Many people will link the desire to lead with a mindset of pride. I believe this is a false interpretation. However, it does not matter what I believe. Let me conclude this brief series on having a platform by looking at a couple of verses in the Bible related to desire.
Before I look at the verses though, let me clarify that desire can lead to pride. And pride can be the result of desire. However, can is different than will. Perhaps it is rare when the two are not bound together, but they do not have to be. After all, the Bible is clear that God is opposed to pride and arrogance (e.g. 1 Peter 5.5-6). But the Bible also makes a clear distinction between desire and sin. Thus, if pride is sin and a distinction is made between desire and sin, then desire and pride must have some difference.
A key passage in my understanding is 1 Timothy 3.1. The verse reads, “The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.”
Two words in that sentence are critical to the discussion here: aspire and desires. To aspire has the sense of desiring greatly or being ambitious about something. To desire is to strongly want something. And these words are said, in context, about leading the church.
Of course, many other characteristics are provided in the verses to follow (specifically verse 2-7). But people often confuse the idea of being desirous and being humble.
Again, the idea of this post is a desire for a platform. But to desire to lead a church is, in effect, to have some platform. And as I have stated over the previous two posts, all of us have some type of platform – whether it is with one person or with many.
So, to desire to have a platform is not wrong; it is the intent we have with our platform that can bring trouble. That is the essence of a second verse to review today.
James 1.14 says, “but each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.” The passage goes on to say that such a desire can lead to sin.
So, the difference is what is the basis for our desire? Or what might the desire lead us to over time?
Going back to the office of overseer (1 Timothy 3.1), some may desire such a position to have (or exert) authority over people. As a leader, some authority rightfully exists. However, the idea is not to be authoritarian; rather, it is to be a protector and a servant to the people of the church.
Thus, it is not the desire of the position that matters, it is the desires within us and what we might do with the position that matters. And that is why a distinction can, and must, be made in relation to having the desire for something and allowing that desire to lead to sin.
And that idea brings me back to the idea of having a platform.
I mentioned last week that this subject is near to my heart because my platform is, seemingly, about to increase. I have already conducted a few interviews for the podcast I am launching and, if future interviews go as well, I believe this podcast can be very beneficial for churches. I desire that to be the case. Jesus said, “I will build my church,” but He invites us to be a part of that building – both as the materials He uses to construct the church and as those performing the labor to construct it.
I want (desire!) to be a part of that process. I aspire to be used. But I do not want those aspirations to lead me down the wrong path.
Thankfully, I have many people around me who I believe will keep me focused. But that does not mean that I will not stumble or fall. I must realize that if God does use this forthcoming podcast* it is for His glory and only in His time.
*The podcast is called Christian Educator Weekly and can be found at www.christianeducatorweekly.com. I had originally hoped to launch in early October, but we are now setting the target date for the first episode on Monday, November 4, 2019. Beginning, January 1, 2020, it is expected to be a weekly podcast with a hybrid format of interviews (primarily) and personal teachings on various issues related to Christian education and church administration.
To conclude this brief series, let me remind all of us that having a platform is not wrong. I cannot say that I desire the potential platform in front of me. But I do desire to make a difference for God and His kingdom. This podcast is the latest, and possibly, the greatest, avenue He has given me to date. But having the platform and even desiring such a platform is not what makes one prideful. One’s pride is revealed over time by what s/he does with the platform s/he has been given.
Again, we all have some type of platform. That is, we all have influence over someone. So, let our desires be for the good of others. We can have aspirations. We can have desires. We should have goals.
But let those goals ultimately be for the glory of God, not for yourself. If you and I learn to do that, we will look back and realize that we have properly lived in, not of, the world.