has in attacking pastors and church leaders is lying to us (and causing us to lie to ourselves) over and over again.
A big reason this is so effective is that, as when Satan tempted Jesus in the desert, there is always a little bit of truth in the lies he tells us.
Here are 3 of the biggest lies he tells pastors every day:
1) You Are a Fraud
2) You Will Be Rejected
3) You Can Do This Alone
For the sake of readability, I’ll break each of these 3 lies into three separate posts. Let’s start with Lie #1:
Lie #1: YOU ARE A FRAUD
Although I have met a number of narcissistic pastors over the years, most pastors are secretly dealing with the fear of being found out to be a leader with significant flaws, weaknesses, and sin. Many leaders believe if they were to be “found out,” their whole ministry and world would come crashing down.
The truth is every leader does have significant flaws, weaknesses, and sin. The Enemy loves to poke at those and convince you that you should not lead with the boldness you feel God calling you to because you’re a hypocrite that doesn’t deserve to be in leadership.
Guess what? HE’S RIGHT! You, me, nor anyone else “deserves” to be in leadership. We have messed up so much in our lives, and continue to mess up every day.
Being flawed doesn’t make us a fraud. Pretending we’re not flawed and that we don’t have sin is what does.
This is one of the reasons why the Gospel is so scandalous. We don’t deserve ANYthing good, yet we get it anyway. Some suggest that this way of thinking is making being a Jesus follower “easy,” and is “watering down” the Gospel.
I will state emphatically that anything that suggests we deserve or have earned anything from God is what actually waters down the Gospel because it makes the Gospel our doing and not that of Jesus.
WHAT IF…we led our churches embracing the fact that we don’t deserve to be there and we lead trusting that God knew what he was doing when he put leadership in place? That we agree with Paul in I Cor. 12:10 that, “When I am weak, I am strong,” and lead knowing we weaken ourselves when we hide our flaws and sin?
Does this mean you go up on stage Sunday and list out all your sin and weaknesses? No, but it does mean you have some person or people in your life that have the access to know all these things.
I know this is scary stuff. The church is not known for being real gracious when less than flattering information comes out about pastors, but this is essential to pastors becoming Vibrant Leaders, and churches being BreakThru Churches that make a massive impact on the community around them.
Don’t hear this wrong, this is not a license to stay where you are as a leader, nor is it a license to sin. This is about being honest about where you are today, and leading boldly with a ruthless commitment to growing as a leader and a follower of Jesus.
Think about how amazing our churches would be if the people in them were no longer stunted in their growth due to the hiding and avoidance. That they were free to acknowledge the harsh truth of their own lives while embracing a commitment to not stay there?
This is where true spiritual growth begins and in order for this to change it must start with church leaders. The Enemy tells pastors, and everyone else this lie because he wants to disarm you by having you hide from yourself, others, and God.
It’s time to be released from this lie. If you serve in a church where you fear being open about who you are, then taking steps forward can be scary and painful. Thankfully, you are not alone.
Step one is to find someone who you can be completely honest with. If you don’t know anyone, then you need to seek one out. There are a number of resources available to provide confidential support to pastors in this place.
One option is to join a Vibrant Leader Group with other pastors who are looking for a safe environment to be honest, collaborate, and expand as leaders.