The Proud Leader

We’ve all heard stories of people headed for greatness but ended badly – presidents, CEOs, movie stars, sports personalities, pastors – did something foolish and caused their career of greatness to plummet to the ground. Why would they risk it all. Did they not count the cost? What can I learn so i do not fall into the same error in my season? Many here are in positions of leadership, some are destined for greatness, many are young and your day is yet to come.

Read 2 Chapter 26

King Uzziah. Good Godly king who led his nation to wealth and became exceedingly powerful. His star rose high. But this power led to his downfall. See 2 Chronicles 26:1-23. He was a great king who rose, tenth king after Solomon, in terms of fame and personal wealth, only Solomon was greater than him. He restored a city called Elath, a strategic naval base, base for copper smelting – instrumental to bringing Judah to its economic future, a great feather in his cap. Zachariah the priest was a personal friend and adviser who instructed him in the fear of the Lord. He defeated major enemy cities and rebuilt them to subjugate the Philistines. He routed Israel’s enemies, Arabs and Philistines. Personally oversaw major construction projects. He was a great great Israelite king but his pride led to his downfall. He entered the temple to burn incense. It took Azariah with 80 courageous priests to confront him but he was so powerful, no individual could confront him. He lost his temper, then got struck with leprosy, lived in isolation and died a leper.

He started well, then came tumbling down. Just like Samson who had a spirit of entitlement. Here, it is Uzziah’s pride.

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Three Fathers of Pride

  1. Child of Power – When power builds up, pride follows quickly behind, like a young son following his father – chances are that the the more powerful you are, the more likely you are to struggle with pride.
  2. Child of Wealth – Where wealth builds, pride follows.
  3. Child of Success – Accomplishments bring pride

Deutronomy. 8:10-18

” When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. 11 Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. 12 Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, 13 and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, 14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 15 He led you through the vast and dreadful desert, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. 16 He gave you manna to eat in the desert, something your fathers had never known, to humble and to test you so that in the end it might go well with you. 17 You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” 18 But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.”

You may be young today, but you have the pieces in place, education, industriousness, vision – as wealth multiplies, pride follows quickly behind.

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What Does Pride Look Like?

  • Spotty prayer life – suggests I’m not actively relying on God – don’t really depend on Him, I can get it done on my own
  • Weariness – doing more than God intends for you to do, living on the verge of burn-out – not letting him order my day
  • Break the sabbath – Need to get our tasks done when God says rest
  • Anger – not trusting God’s sovereign plan and timing, i want to take control and I want to wrestle control from His hand so I can do them in my time my way
  • Critical Spirit – bringing others down so i can lift myself up – laughing at other’s mistakes
  • Pride is a negative reaction to criticism, despondency about failure, taking myself too seriously. Thinking
  • Boasting about my success and accomplishments, losing sight of God’s graciousness
  • Impatience – at having to wait to listen, serve or be led by others – overdeveloped sense of importance
  • Unwillingness to associate with those of lowly means (Rom 12:16 – Do not be proud, but be willing to associate…)

God Hates pride. It comes before a fall. It a personal affront to God. When he sees it He reacts / God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. When he sees pride, he will bring it down.

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Why?

Pride leads to a place where I say I don’t need God any more, I can do it anymore. It is at the heart of sin – living your life without acknowledging God’s sovereignty over it.

Psalms 10:4-6

“In his pride the wicked does not seek him;
in all his thoughts there is no room for God.
His ways are always prosperous;
he is haughty and your laws are far from him;
he sneers at all his enemies.
He says to himself, “Nothing will shake me;
I’ll always be happy and never have trouble.”

Uzziah’s pride broke out into the open. In itself, he wanted a good thing, but in doing it he contravened God’s laws. He could say, ‘I’m the king, I can do what I want. rules don’t apply to me’. When the priest confronted him, he did not acknowledge his wrong. he was angry. Maybe if he had not been struck with leprosy, their lives might have been endangered. His illness made him unclean and he could not present himself in temple ever again. He had to rule through his son as all the trappings of power were stripped from him and God brought him down and he was not buried with the rest of the kings because of leprosy. Yet he had walked with God and had a personal mentor.

