“God has arranged the parts in the Body, every one of them, just as He wanted them to be.” (I Corinthians 12:18)
The Lord establishes an unchanging truth through the Scriptures: God appoints and anoints the authority over us as we serve. We are accountable to the godly leadership appointed over us while they who have “ been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Leadership will make an account for every soul in their domain.
Every believer – and every leader – has potential to fall, to take their eyes off the Lord, to walk outside the narrow road and pursue plans conceived in the flesh. Often these plans appear ‘good’, even prosperous but, unassigned by God, they make the path a slippery slope….
At the risk of simplifying great truths, falling creates a pivotal point – to either proceed toward failure or to rise up and call out to the Lord. The Bible assures us that God can “keep us from falling” and surely keep us from failing. As His ambassadors in this world, He has a vested interest in strengthening us in service and restoring us when we fall, “The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down”.
Scriptures testify of the great faith, courage and passion in God’s chosen leaders. However, the Lord does not whitewash their disobedience and downfalls. Some fell due to unbelief such as Abraham with Hagar, yet rose up to God’s call. Some failed, even to their own demise, as they neglected ongoing warnings of God such as Sampson with Delilah. Sadly, some fell while having known – even transcribed the Word of God. Among the many beloved Psalms of David he wrote in 101, “I will walk in my house with blameless heart.” Anointed king over God’s people, he abandoned his honor during a night of lust that led to failure and worse, a deep betrayal of both man and God. From looking, to lusting, to sinning and scheming, nobody treads the waters of compromise and sin. Without repentance, sin takes you deeper than you ever thought you would go.
“You despised Me” God declared, and exacted longsuffering consequences upon King David. (II Samuel 12) The Lord’s response to betrayal by His appointed leaders is sharp and fearsome.
Christian leaders are valued trophies for hell. The devil works with great stealth as leaders are calculated targets with wide collateral destruction. Unlike sudden attacks of persecution, foundational faults in faith and character allow compromise and contamination to seep in. Godly fear, that bastion of protection, is slowly dismantled. As Pastor David Wilkerson once preached,
“Treachery starts with simple acts of disobedience.”
Once a Christian scorns the sure warnings and convictions of the Holy Spirit, he loses discernment, is increasingly given over to sin and, in the end, is capable of anything outside of God’s will. Long before the fruits of sin and compromise are ripe, “Ichabod” is fearfully decreed.
What about the misled and broken sheep who are betrayed? Leaders damage many layers of servants and innocent brethren. It is a betrayal and loss unlike anything in the world as devoted brethren turn from the world to serve the Lord. Like a betrayed spouse, evidence of infidelity often goes undetected, disbelieved, and rationalized. Spiritual manipulation is a complicated stronghold that gives birth to confusion, grief, and anger. The deep wounds of betrayal and loss often bring the servant of God to a spiritual wilderness, creating a profound crossroad of faith.
When Christian leaders fall, fail and betray, the ‘work of God’ begins to fold like a slow train crash. The rush for ‘damage control’ is futile when the Lord exposes sin and withdraws Himself from the work. But the devil must not triumph over us as plunder – the Lord awaits us in the wilderness with healing, spiritual refreshment, revival and redirection.
When leadership severs from the Headship of Christ, may the Lord strengthen us to…
- Move away from the train crash, move far from God’s chastising rod, lest we fall under similar demise
- Come together with the Body of Christ for times of fellowship and encouragement; wounded sheep who stand alone are easy prey for any wolf.
- Devote time alone with the Lord, determine to hear from Him. Believe that He is sovereign over all and awaits to share with us the ‘fellowship of His sufferings’.
We can be truly called to a ministry which later implodes from compromise, disobedience, and betrayal. Our time, our love, and our resources are not wasted or unnoticed by the King. He will water every seed we have planted and Himself raise up the intended harvest. The crushing disappointment and loss from the downfall of leadership whom we served and loved is a painful furnace from which we must cry to Jesus….
“Look upon my suffering and deliver me, for I have not forgotten your law. Defend my cause and redeem me; renew my life according to your promise.” (Psalm 119:153-154)
Let us be “confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”