Sunday morning at church I shared a few things on my heart that some may have considered “strong words”. Essentially, it was an exhortation for us to look less to the externals of Kingdom life and “church” and more to the internal work of actually relating to God and knowing Him on a personal level, so that we can truly move forward corporately.
The stunning reality is: We’ve been invited into the mystery of walking with God on the Earth.
If God makes an invitation, it’s always best to say “yes”.. even if it’s hard at first.
The interesting thing is that God is so good, He will bless our efforts for Him, even if we miss the direct invitation to do something different with Him. It’s just who He is. He will not forsake His people or His Name. So, when we seek to serve Him out of a pure heart, He is pleased and use us to show His love to others through us.
However, that doesn’t mean that it was His very BEST. It can be good, and still not be the best. As some have said, sometimes the good is the enemy of the best. If we settle for less than the best.. then good is all we get.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t really want to do things just for God, when the invitation is made for us to walk WITH Him. I also realize that learning to walk with God may not look as immediately fruitful… since it can take time to actually learn to walk in step with Him. Also, He’s not quite as concerned with outward appearances as we are. In fact, the size of our ministry means nothing to Him if our heart is shriveled and dead.. He’s more concerned about the condition of the heart than He is all the “good things” we can produce.
It’s called the Greatest Commandment: TO LOVE GOD WITH EVERYTHING — to give Him our ALL in the divine exchange, the passion of the Gospel.
At one level it sounds simple, almost too easy. However, I would challenge that it is the quest of a lifetime to TRULY fulfill the greatest desire of God’s heart. I would also say that there is nothing that will be MORE contested, by the world, our flesh and by the devil, than our pursuit to truly love God wholeheartedly.
Yes, I believe the biggest fight in any believers life… daily… is the fight to truly abandon ourselves in devotion to Jesus… all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. Everything will stand to get in the way of it — distractions, sin, work, school, stress, relationships….. But, every choice we make to give our love to Jesus, is our greatest act of spiritual warfare. And, if we don’t give up, we will win.
I don’t know exactly how to become a spiritual family that truly walks with Jesus and extravagantly loves Him. But, that’s what I’m after.
If you want a leader who has lots of charisma, is polished, attractive, delivers stunning speeches and can run their ministry like a CEO, you can find plenty of them. There are many great men and women of God who are profoundly gifted leaders out there. I have to admit, I am jealous of them at times. But, I also am very comfortable knowing that’s really not who I am.
To be sure, though, those aren’t necessarily the most defining marks of a Jesus-filled ministry. In fact, it was said of Jesus that , “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.” (Isaiah 53:2). I’m not sure Jesus was all that “polished” in His ministry on the Earth, or if He administrated like a CEO, or had a crowd-swaying charisma. Maybe He did. We could make inferences, but we don’t really know for sure. We do know a few things, though. We know that He taught with Heaven-given authority, unlike people had ever heard (Mark 1:22), and that everywhere He went, Heaven was breaking in — unconditional love, miracles, signs and wonders, etc. and this marked and authenticated His ministry (John 14:11).
Now, I’m not trying to say I’m like Jesus, because I don’t see that much divine authority on my words (yet), and I surely am not seeing Heaven break in with great power . . . but, I celebrate what little I have seen! 🙂 And, I DO know that I’m running hard after Jesus. I’m not trying to make excuses or even justify… just trying to clear the air a bit. Though I don’t really see myself as that “amazing, charismatic, CEO-leader”, I DO know that I am called to lead, and I will do that to the best of my ability.
But, if you follow me, I should forewarn you, I will fall short and/or disappoint you at some time (if I haven’t already). I don’t want to, but I just know that is the dynamic of human relationships. The same is true for any of the amazing leaders out there. Truth be told, most of us have felt that even Jesus has disappointed us at one time, though He never makes a mistake. Most of our disappointments are because we misunderstand the motivation or have wrong expectations of the person involved. When we understand that disappointments happen, and we forgive and continue to walk forward, we’re already destined for success. Let’s make a deal: I will commit to value you for who you are, and not so much how well you “perform”, and you do the same for me, ok?
That being said, what does leadership look like for me?
I seek to love God with all my heart.
I seek diligently after the heart of Jesus at all times and in every situation. I seek to be sensitive and obedient to the Holy Spirit.
I endeavor to extravagantly love every person I meet.
I try to serve others well, because the greatest in the Kingdom are those who make themselves servants (Matthew 23:11)
We have an extraordinary opportunity before us, to learn to truly love and know God; to endeavor to walk with Him, and to do it together. For better or worse, here we are. I have great hope for great things, because I know that God is always up to something good. I hope you’ll come with me.