A Leader Knows The Difference Between The Ideal And The Real

Feature Article A Leader Knows The Difference Between The Ideal And The Real

An experienced person is someone who knows the difference between the ideal and the real. The “ideal” is like the stars of the sky. It tells us where we want to go. The “real” is what is “on the ground”. It tells us where we really are.

Theoretical knowledge will tell you the ideal but experience will tell you what is real. Sometimes, young and inexperienced people often have all sorts of idealistic philosophies. With time and experience, they often realise that things are their beliefs.

The ideal and the real are also seen in the ministry. You may think that if you do certain things you will get certain results. As you mature you will discover that it is not as simple as that. Church growth principles may be applied, but the church will still not grow. This is because the ideal is different from the real. Experience will teach you that.

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

1 Corinthians 13:12
It is ideal to live up to seventy years, but I have watched as young pastors have died in the midst of their years. It is ideal for everyone to be healed, but the real is not so. Even Jesus did not try to heal everyone.

Is the ideal different from the real?

  1. The ideal is different from the real because of our human frame.

Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For HE KNOWETH OUR FRAME; he remembereth that we are dust.

Psalms 103:13-14
Every organisation made up of human beings is a frail and weak organisation because it is affected by human weakness and human corruption. This is why evil is found in churches, governments and other religious institutions. All these institutions are human institutions and the human frailties abound therein.

Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly: How much less in THEM THAT DWELL IN HOUSES OF CLAY, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth?

Job 4:18-19

  • The ideal is different from reality because life on this earth is full of vanity.

I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.”

Ecclesiastes 1:14

Solomon said that everything on earth was vain. You may set out to achieve great things. But everything you achieve will turn out to be vain. Life is full of vanity. That means that life is useless, empty and worthless. Actually, the word 'vanity' also means longing and grasping. All our life on earth is full of longing and grasping. We live our lives longing, desiring and grasping for things that are out of our reach and it all comes to emptiness.

This is why we achieve far less than the ideal goals and targets we set for ourselves.

  • The ideal is different from reality because of demon activity.

And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

2 Corinthians 12:7
Demon activity was allowed to take place in Paul's life. This demon activity is what he describes as a messenger of Satan. He could not bind or stop this agent of distress, persecution, tribulation and infirmity. In spite of the fact that Paul did all the right things, he still had to endure this demonic activity which reduced his life from an ideal situation to a distressed and persecuted state.

  • The ideal is different from the real because of the curses operating in the earth.

In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.


Revelation 22:2-3

The nations are sick and in need of healing. There are curses spoken over the earth, over the people and over the nations. These curses are words of frustration, words of diminution, words of harm, words of darkness and words of destitution. These words take over all the ideal plans of men and cause the ideal plans of men to be frustrated and nullified.

We often do not have the ideal but we can do well with the real!

Do not despise the lessons of maturity that you are learning. It is not everything that we know or understand but with time, we learn the differences between the real and ideal.

By Dag Heward-Mills
[email protected]

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