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Posted by on Nov 28, 2012 in Inspirational, Leadership | 2 comments

Keys to Avoid Moral Failure

Keys to Avoid Moral Failure

There’s nothing that troubles my heart more than watching a spiritual leader morally collapse.  It brings such a wide-range of emotions.  I feel for the people who looked up to the leader.  I feel for the community that was supposed to be reached by those people.  I feel for the leader, their family, their calling.  I feel for myself.  ‘If it could happen to him, what about me?’  I get sad.  I get angry.  I feel loss.  But then, I quickly develop a sense of resolve.  ‘This doesn’t have to happen.’

Leaders don’t just spontaneously-combust.  That’s just how it looks the moment we hear about it.  The truth is that the seeds of that public failure were quietly sown long before they produced public fruit.  Those seeds were nurtured in an environment that allowed them to grow undetected.  Then, at the opportune moment (for our enemy), the disgusting fruit produced after the very kind of disgusting seed it came from.  Had the seed only been identified and destroyed, we would still be benefiting from all the good things these leaders have to offer.

What about you and me?  Will we identify the seeds of corruption in our own lives before they take root and destroy our lives?  No one else can do it for you.  Most people will never even know your secret battles unless some public fruit is displayed.  So, here are some tips to take with you into your personal struggle with evil.  By the way, if you want to win that battle, YOU WILL.  So don’t worry about it.  Just commit to smash those nasty seeds and cultivate the good seeds that Jesus has already sown into you!

Keys to Avoid Moral Failure (Click to Tweet)

1.) Make it Personal.  It’s easy to exist in a community – even a Christian community – without ever personally engaging with God.  It is totally awesome to go to church every week and to attend prayer meetings and small groups.  Do that and also spend alone time with God.  I’ve found it’s possible to put on a great show in front of other people even when you’re silently slipping away on the inside.  If you’re always with others, you may even convince yourself that everything is fine.  I’ve also found that it is impossible to seek out one on one time with God and not immediately be confronted with your true state.  Don’t be afraid of that.  That confrontation is the beginning of setting everything back on course.

2.) Honor the Word.  I’ve noticed that I don’t hear my kids anymore.  Years ago I started tuning out all their play noises so I could focus on other things.  As a result, I occasionally don’t even notice when one of my kids is standing right in front of me asking for something.  Terrible, right?   Consider how we do that with God’s Word.  The more we get used to hearing the Word and not acting, the less sensitive we become to it.  Eventually, the very tool He gave us to help us grow toward Him is useless to us.  Honor the Word and He will always be able to speak to you through it.

3.) Have Quality Conversations.  Genuine relationships with other people are a powerful tool for staying on track.  The problem is most of us don’t take advantage of those relationships.  We prefer to keep conversation surface-level and about others.  What if you found one person this week and created a quality conversation, one where you talk about what God has speaking to you about in the Word and in your time with Him? Going public with what God is challenging you with is a powerful tool.  Don’t waste your relationships on gossip and pop culture.  Mix in some quality.

4.) Be Under Authority.  Each of us need someone looking out for us that we’re accountable to.  Lone-rangering is a recipe for moral compromise.  Justifying your actions, behaviors, whereabouts and words to someone else may seem like extra work, but it’s worth it.  Just the process will help you avoid traps and self-deception.

5.) Focus.  With everything else covered, all that’s really left is to focus on doing what God has called you to do.  That won’t leave you with much time for any nonsense.  Assuming you’re putting to practice these other keys, simply being where you’re supposed to be when you’re supposed to be there will keep you on track most of the time.

What about you?  What keys have you found for avoiding moral failure?

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Posted by on Aug 22, 2012 in Inspirational | 1 comment

Values don’t matter…until they cost you something.

Values don’t matter…until they cost you something.

It’s very easy for us to sit on our high-horse and look down on the moral failures of the corrupt.  It’s much more difficult for us to put ourselves in their shoes and still be willing to pay the price that it would have cost them to live by the right values.  The truth is that our values don’t mean a hill of beans until we have to give up something to live by them.

There is no sense in priding ourselves on our values until they’ve been tested.  A commitment to financial integrity doesn’t mean anything until you’re presented with a shady opportunity that could help you out of a tight spot.  A commitment of faithfulness to your spouse doesn’t mean anything until you’re tempted during a rough patch in your marriage.  Values don’t matter until they cost you something.

Here are 5 keys to living by your values:

1.) Be black and white.  When it comes to values, grey areas are not helpful.  You need clear lines that you’re committed not to cross.  The more clear the lines are, the more clarity you’ll have when they’re tested.  It’s OK (and healthy) to reassess your values from time to time, but don’t leave questions about values lingering.  You don’t want to be faced with a decision and not have clear values to help guide you.

2.) Ground your values.  Your values are only as good as their source.  If you’ve based your values on the way you feel or think about something then your values will shift when you feel or think differently.  If you base your values on something unchanging, you can rely on them to help guide you even when you’re an emotional wreck.  Ground your values in the Word of God.  Besides being unchanging, God’s Word is also true.  You can trust that living by Biblical values will yield great success in whatever you do.

3.) Write them down and review them weekly.  Not only does this help you make your values more black and white, but it keeps them in front of you every week.  Simply reviewing what’s most important for you to live by will quickly expose the opposing opportunities that present themselves.

4.) Start small and early.  Simply put, if you don’t make small sacrifices for your values today then you won’t make large sacrifices later.  Take back the office supplies you brought home.  Stop flirting with the receptionist.  Be generous even if you only have a little.  Go home and be with your family.  Make the small choices today and you’ll have trained yourself to make big choices tomorrow.  And when you do, write it down in a journal.  Go back and reflect on how much better your life was because you gave up something for your values.  This will encourage you in the future.

5.) Use Visioning.  This might sound scary at first, but it’s really no big deal.  All I’m saying is “see yourself” in a tempting situation and “watch yourself” make the right decisions.  There is no need for the first tests of your values to be in real life.  We have amazing imaginations.  I have faced all kinds of situations in my mind long before ever facing them in reality.  Because I had already “experienced” the moment, it was easy to stick to my values when the situation was real.

Are values important to you?  Where do they come from and how do you live by them?

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