Do You Balance Your Ego With
by Barry Werner
Humility is not a matter of a leader’s weakness or passivity, but it is disciplined strength and other-centered power. Read Matthew 3:11-14.
John the Baptist was a very powerful leader sent to call the people of Israel to repentance as he prepared the way for Jesus’ message. He lived in an arid region east of Jerusalem and was often found baptizing people in the Jordon River.
John the Baptist demonstrated exemplary leadership when he willingly acknowledged the coming of one greater than himself. Even though John possessed the strongest voice of the day, when Jesus started His ministry, John willingly submitted to His authority.
When Jesus appeared at the Jordon requesting John baptize Him, John acknowledged to the crowd that Jesus was far greater than he and even said, “I need to be baptized by you” (Matthew 3:14).
John did not let his position or the fact that some in the crowd may leave his audience to follow Jesus, affect his honesty and humility. John had balanced his ego and strength of conviction with humility which allowed him to recognize Jesus as a leader of superior authority.
Humility is the virtue that tends to trump an overblown ego but the problem with humility is once a leader thinks they have attained it, they have actually already lost it. The Bible repeatedly emphasizes that God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble, yet as long as they are alive, leaders will face the struggle to live humbly keeping their ego under control.
Understanding humility begins when leaders develop the proper assessment of themselves before God. When leaders come to grips with their desperate need for the grace and mercy of God, they develop a teachable spirit that leads to a healthy balance between the ego needed to lead and humility that makes them other-centered.
Other centeredness is actually a Christ-like quality. Philippians 2:3-4 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit (a large ego), but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
When leaders balance their ego with humility they will have disciplined strength and be able to yield to stronger leaders when they appear.
1 Peter 5:6-7 “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”