We are looking at six critical questions relating to leadership evaluation:
1. Have you given yourself “permission” to compromise privately?
Bill Clinton became famous for claiming that what he did in private was his own business. That may be somewhat true for unbelievers, but it’s not true for real Christians. Oswald Chambers powerfully refutes the idea that you can keep separate public and private lives: “My worth to God in public is what I am in private.” Your true spiritual condition is not seen in public but in the dark, where no one else can see. Who you are and what you do behind closed doors, in your private chambers, is the REAL you.
History is full of examples of Christians who began to secretly live in sin, all the while maintaining their public ministry. And the scary thing is that God will sometimes continue to use a compromised vessel. He more or less worked through King Saul’s backslidden leadership for decades. Samson was a compromised leader who would show up to minister in public and enjoyed the familiar anointing and aid from the Holy Spirit. Samson and those like him may be tempted to think that God is not too concerned about their secret sins. This is a fatal mindset. Look at the sad ending of Samson: eyes gouged out and humiliated like a beast.
From Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker to Ted Haggard and Paul Cain, we’ve all observed the trouble that maintaining a secret life of sin can create. In years past I attended meetings where Haggard and Cain ministered. Apparently, they were secretly living in serious sin at the time. I would have never guessed it, because they were still being mightily used by God to bring real blessing to the lives of the people.
Paul said it this way, “Do not be deceived, God will not be mocked. Whatever you sow you will reap. He who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life. He who sows to the flesh will reap destruction.” (Gal. 6:9) Have you been secretly compromising with sin? Better confess it and forsake it before God openly judges it! If you need help, then humble yourself and get it.
If this question fits you, then here’s some follow-up advice:
- The first thing to do is get radically honest about your sin. Have you really confessed this to God, in all its ugliness? (Don’t call it by some other name, call it what God calls it.) Take time right now to confess your sins to God. Ask Him to grant a deep repentance to you. Humbly believe and receive the cleansing power of Jesus’ blood.
- Is your particular struggle with this/these sin(s) only periodic or has it become chronic bondage? If it’s the latter, you will likely need to immediately involve some trusted mature believer or counselor. Who do you know that walks in humility and purity, that you could meet with and get honest with? Call them now and set up a meeting.
- Many times unresolved interpersonal conflict results in resentment and bitterness in a believer’s heart. Where such strife exists there is an “open door” for every evil thing (see James 3:16). Do you hold resentment in your heart toward anyone? You must forgive them. (A good resource in this area is Total Forgiveness, by R.T. Kendall)