Leaders: Where does your strength come from?

One of the basic principles of leadership is recentering. 

Life in our sinful, broken world has a natural drift to it, one that tends to carry us far away from the truth of the Gospel.  We need to be aware that this constant drift not only affects those we lead, where it’s effects may be more visible, but Gospel drift affects leaders as well.

Leaders move chaos to clarity. Leaders refine raw material. Leaders create space for discipleship.  Leaders maintain what is most central to the cause in their tribe. And if we forget where the center is, where our strength comes from, we not only weaken our impact, leaving our members adrift, but we place our own souls in danger as well.

It’s tempting to rely on many things for  success and effectiveness, in leadership but when we look at Scripture, we find a recurring and comforting truth about leadership: Leadership flows from God.  Education, training, resources, plumb lines and talent all have value, but should not exist as our core resource or identity as leaders.  Instead, we must lead out of the strength of our great God, relying on him daily for the ability to lead the people He has asked us to steward, for his mission and his glory.Spurgeon Leadership

In Jeremiah 32, we read about leadership that flows from relying of God’s strength.  The prophet Jeremiah has been sent to rebuke Judah, a nation that had forgotten it’s history of being rescued to glorify God. The people had fallen repeatedly into idolatry and now Jeremiah’s message anticipated the coming wrath of God and the exile of his people from the land He had given them. This was not the best of times to be a prophet in Judah, which is why we can learn several things from Jeremiah’s example of leadership.

Three leadership lessons from Jeremiah:

  1. Nothing is too hard for God.
    • Jeremiah declares ‘Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.” (32:17) Friends, when leading is difficult, relationships in community are challenging, change don’t occur, marriages don’t heal, addiction stubbornly clings on, remember leader: Nothing is too hard for our God.  Nothing God brings into your sphere of influence can he not handle.  Are you experiencing a leadership hurdle? Bring it to him.
  2. God is the greatest Resource. 
    • Oftentimes in leadership challenges, I’m quick to grab a book or a blog post. It’s convicting to ask myself, Am I as quick to run to my Father in prayer?  Do I run to Him as quickly as I run to helpful but far less powerful resources?  In his time of need, Jeremiah pleads: ‘O great and mighty God, whose name is the Lord of hosts, great in counsel and mighty in deed, whose eyes are open to all the ways of the children of man… (32:18-19)  These verses reminds me of three things:
      • God holds all the wisdom in the universe, from which He gives to every leader generously when they ask (James 1:5). When when I don’t, it is destructive to my leadership
      • God is always working in His universe, he is mighty in deed and nothing is too hard for Him to accomplish.
      • Before I bring my challenges to Him, He already knows what they are because he knows all the ways of the children of man.  Nothing happens in his universe that he’s unaware of.
    • Ultimately, if God holds all the wisdom, is mighty in deed and knows everything, He is my greatest resource in leadership.
  3. God provides our platform and He produces the results.
    • The reality is, you didn’t make yourself a leader, God put you there through His work in your life and His guidance of the people who invited you to lead.  For a pre-ordained season and purpose, you are leading your tribe, your church, your small group.  God has placed you in leadership, and one day, your role will end.  While you are still leading, then, it’s important to remember that God guides and produces the results of your leadership.  Frustrated about the condition of your friend’s marriage? Struggling with your own inner demons? Not seeing the fruit you’re praying for in someone you’re disicpling? God knows. He’s at work. He is in control and will produce the results.  God responds to Jeremiah’s prayer with the following promise: ‘I will bring them back to this place…and they shall be my people, and I will be their God. I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for their own good…I will make with them an everlasting covenant (32:37-41)”.

      This promise pointed to Christ. He was the One who could bring back God’s wayward people. He himself attained for us a redeemed heart and brought us back to the Father.  This is signficant because leaders try to control or take ownership of the results in the lives of those they lead.  This might work for business, but it can be disastrous in discipleship.  God is the only one who produces results in His people, by His Spirit, and this means He gets the glory, not us.  As you lead, trust God. Hand over the results to Him.

      jermiah
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