If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land~ 2nd Chronicles 7:14
We live in an age of extreme and sometimes bizarre contradictions. Some are amusing, others are puzzling, and a few are rather troubling:
For the first time in human history places exist where it is possible to be both overfed and undernourished.
Most organizations striving for equality for women refuse to recognize the right of unborn woman to be born.
Those who report spending the most time “connected” to social media sites are also the most likely to report feeling “lonely” and “disengaged” from others.
Leadership is yet another arena of inconsistencies and absurdities. A recent and rather hasty Amazon search for “leadership books” netted a whopping 185,460 results. Leadership seminars and conferences have become virtually ubiquitous and every high school student in America is required to take at least one leadership class in order to graduate. Leadership is the current buzzword and yet good leaders are getting tougher and tougher find.
The sad state of leadership in our culture is most clearly seen in the political realm. Many of the “leaders” who are running for President tell lies on a fairly consistent basis. Few are above stooping to dirty tricks to win an election. One frontrunner will likely be indicted on federal charges and the other is being sued for fraud. Few of the officials who presently hold office are any better. Almost none of them have done what they promised to do; fewer still are humble enough to own up to their lack of accomplishment.
The political realm is not the only arena where leadership is sadly lacking. Both male and female teachers are frequently dismissed from their positions for having sex with the students they were paid to lead. Sports, movie, and music icons are eager to take the material blessings and notoriety that come with celebrity. However, few are prepared to use those blessings to benefit others or lead kids in a wholesome direction. Some of the vilest offenders of common decency have stated categorically that they “are not role models.”
Leadership is an issue in many churches as well. There are an appalling number of Christian leaders who live lives of duplicity, preaching love and righteousness from the pulpit and mistreating people or viewing porn when they think no one is watching. However, incidents of obvious sin are not the only issue creating chaos in our churches.
Many “leaders” in our churches are so averse to saying anything that might possibly be construed as offensive, or hurt someone’s feelings that little of substance is actually said. Christians have bought into the lie that it’s the Holy Spirit’s job to do ALL the convicting and challenging.
Conviction, or the awareness that we have done wrong, is the natural outcome of exposure to spiritual truth (Acts 26:20, 2nd Timothy 4:2). Too many churches seem to have set the bar at simply transforming sinners into nicer people, rather than leading them to a radical change of thinking about life and God that leads to repentance and transformation.
It is correct that the Holy Spirit is the only one actually capable of radically transforming an individual heart. However, Christians have an obligation to give Him something of substance He can work with as He does the work of persuading people of their need for change.
The muddled state of leadership in our world ought to give us all pause. If history is repeated (it usually is) our future will likely be rather grim. Typically following a period of corrupt leadership and cultural anarchy, strict, autocratic and sometimes even fascist leadership rises from the ashes of cultural decay.
It’s not too late. Change is still possible, but it won’t come easy. Christians need to be the leaders they want to see. We cannot be anything or do anything of any substance without God’s leadership, help and mercy. It is time for Christians everywhere to to pray and seek the face of God. Don’t pray that God changes the world; rather, pray that He changes us so we can change the world.