Next-Level Leadership Limitations

False Expectations

False expectations often source from pride, and pride touches us when we have no particularly good reason to be proud! Paul says not to give a novice leadership because he isn’t ready to face this battle with pride. While I’ve certainly seen achievers and leaders with pride issues, pride isn’t a battle only for the mature and successful!

Pride is essentially deception. “For by the grace given to me, I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think. Instead, think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one.” (Hohman) False expectations creep in at the times of your next level step-up. Don’t think you need to be wary of pride only after you reach goals.

When I recognize gifts and calling, I like to give people opportunity to do something about it. I like to set a baseline with new leaders, see where they are…if I know where they are now I can help them step up to the next level. To take people from where they are to where God wants them to be, you gotta start with a good understanding of “where they are.”

I often say, “The people you do the most for appreciate it the least.” That is true, unfortunately, because some people you believe in and give opportunities to, immediately interpret that one open door as a “launching.”

Give them one chance to preach, dance, worship, help, work, or lead, and suddenly they are ready to prove they are world class! They jump to conclusions because they feel so good preaching or dancing or releasing anointing that they think they can do it everyday, forever, anywhere, anytime…

So, it is always a risk letting some people do anything; once you do, some of them assume they should be running the house! When you attempt to help them understand reality, you become the limiting factor. You want to say, “Hello, you just preached a message, friend. That didn’t turn you into Reinhardt Bonke!”

I have seen good people with gifts, calling, anointing reveal something in their hearts I didn’t realize was deeply developed. All I did was show them that I believed in their destinies – it was over, man! Show them a little honor and trust, and they turn into monsters right before your eyes! This is pride based upon false expectations based upon pretension.

This is the point of Paul’s admonition: everybody has gifts and calling! Don’t presume to measure yourself by having them but instead measure yourself by functioning in them. Believe what God believes about you. Then, submit to your leaders because they are the ones who can temper your passion with a bit of reality.

Here’s another translation: “As God’s messenger, I give each of you this warning: Be honest in your estimate of yourselves, measuring your value by how much faith God has given you.” (NLT) God’s messengers give you warnings, Paul says, because they recognize and discern the over-estimations of false expectations. God’s leaders speak into your life for your good.

You will always think you are ready before you are ready.


False expectations lead to pretentious behavior exhibited by exaggeration, ridiculous demands upon your present level of maturity, and over-selling yourself. Ambition is a work of the flesh, not a work of the Spirit. One of the greatest enemy’s of truth is not error, but exaggeration.

Pretension will set you up for embarrassing failure. Pretension says, “Just let me do it. Get out of the way. I don’t need help or counsel. If fact, I can do this better than you think. Just watch this!”

It is not pretension if you can really do it, of course, but when you can really do it you don’t need before or after yakity-yak. Pretension produces presumption: you presume to make decisions, tackle projects, and do things you haven’t been asked to do because you presume that having gifts and calling is all you need.

If gifts and calling were all that is needed, the world would already be won. Everybody has gifts and calling. But, everyone needs leadership to mature them personally and their gifts and calling so they can function. Function requires both anointing and character.

Without anointing you cannot do what God has called you to do, but without character you cannot be the person God created you to be. God never separates destiny and purpose; you are called to do what you are called to do because God created you to be who He created you to be.

You cannot separate the personality of the minister from his ministry. Training people to function in gifts is easy; discipling people to grow up is hard. Time we did the hard stuff and emerging leaders learned to learn.

False expectations and pretension are symptoms of pride, so repent of pride, renounce its operation in your heart and life, and break these symptoms off at the root!

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Dr. Don

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