When Leaders Become Idols

Date: May 3, 2024

The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. Psalm 32:8


In a world where leaders can become idols, it’s important to remember our true source of guidance.


Priscilla had always held her pastors in the highest regard. When they suggested she leave her job to work for the church, she did so unquestioningly. After all, she considered them to be the voice of God in her life. If she was doing what they told her, wasn’t that what God wanted?

Blindly following human leadership isn’t following God. The Bible warns against anything taking the place of personal relationship with God, labeling these substitutes as idols. Material possessions, physical pleasures, and even leaders can become false gods if given undue position in our lives. And like every other kind of idol, a leader given undue prominence is sure to disappoint you!

Leaders can offer guidance and accountability. But they should never replace hearing directly from God and His Word, through personal relationship with Jesus. Scripture underscores this principle, reminding Jesus followers, “When one of you says, ‘I am a follower of Paul,’ and another says, ‘I follow Apollos,’ aren’t you acting just like people of the world? After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us” (I Corinthians 3:4-5).

This is a good picture of how we’re to view leaders. We need to watch out for elevating leaders to a position where their voice in our lives supersedes hearing from God for ourselves. It’s crucial to prioritize relationship with Jesus and personal study of scripture over any human authority. God says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you” (Psalm 32:8).