By Allen White
Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Matthew 7:15-16
A wolf in sheep’s clothing is an analogy that goes back to Jesus. People are compared to sheep. The assumption is that sheep would help each other. Sheep are on an equal playing field. They want what’s good for the herd. A wolf has different motives.
Wolves see only one purpose for sheep – lamb chops. Wolves don’t wish to befriend sheep. They aren’t looking for play dates or theological debates. Wolves have one idea when it comes to sheep, and it makes them salivate.
A wolf in sheep’s clothing implies deception. These false leaders appear to be regular people. They put their pants on just like everyone else. Yet, they are not there to befriend others or schedule a play date. False leaders manipulate and take advantage of their people. They twist things around to get the upper hand.
The deception is a tricky one. Some false leaders have absolutely no morals and wouldn’t think twice about ripping off their own mothers. They come in selling their bill of goods and take off with what they want – leaving others to wonder what happened.
Some leaders are self-deceived. They are convinced that they are better than who they really are. This comes from insecurity. They project a larger than life image that they come to actually believe themselves. The sad part is that God has never asked anyone to pretend to be more than who they are. God intends to live His life through us – that’s the part that’s larger than life.
Every one of us is blind to certain parts of our lives. This is why it’s important to surround ourselves with people who will tell us the truth. It’s dangerous for all of us to listen only to people who say what we want to hear. It takes courage to face the truth. But, we all need those folks in our lives who love us, but aren’t impress with us, and will tell us what’s what.
How do we know if a leader is true or false? Jesus says that we know by their fruit. Just like grapes don’t grow on thornbushes and figs don’t grow on thistles, the fruit of a good leader doesn’t come at the expense of others.
Please don’t get me wrong. No leader is perfect. In 20 years of ministry, I have made my fair share of mistakes. I have hurt a few people along the way, and I have made apologies.
What about you? What kind of leader are you? You might be thinking, “I’m not a leader.” If you have ever influenced another person to try a new restaurant or avoid a bad movie, then you are a leader.
What kind of leader are you? Are you pretending to be something that you’re not? You don’t have to. God has given you a purpose and will make you adequate to fulfill it. There is no reason to bulldoze over anyone along the way.
Maybe you’re a good leader, but you have never shown others why you do what you do. If you care about other people, yet you never show them, then how will they know your motives? As the old saying goes, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
While we should all be careful to follow trustworthy leaders, we also need to examine ourselves for trustworthiness. What kind of fruit are our lives bearing? What is it growing out of? We don’t need to take advantage of others to do God’s will. Whatever we lack, God will supply.
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