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Seven Warning Signs Of A Leader’s Fall


from Chuck Lawless

Simon Peter is one of my favorite Bible characters. He is so real . . . so human. He was the leader of the apostles, named first in the lists of the disciples in the New Testament. Still, though, he fell in a dramatic way (Luke 22:31-62).

The story of Peter’s fall is filled with warning signs for today’s leaders. Though these signs don’t always happen in a linear fashion, each one should cause us to slow down and evaluate our lives.

Being overconfident – Jesus told Peter the Enemy would sift him, but Peter strongly affirmed his commitment to go to prison or to death for Jesus. Surely Peter meant those words, as evidenced by his later willingness to defend Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Within hours, though, he would deny knowing Jesus. Peter was overconfident and didn’t know it – and that’s the danger of overconfidence. Believing “it won’t happen to me” is a huge warning sign. 

Suffering emotional and physical fatigue – The disciples were to watch and pray in the garden, but instead they slept. The emotional fatigue of mounting opposition to Jesus had taken a toll. Exhaustion increased their vulnerability to the Enemy’s arrows. Under the wearying strain of a leader’s responsibilities, we, too, sometimes let our guard down. Carrying too many burdens and getting too little rest can lead to serious consequences. 

Failing to pray – “Pray,” Jesus commanded the disciples in the garden. Even if they wanted to, still sleep came easier than prayer. The problem here is simple: prayerlessness reflects self-dependence rather than dependence on God. Anytime we’re not praying, we are susceptible to a fall. In fact, prayerlessness usually correlates to acting first and following God second – as Peter did when he first defended Jesus with a sword. 

Growing distanced from Jesus – Peter followed Jesus after His arrest from a distance. That distance was obviously geographical, but his heart would quickly grow distant from Jesus, too. His actions soon to come would make that point. He who had stood with Jesus and said he would die for Him wouldn’t stand for Him when challenged. Our distance from Jesus may be marked more by less Bible reading and fewer prayers than public denials, but any distance can set us up for a fall. 

Trying to hide in public – 

Lying – 

Escalating denials –

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