My sermon went well that Sunday morning. Even as I delivered it, there was a palpable sense that the congregation was hanging on to every word. Afterward, I was washed by a sense of satisfaction that God had used me to bless His people. But was that all? Disturbingly, I also detect the swelling of pride within my sinful heart. Indeed, every Christian leader wages an incessant battle with such feelings.
Scholars and leadership experts have pinpointed hubris as one malignant manifestation of the dark side of leadership. The word hubris originated from ancient Greece. In Greek mythology, the term was used to denote a person who is so cocky as attempting to breach human limitations to be god-like. In the end, the gods would humble such a person, reminding him of his frailty.
The Bible says that “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). This is not surprising when we consider that “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6).
Some argue that desiring to be a leader is, in itself, a symptom of hubris. This is certainly possible, especially given the reality that our motives are mixed even at their very best. Yes, we desire to glorify God, but we don’t mind a bit of praise by the people we lead.
This implies that for a Christian leader, avoiding the pitfall of hubris is a life-long struggle. We must always go back to the fundamentals of the faith. It is by the grace of God alone that we have been saved. That same grace is why we are in a position of leadership. It is God who ultimately decides who will lead, whether in the ministry or secular context.
“Oh Heavenly Father, grant me the sensitivity to detect the risings of hubris in my heart. Enable me to reject the siren-call of self-glorification. Instead, keep me near the cross, focused on my Lord and Savior”. To Him be the glory forever!
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