What can pride do to you and I? How do you nip pride in the bud so that you do not fall from it?

Many of us believe we are not proud, and as such, we do not guard our hearts against pride. In fact we live like pride will never be an issue for me. When it settles on us, it may be at a terrible place because you are blind to it and don’t see it.

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Illustration/Analogy – Tight rope walkers, dizzying height but they always have these three things in place;

1) Balancing Pole

To walk the tight-rope of power and success needs a spirit of Humility. As God raises you up, you must fight the battle in your heart to remain humble. In Deuteronomy 17:18-20 when Israel asks for a king;

18 When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the priests, who are Levites. 19 It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the LORD his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees 20 and not consider himself better than his brothers and turn from the law to the right or to the left. Then he and his descendants will reign a long time over his kingdom in Israel.

That king must cultivate humility by staying close to God’s word / read my law on a daily basis so he can remain humble / he must also write it down to reinforce it into memory. Also, count the cost of our decisions as a leader. Many times, leaders develop and follow their own rules, try make unilateral decisions.

 

2) Cable

What can hold us if the pole doesn’t work? Anchor points

i) A loving critic – a friend who is not impressed by you or fooled by your pretenses and behaviour. Deeply committed but brutally honest. Doesn’t buy into your hype and tells you like it is. It it important you give them;

a) Immediate access to yourself – can walk into your space anytime without notice
b) Give them permission to speak, can say anything you need to hear
c) Security of tenure – you will tire of them when you become proud and they are honest

ii) Spiritual Mentor – Uzziah had a spiritual mentor – yet maybe he wasn’t there during the whole life of Uzziah. When he was there, he counseled him.

iii) A Lightning Rod – Allows you to arrest the negative energy of leadership and power into the ground. Somewhere you can pour out your pent up anger and hostility so it does not do damage. They can just listen honestly so that it doesn’t’ spill out into the wrong places

 

3)Safety Net

We need to be quick to repent. It is given for man to err, and we will make mistakes and do foolish things, and become full of pride. But with a heart quick to repent, it can save the day. The difference between Uzziah and David is when confronted of sin (and David’s was a bigger sin), David broke down and confessed and repented. Even though punished, God forgave him. When Uzziah was confronted, he riled in his pride, and he was judged harshly.

Psalms. 51:17

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

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If you’re tight rope is only 10m off the ground, you still need a pole and an anchor point and a net underneath, even if you have not risen high. If you have not come into greatness yet, this is the time to put those things into place. One day you will rise much much higher, you will not break a leg, you will die. As you rise, keep ensuring your balancing pole is long enough, and correct. Keep ensuring your anchor points can hold you in place, and your net is not 495m down there, but they have risen with you, so that essential people and skills are always with you at your level.

Download the audio or play here;

Or watch the video here;

02 The Proud Leader (Legends Of the Fall) from Mavuno Church on Vimeo.

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16 Responses to “The Proud Leader”

  1. This was enlightening for me. I loved how you broke the the signs that we should watch out for on being proud. Thank you Pastor Oscar and May the Lord shower his blessing upo your life and your family

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  2. thekenyannutcase Says:

    that was a *DEADLY* sermon!!!!loved it especially the three analogy.will def remember this 🙂

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  3. I am still in awe of Pastor Oscar’s sermon and preaching style. I can see why he receives a lot of praise from Pastor M & Carol.

    Sometime in 2007, I drove to the South C Sports Club after being pressured by a friend to attend a “funky church service” called Mavuno. The hangover that I had was extreme and even the chewing gum that I bought at the kiosks near the club were not helping clear the stale alcohol odour!

