What do David Koresh, Jung Myung Seok, Claire Bennet, and Batman have in common? At first glance this group may seem to be quite diverse. However, underneath their differences lies a solidly imbedded Messiah Complex.
A person with the Messiah Complex believes that he is the savior of a group, event, time period, or in radical cases, the world. In some instances, he may not claim to be the savior, but his followers may treat him as such.
The Messiah Complex has many forms. It may rear its ugly head through someone like Adolf Hitler. Fortunately, most of the time it is not so extreme. It is usually much more subtle. If not careful, even the best servant leaders can be fooled by its delusions.
During my experience as a leader, at home and in the workplace, I have caught myself entertaining (and acting on) some of these thoughts.
My gifts are extraordinary and rare.
If something is going to get done, I have to do it.
Nobody else understands the situation better than I do.
I know God is in control, but He needs me to do the work.
I’m the only one with the power to fix this problem.
The result of my thoughts and actions has been frustration, overwhelming stress, anxiety, and exhaustion. Frustration and stress from working too many hours without rest and not sharing the load with others. Anxiety and exhaustion from carrying too much weight on my shoulders and enduring too many sleepless nights. This is clearly not the Lord’s will for those He loves and has called to partner with Him as leaders.
I’m not advocating giving up the pursuit of excellence or resigning responsibility. However, there is something wrong when we believe that success of a mission rests solely and squarely on us.
What about you? Do you recognize any of these symptoms? Could it be that you too struggle with elements of the Messiah Complex?
We thrive in life and leadership when we walk in humility, realizing everything we are and accomplish come from God. Jesus Christ is clearly the only Messiah.
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you (Romans 12:3, NIV).
There is great assurance in realizing that we are part of the magnificent Body of Christ. Jesus Christ is the Head.
He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy (Colossians 1:17-18).
We can be free from carrying the weight of responsibility, knowing that the outcome is ultimately up to the Lord.
Cast all of your cares on Him, because He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7).
We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps (Proverbs 16:9, NLT).
Heavenly Father, thank You for calling me to lead, and for the grace and humility to fulfill Your call. Reveal to me when I place too much trust in myself. Help me to rely on You, trusting You as the One True Savior. In Jesus’ name.