The Search of Kings welcomes this months contributing blogger, Rev. Ryan French of Jonesboro, GA. where he is the Assistant Pastor at Apostolic Tabernacle, pastored by Rev. Talmadge French. You can check more of his articles at http://www.ryanafrench.com
The Bible emphatically declares that the meek will inherit the earth (Mark 5:5). As many before me have pointed out, meekness is not weakness. In fact, meekness can only be actuated from a place of inner strength. We might even say that meekness grows in the garden of godly confidence. Make no mistake, although we are to avoid pride like the Ebola virus, ministers must walk in confidence.
A quick biblical study of the word confidence produces a wealth of commands, such as Proverbs 14:26, which states, “In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence, and his children will have refuge.” Our confidence is not built upon ourselves, but rather, upon our faith in God.
It took confidence for Moses to stand before Pharaoh. It took confidence for Joshua to march his army around an impenetrable city. It took confidence for Elijah to challenge the prophets of Baal. It took confidence for Gideon to send thousands of able-bodied soldiers home. It took confidence for Noah to build an ark having never seen it rain. It took confidence for a fisherman to preach on the Day of Pentecost. It took confidence for Paul to plant dozens of churches in unfriendly environments. The list could go on and on, but you get the point.
We are using the word confidence because it is almost interchangeable with the word faith. Faithful confidence is the antithesis of insecurity. We know that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Without faith, mountains will remain firmly planted (Matthew 17:20). Without faith, revival will not occur, chains will not be broken, and the work of the Kingdom of will be diminished. And yet, ministers are often afflicted with insecurity and plagued by depression.
If I sound judgmental or accusatory it is certainly not my intention. As I have outlined in a previous article (Ministerial Depression – And How to Handle It), ministerial depression is usually a direct result of ministerial insecurity.
It may sound strange, but the first step to overcoming insecurity and discouragement is knowing that you’re not alone. As a cursory examination of the Psalms makes clear, almost every great man of God in Scripture face strong feelings of discouragement.
Even Jesus had moments of intense frustration that could easily be described as discouragement. How else would you describe weeping and lamentation over a faithless people (Luke 19:41-44)? Elijah literally watched fire fall from heaven only to enter into a severe season of discouragement. Gideon worked while hiding from the Midianites and scoffed when the angel called him a mighty man of valor. He was so discouraged that even angelic visitation didn’t invigorate him immediately.
Biblical examples aside, you may look across town and assume that other ministers are floating on air without a care in the world. Nothing could be further from the truth! They have their own problems, failures, obstacles, and fears you may never see. In fact, the higher you go within any leadership paradigm the more terrifying the view. If you’re mountain climbing the higher you go the more success you achieve, but you’re also facing new complexities and dangers at the same time. In fact, the danger becomes palpable.
With that in mind, comparison is often the culprit that ignites ministerial insecurity. My friend Mark Brown says:
A spirit of comparison comes from a spirit of competition, and competition comes from a prideful desire to be better than others. God resists the proud.
When we are proud, God resists us, and the cycle of insecurity and discouragement begin all over again. Prideful comparison is fundamentally ungodly and always leads to unnecessary discouragement. Remember when David disobeyed God and took a census of the people for the sake of comparison? It stirred God’s immediate anger. Resist comparison at all times!
Similarly, the pressure to compromise and the pressure to produce also creates insecurity. I have noticed a disturbing trend where preachers approach ministry like a business and pastors approach their people much like a corporate CEO.
While ministry does benefit from secular leadership skills, often utilizing aspects of business and sometimes sharing the common traits of coaching, it cannot be confined within such worldly paradigms. Trying to do so produces dissidence, dissatisfaction, spiritual anemia, and insecurity.
For example, if you measure spiritual success purely in terms of numbers, spreadsheets, and bottom lines you will always fall short. If you measure the success of a worship experience purely by talent, ambiance, and skill you will always be less than something or someone else. If you are led by trends, social winds, surveys, and opinions rather than convictions, doctrines, values, and timeless principles you will never lead with confidence.
Godly leaders understand that God does not measure success in the same way that businesses measure success. It isn’t just about filling buildings, maximizing bank accounts or putting on slick productions. No, ministry is about righteousness, truth, anointing, changed lives, transformed hearts, and a right relationship with God and others. I would rather have a storefront church with two genuinely saved souls than a mega church full of lost tithers. So the next time you feel the pressure to compromise for the sake of “so called” success, remember, God does not measure success in the same way the carnal mind measures success.
With that in mind, one of the greatest deceptions of our time is the idea that compromise produces growth. When apostolic ministers accept this lie, publicly or secretly, they lead from a position of insecurity. They live with the same Grasshopper Complex articulated by the ten spied when they told Moses the Promise Land was unconquerable (Numbers 13). In other words, they were defeated without ever going into battle. That’s the real tragedy of insecurity; we are defeated in our own minds before even attempting to accomplish what God has called us to accomplish.
Flashes of insecurity are not sinful nor are they unusual, but living insecure becomes toxic. Prolonged insecurity is really a reflection of an inner lack of faith in God’s power, purpose, plan, and process.
Proverbs 3:5-75 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.