"Those who lead the church are marked by a willingness to give up personal preferences, to surrender legitimate and natural desires for the sake of Christ." J. Oswald Sanders wrote those words in relation to the quality of self-sacrifice that he says is necessary for the spiritual leader. I don't disagree with him. In fact, I think it's also a necessary sacrifice for the person who calls himself a follower of Christ. The call of Christ is a call to death, and we who live in church world have done a disservice to church goers by making it too easy to be a follower of Christ. Yes, the invitation to follow Christ seems simple enough: Follow, Trust, Obey; but ultimately the call to Christ is a call to death – nothing less. That's what Jesus meant when He said, "take up your cross and follow me." The invitation to follow Christ requires a new perspective on life. In Luke 14, Jesus states that a person should weigh the cost of being His follower before joining the ranks. It's a challenging commitment, and it requires sacrifice. It requires laying down one's own will for the God's will. It requires recognizing that God doesn't exist for us but that we exist for Him. We are not here for our glory; we are here for His. The spiritual leader cannot make leadership about himself. Rather, he must be willing to surrender his desires for the desires of the Lord.
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Seth is a pastor, author, and speaker who lives in Batesville, Indiana. He is married to Kari, and they have two daughters, Madelyn and Noelle.