This is the third in a series of posts( click here for lesson one and two) discussing the 5 most valuable leadership lessons by guest blogger Martha Lawley , author of Attending the Bride of Christ: Preparing For His Return. Perhaps this lesson on self reliance will hit close to home for you as it did for me!
The 5 leadership lessons include:
1. Leadership is a Calling
2. Leadership is Dynamic and Can be Messy
3. Beware of Self Reliance
4. God is in the Business of Restoration
5. Comparing Ourselves to Others gets in the Way of Following God
Today let’s take a look at # 3: Beware of Self Reliance
Peter’s pride seemed to grow as quickly as the crowds following Jesus. Although Peter had experienced some ups and downs, his stubborn self-reliance continued to be a driving force in his leadership. Surely Jesus handpicked Peter for this leadership position because He knew Peter was up to the task. Right?
In Matthew 26: 31-35, Jesus speaks of His imminent betrayal. In response Peter proudly proclaims, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will!” (Verse 33) Even when Christ tells him of the denials to come, Peter self confidently responds, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” (Verse 35)
What was the real problem here? It’s not that Peter was insincere – he was very sincere even passionate. The problem was that Peter was relying on himself – building himself up – even declaring his love for Jesus to be greater than the other disciples.
What Peter lacked was humility –an accurate understanding of his own human limitations and his desperate need for God. Luke tells us (Luke 22:31-32) that Satan had ask permission to sift Peter and that Jesus said He was praying for Peter. Yet there is no indication that Peter acknowledged the danger of Satan’s intentions or the power of Jesus’ offer of prayer support!
How often do we ignore God’s warning and His powerful provision – His offer of strength and encouragement? Instead we rush off in our own power and strength. This is the danger of self reliance and why God is so interested in growing our dependence on Him. We will never be able to fulfill our calling on our own power.
In spite of his passionate promises, Peter denied Christ 3 times. Peter learned an important lesson that night. He came to the end of his own resources. He now knew without a doubt he could not live up to his own promises or live out his calling under his own power. He needed to depend on God!
It was precisely the lesson Peter needed to learn before he would be ready to follow Jesus to the next stage of his calling! The same lesson you and I need to continually learn and re-learn as well. We cannot go where God wants to lead us on our own power!