    As usual, I slipped into the hall and sat right at the back far away from anyone lest they notice my liquor odour. It was church so I did my best to look holy. A dark guy in a suit randomly walked in and pulled a seat and sat next to me. I wondered why “next to me” but well, life went on.

    A service leader (not sure which one) then asked the thing I dreaded most. “Please speak to your neighbour and discuss the question of the day!” Crap! I hated that part of the sermon! I am a melancholic so strangers were not my thing!

    The guy in the suit next to me gives me his contribution to the question! I give him a reply but unwillingly because I still have the alcohol stench plus his reply to the question was on point and intellectual. He’d think am a sore looser with the alcohol fumes I was emitting.

    After that was over, I was full of relief! Now to the sermon… Pastor M walks to the dias and just before he starts preaching, he says, “I hear from the ushers that Pastor Oscar has been seen around but he is just passing by. I know you want to go Pastor Oscar, but please just stand from wherever you are and wave to the congregation.”

    Guess who stood up? The guy in the suit next to me!!!! What??? I wanted the earth to swallow me but oh well, the die was cast! He waved to the crowd and left.

    I was a random guy then, and am now plugged into Mavuno currently leading in Hatua and working on a Frontline Initiative – Kaka Vasafi (more details to follow)!

    “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

    Viva Daisy (Maono), Viva Pastor M and Viva Pastor Oscar!

    God bless you all!

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    • Awesome! That is what our mighty God can do to an individual that is willing to say ‘Yes’ to Him. You testimony has touched me …Long live Mavuno!

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  4. Just wondering, is it possible to just upload the sermon without the service leading team part?

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    • King'ori J. Maina Says:

      Yes, it is. Will do that from next week.

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    • The sermons(leadership teachings) are great and definitely will anchor our leadership skills and faith.My comment is not on the sermon series but rather on the media team.
      I have been following the sermons on the net and also through the dvd’s. I have noted that they only show the speaker from opening to end-there is no attempt to show the congregation or the environment of event.Its like the presenter speaking to an empty hall.I think it is important to show the congregation as it enhances the view, and to see the reactions and kind of crowd/audience.Also for someone who has not been to Mavuno it is good for them to have a feel of what it is like.Baraka.

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  5. Thank you Pastor Oscar for being such a wonderful blessing and a teacher who’s made us really uncomfortable where we are at. From last week i knew that i was going to feel the pain of the plain truth as i listened to your teaching. Coming from a point where i know God has called me to serve and you confirming that its irrevocable placed me on the edge of my seat. When you finished your sermon i wished there was an altar call and i was in tears that when i left my friends asked me whats up and i asked if them if they werent in church. This weeks sermon on Pride pushed the message home harder because in our pride we declare ourselves humble. I need the three friends you talked about and i need them desparately. Often times we behave and react the way we do because there is no one to keep us in check. If we had these true friends then it would even take us to the next level of thinking twice before we engaged in anything that we know will be critiqued honestly. I believe a true friend is the one who stabs you from the front and tells you as it is. They are so hard to find in life but guess what I am praying for these people in my life and if God gives them to me i pray he will give me the strength to keep them by my side because i know myself. I thank God for you and for a church that preaches the real message which we can apply and live in our daily walk. I cant wait for week 3 and 4. Its interesting how i know it will put me between a rock and a hard place but i guess even when the clay is being molded in a pot it would rather stick to being a lump than go through all that motion of being formed into an object of beauty. Pray for us too as you teach us to take this word and live by it.

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  6. This is indeed a very opportune message.May God help me to walk in humility at all times .God may i not be inconsiderate,arrogant and dismissive.
    May i not imagine that i know all.MAY i not look down on anyone-man or woman irrespective of their level of education or their social standing in society.
    May i count others better than myself and get rid of selfishness and chest thumping.May power and money not get into my head.May i always hope in God,TRUST IN HIM, and wait on HIM.

    May i not loose my bearing but always look ahead.
    LORD JESUS CHRIST ,GRANT MY PLEA!

