Confessions of a Sinful Leader
by Joseph Franks
We have all been called to follow. Every individual is to worship Jesus Christ. He is the King of kings, Lord of lords, and Great Shepherd of the flock. He is the sovereign God who demands and deserves our unquestioned subservience.
Additionally, we have all been called to lead. All of us have been called by our Lord to influence and improve others. As a part of our calling, God gives us different offices, positions, and spheres. Some of us are called to lead governments, churches, businesses, and schools. Others are called to lead student-body organizations, civic clubs, home-owner associations, wives, children, grandchildren, younger siblings, sports teams, music ensembles, and peer groups. Yet, despite our varying personalities, skills, and positions, all of us have been called to influence, improve, and lead. We are all to spend spend ourselves making disciples. This is our great commission from our great leader.
As followers and leaders, we all need to repent. Through sins of omission and commission, we have erred in three ways:
We have not loved and followed Jesus as we ought.
We have loved ourselves more than we ought.
We have not loved and led others as we ought.
As a husband, father, minister, and coach, this has become very apparent to me. Therefore, allow me to go first in confessing my sins. Perhaps my personal commentary and prayer will assist you in confessing your sins and stepping up as one called to follow and lead.
I know in my head and heart that you are my holy and sovereign Lord. You have all power, wisdom, and authority. You deserve all a never ceasing display of reverence, affection, and worship from me. In my life, there are to be no competing gods or idols. You are to be my greatest influencer. You are to be always first and foremost on my mind. Anything less that such single-minded devotions, allegiance, and obedience is devilish folly.
Additionally, I recognize my calling from you. You are the one who has made me, sculpted me, planted me, and gifted me to be a leader. The “making of disciples” is my business. I am called to spend myself teaching, influencing, motivating, and directing people to you, your Gospel, and your wisdom.
However, that which I know and that which I do are not synonymous.
First, I have insufficient love and reverence for you. I come to you when I think it is in my best interest, and then I forget about you. My gaze is not constantly upon you. Because you are not first and foremost in my affections, I am a most sinful follower and leader.
Second, I have loved and served myself much more than I ought. I have a narcissistic addiction. I have a constant tendency to do whatever is best for me in any and every situation. I am much more like Lucifer than I care to admit.
Third, because I love myself, my pleasure, and my goals so much, I constantly use my neighbors as tools to glorify me. Through sins of commission and omission, I consider myself better than my brothers. If sinful anger serves my interest, then it will be displayed. If sinful passivity achieves the desired results, I will sit on my hands and hold my tongue. Sadly, I am more of a manipulator than a minister. Truthfully, I am much more concerned with my own well-being than I am the well-being of those you have called me to love, influence, inspire, and lead. I love you too little. I love my neighbors too little. I love me too much. Therefore, I am horribly sinful in following you and leading others.
However, right now, I recognize, rejoice in, and run towards the King of kings and Lord of lords who is my Wonderful, Merciful Savior. Foreseeing my rebellion and false worship, you came to earth for the purpose of earning my merit and paying for my demerit. You took care of my failure to follow and my leadership transgressions. It is through absolutely no merit of my own, but only through your servant-leadership that I am made whole and declared to be a saintly follower and leader. I do not have to perform; you did so for me. I do not have to get my act together; you did so for me. I am sinful; I am condemned. However, I am also forgiven and set free.
Consequently, I am now ready to respond in worship. Please fill me afresh with your Holy Spirit and lead me in your righteousness.
Help me to sense your unwavering affection. May I find all the acceptance I need from you. Teach me to say with the Psalmist, “The Lord is my Shepherd; I lack nothing.”
Help me to follow you. Work in me a greater affection for you. Purge my heart; may there be no competitors before my face. Grant me wisdom to think your thoughts after you. Then, Grant me a greater passion to follow your wise precepts. Oh, teach me to hate iniquity and folly. Be thou my vision!
Help me to love myself less. May the humble mind of Christ Jesus be more and more manifest in me. May I think of myself less. May my preferences take a very distant third to the worship of God and wellbeing of those whom I have been called to influence and lead.
Help me to love and lead others as I ought. May I be wise and scriptural. May I be bold and gracious. Keep me from arrogance. Keep me from cowardice. May I fear you so much that there is no fear left for my neighbor. Help me to be like you — the one who took up his cross. Help me to be like you — the one who took up his towel. Help me to be like you — the great lover who died for his friends.
Lord, this is my confession. I am a sinner.
Lord, this is my condition. You have made me a saintly follower and leader.
Lord, this is my calling. Assist me to do your will.
Pastor, Palmetto Hills Presbyterian Church