Here is a paradoxical and disturbing thought I have had of late. The greater one's giftedness (talents, intelligence, tools, resources) the greater the tendency that you will have for independence from Christ.
Teaching the community of God's people.
Training the trainers
Always seeking to help each one become more gifted and competent in what they do and how they work/lead/serve.
Baron von Hugel says personal limitations "are more easily accompanied by simplicity, naiveness, recollection, absence of self-preoccupation, gratefulness . . . which dispositions are necessary for the soul's union with God (by which he means progressive sanctification)."
. . . and those who have more going for them, who appear to be more impressive, who surely have more to offer and more they can produce - they are the ones who will struggle more in the way of Christ-likeness.
I have found in my own life and in so many leaders with whom I have worked, that the more gifted we become the more self-confident we become. The more skilled we are, the more likely that we move toward self-sufficiency. The way of self-reliance is not the way that Christ is formed in us.
The dilemma of personal development is that it works! You become more skilled, more competent and therefore, generally more fruitful and effective in what you do. You are inevitably tempted to trust in the horses and chariots of your own skills and intelligence rather than in the Lord God.
Your corruption is well under way.
So Paul's thorn in the flesh was a gift of incalculable worth, for that Apostle was magnificently blessed with skills and capacities most of us lack. That thorn MADE HIM dependent on Christ, and on all sufficient grace and for power made perfect in weakness.
Your personal growth and development into maturity of skill and contribution is vital and it is willed by God. What is also willed by God is a simultaneous growth in grace, dependency and intimacy with Himself. This will only happen if you maintain a holy obsession to know Christ and all of Christ and the vigilance to maintain true humility.
Sadly, some of the most gifted leaders I know have moved far into the ways of:
Screwtape and Wormtongue are still working their conspiracies among us.
Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International