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  7. Goodmorning Chica & King’ori J. Maina,

    Thank you for your contribution/thoughts on this forum. For those of us who serve on Sunday morning, we cherish the opportunity to catch up with as much of service as possible online. I look forward to these online uploads every Monday morning …. King’ori please do not cut out the service-leading part. If possible, I wish even the praise & worship section could be uploaded although I realize that might be a tall order!

    Chica, it is possible to press on the ‘forward’ button upto the part of the message you would rather listen to.

    I hope this would sort everyone out.

    God bless Mavuno and all those who are serving therein to make Mavuno what it is!

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    • King'ori J. Maina Says:

      Ok, will put that into consideration. Personally I think the service leading builds up and puts the sermon into context and prepares one for the sermon + just thought the service leading is interesting & informative.

      Anyway, if any of you know someone who would love to serve in the online ‘ministry’ tell them to find me in the container on Sunday’s. I really need all the help I can get.

      Also apologies for the delay with the video, I’m having trouble uploading it but I’m working on it.

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  8. Indeed the work of salvation is not possible by man but only by God. All failures and reasons for failure are inherent in us and without God we can do nothing of our own but waste away in sin. May God guide us in all these teachings, bless Pastor Oscar as he continues i this good work.

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  9. Yaani, this week the message of the proud leader hits home. I sat in my sit on Sunday, paid attention to Pastor Oscar as he took us through the sermon, and somewhat felt nice that I’m not a proud person. Now, this is the irony, my week starts and I decide, why should I wash the office on Monday morning and there is an intern? Kwani what’s his work? I’m a production manager so excuse me….intern please clean. Then the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit takes me back to Sunday. Pride…comes in the subtle of ways I tell you. Wait I’m not done. I’m having an innocent conversation with someone, and I quickly mention, how I’m not class of getting into some buses(I choose to note mention the brand) coz they have people who smell like Kuni, they carry animals in them….PRIDE. I ain’t no better and Christ didn’t die for me a little more than he did for the kuni smelling woman sitted next to me. PRIDE I SAY….you can’t see it, unless you know what it looks like, how it smells like…. Thanks Pastor. Now I’m like crazy checking myself all the time….and I pray that God gives me the Loving Critique who will tell it to me as it is. May God give us a conscious Spirit so that we can identify pride in our hearts, minds and lives and be quick to repent.

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  10. Wow!!!!!
    I’m just jazzed by Kaka’s testimony. I also thank God for pastor Oscar because (well, i don’t know him that well) of his approach to a hungied guy in church. That Pastor Oscar didn’t condemn him or even make him feel more uncomfortable than he was already…..’and he is a pastor’??????? I think It’s just amazing.
    You see, it is God who saves us…not the pastor. The glory goes to and belongs to God. The pastor is an instrument in God’s hand. Just like Jesus didn’t need to testify for himself, I thank God that pastor Oscar didn’t either. If he did, I’m not sure how this story would have turned out.
    We should trust God in everything and know that it’s Him who draws men to himself and that we should give Him a chance to do it, no matter who we are.
    I am amazed.
    Keep up the good work Mavuno, and may God continue to expand your territory.

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  11. Hi,

    I have been enjoying the sermon series by Pastor Oscar. I never knew i needed so much- i have the mentor & the lightning rod, still need to find the others though i have my safety net. I thank God i have these coz some don’t have or have no idea they need them.

    pass this great knowledge to your friends and family mavuno.

    We see where Pastor M gets his teaching skills.

    God bless

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  12. what?
    am amazed
    just kinda stumbled upon this page n found answers to questions i have been trying to figure out (tis a coincidence i finished my exams today)

    I am so grateful to God for inspiring this thought in whoever first expressed it and to the subsequent messengers till it reached me..even the pips who created this blog n continue to maintain it… yaani mbarikiwe mpaka mbarikiwe

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