WISE INTENTIONAL LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT
Volume 13, Number 6– JUNE, 2019
Greetings. In two months, WILD hosts our fifth Summit. We have found that these Summits are very key to develop unity and focused vision of the mission God has led us with. I ask for your prayers and that His Name would be exalted. God does not need WILD to accomplish His Will and Kingdom work but in His sovereignty, He allows WILD to participate in what He is doing in the lives of people. Wow. What an honor and privilege. Thank you for being a part of this work. Mike
LEADERSHIP IDOL OF COMFORT
We all dream of relaxing somewhere with people we love and enjoy being around. We need times to relax and to allow our bodies to decompress. There is nothing wrong seeking the pleasure of being with your family and friends, the pleasure of spending time with Jesus (and knowing who you are as a child of God) and of the pleasure of sinking your teeth into an enjoyable meal.
Ministry needs to also provide levels of pleasure to enjoy but also realize the pursuit of simply pleasure causes us to stay away from aspects of ministry that are not necessarily easy or pure pleasure. We need to develop joy and contentment in all area of our lives though what we may go through will not always be pleasurable nor enthusiastically anticipated.
On this subject Jesus spoke to the disciples as He said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? (Matthew 16:24-26).
Giving up your life as you willingly allow Jesus to use you in whatever ways your life brings glory to God does not mean you will receive material blessings and a comfortable, pleasurable (as we view things from an earthly perspective) life. In fact, if we simply go after the pleasurable things of life and walk away from Jesus, there is something drastically wrong with our relationship with Him.
Believers in countries outside of the United States have often shared of the hardships and commitment it takes to follow Jesus, and in some cases, having the courage and willingness to put their lives on the line. Most Christians outside of the West live tough lives. There are not material blessings and pleasure on this side of heaven. So, when leading others, by seeking your pleasure rather than doing the right things leaders should do, that is a leadership idol, something you worship other than Jesus. This idol has the potential to affect all Christians, no matter where you live.
Material blessing and good health does not assure pleasure. No where in the Bible does it say by following Jesus, life will be easy and without pain. Often it is the flipside to that. If we desire to be an effective spiritual leader, you will potentially will face more hardships and struggles, if for no other reason that we are doing spiritual battle, and Satan fights hard and dirty.
When a longing for comfort rules in a leader’s heart, painful and necessary decisions are delayed. The leader fears change because comfort and routine would be disrupted. The comfort idol is the unwillingness to shake up the status quo, by allowing an employee to keep doing what he/she is doing. This causes issues and eventual trouble to the rest of the team or organization. You refuse to do anything because that would be uncomfortable for you to confront and possibly have to clean up a mess or causing you to have more work.
You also get into a good, comfortable routine with work/life, not wanting to disrupt anything – just kind of riding the wave. No one benefits from this lack of leadership responsibility in the long run. Other members of the team become disgruntled and may quickly be resentful of the way the problem member is treated and extra work that is placed upon the rest of the team as a result.
Thinking that once you are in a leadership role you can now enjoy life at the expense of others is nor right and you are pursuing being a spiritual leader with the wrong motivation. If we desire to be a godly spiritual leader, we are being servants to the people we have responsibility to lead. Serving is not equivalent to seeking comfort. It is hard work to serve and make others more important than you.
HEBREWS 12 – DISTRACTIONS
Once we get a handle on the good things or activities of life and the sin that ensnares us, we are able to lay aside, get rid of them to be able to race our spiritual race set up for us. Hebrews 12:1-2 includes the passage, “And let us with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame.”
We are greatly encouraged to run the race our Coach, God has set up for us. He knows the course we are taking. We need to listen to Him every step of the way. Some of us have gotten discouraged over our faith and spiritual journey because we have not been listening to God and being obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit. We have not been reading the Bible, truly asking Jesus for direction and when we read things in the Bible, we do not follow what is being said. Then we wonder why living the Christian life is difficult; because we are not following what the Coach is instructing us.
Make sure your spiritual journey is to follow Jesus and obey what we find in the Bible. God never said our spiritual journey would be easy; in fact, it is hard but just like Jesus’ life of hardship and death, the end result was the joy awaiting Him. Two keys are listed along with listening to our Coach.
The first key is not to get exhausted which was discussed in last month’s letter. This will give endurance. When carrying too much of a burden or too many weights of good things in life, we get exhausted and endurance flies out the window. This includes not doing the best things in life God has set up for us. If we allow sin to rule in our lives, causing guilt and shame to dominate our minds and hearts, we will become exhausted.
That is why we need to set aside such aspects of our lives so as to run the race God, our Coach has mapped out individually for us. That leads to the second key.
When running our spiritual journey, we are to keep focused on Jesus who the originator of faith because He is God and what He did for us. He controls our faith, guides and cares for His followers. He sustains, strengthens and helps us in our journey. Our faith cannot be taken or given away.
Keep the focus so as not to become distracted. That means we need to keep your eyes on the goal, the prize of crossing the finish line in whatever you are doing in life. There are many things you can do in life, including work opportunities. Having too many options can cause distraction and exhaustion. Know what your strengths are, what interests you and walk in the direction that Jesus is leading you.
During Stage 14 of the 1988 Tour de France. Scottish climber Robert Millar was leading a three-man group including Frenchman Phillipe Bouvatier and Italian Massimo Ghirotto up the final climb of the day. As the trio headed up the slopes of Guzet-Neige, Millar and Bouvatier attacked, leaving Ghirotto behind. Problem was they followed race motorbikes instead of paying attention to a policeman’s directions, handing Ghirotto an uncontested win. Taking our eyes off the map of our journey or the finish line, or not listening to our Coach and dangers on our journey, can cause us to be distracted and not finish well.
When our spiritual and life journey gets tough, and when everything is going so smoothly, it is easy to take our eyes off of Jesus and put them on circumstances, others and ourselves. We don’t need Jesus’ help or leading because we have everything under control. We work to control our situation. Anger can creep in when things don’t go the way we want or planned, when the news is not good.
Jesus kept His sights on the joy of what would result from His hideous, shameful death, paying the price for our sins. May we be willing to endure what we face in our faith journey for His glory and finish well.