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Question Jeremiah 17:9 Mark 7:20-23 In Scripture, the problem first and foremost that we face is always one of the heart.  Essentially, we think that we are better off without God when we are in control and when we can make decisions for our lives.  This lends itself to one of two extremes.  On the one hand, we think we can have more fun and enjoy life when we make up our own rules, and we snarl at anyone that would dare judge us for anything we do or say.  On the other hand, if we actually profess some belief in Christ or some sort of religious convention, our hearts still like to have the final say, and as such, we put the emphasis upon what we can do to make ourselves right rather than what Christ must do, and has done, for us.  Like modern Pharisees, we focus on rules and regulations, and outward conformity.  If we’re not careful, we then become judgmental of others when they don’t live up to our standards and we compare ourselves to others in terms of how we measure up.  The implications for leadership in both extremes are pretty sobering.  We’ve all seen leaders on power trips who do whatever they want without caring for others.  We’ve all seen leaders who are quick to judge employees, other departments, etc. at the first mistake and are quick to upbraid others for mistakes. People don’t like to talk about sin.  The verses referred to above will never mark the pages of those popular Christian inspirational calendars.  But to really know God and to walk with him, we have to start with an understanding that His righteousness is so vastly superior to any conception of goodness that we might have that we will fall short in everything we do and say in trying to attain it.  We need the work of Jesus Christ.  Even if we do the “right thing” on our own strength, we will be doing it the “wrong way,” assuming that we can fix ourselves and make ourselves “good enough” for God apart from a constant infusion of God’s grace and faithfulness through Christ.  If we do not address this fallen and corrupting heart attitude, we will never be good leaders, but more to the point, we will never know the true joy that comes with resting exclusively in Christ and his love for us.  In turn, we will never be able to have true and open relationships with other people.  It’s hard to be open with others when we are so afraid to be open and honest with ourselves before God.  If we are afraid to really see how sin manipulates our hearts and causes us to hate and manipulate others, how can we truly love and care for others?  How can we truly walk through life with one another, encouraging one another to hold fast to Christ and pick one another up when we fall?  As leaders, how can we truly lead with humility and openness when we can’t be truly open and vulnerable with God our Father?