Think about the first time you hit a baseball, made a cake, or even drove a car. Did it leave you with a desire to want to do it again? The more you did it the more you fell in love with it…am I right?
Becoming a spiritual leader feels the same way. Leadership comes more natural to some people, but it is something that all of us should strive to embrace. Loving others and seeing life change is incredible, seeing people surrender to God’s call on their life is intoxicatingly lovely.
There are so many different philosophies that address leadership, but the one that we will focus on is the servant leadership model, leading through a love that comes from a surrendered life to Christ. The greatest among you shall be your servant. (Matthew 23:11 ESV)
Loving to Lead – Servant Leadership in History
John Chapman (September 26, 1774 – March 11, 1845), often called Johnny Appleseed, was an American pioneer nurseryman who introduced apple trees to large parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, as well as the northern counties of present day West Virginia. He became an American legend while still alive, due to his kind, generous ways, his leadership in conservation, and the symbolic importance he attributed to apples. He was also a missionary for The New Church (Swedenborgian). Johnny Appleseed didn’t go out and decide to be as influential as he was…it was a byproduct of his surrendered life to God’s leadership, and he loved it!
The Full Story
THE KEY ELEMENT OF LOVING TO LEAD
The key element in “Loving to Lead” is simple. You should LOVE to LEAD. You may not see yourself as someone that could enjoy leading, or even loving it, but God sees you and knows you can do it…We are given multiple opportunities to lead every day. It could be as simple as being an example to our family, an obstacle dealt with at work, or even saying your sorry and meaning it. Christ has prepared the way for our leadership by first leading us. Everything a Christian does is a potential opportunity for Christ to use us to lovingly lead someone through life’s challenges. 33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV)
HOW LEADERS LOVE
Leaders love by serving others, but servant leadership is not natural. We must clothes ourselves with the nature of God. 12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (Colossians 3:12 NIV) Although these characteristics seem passive they are far from that. Compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience are best expressed when we believe that God’s strength protects us from all harm. But it is a conscious decision on our part to put on the protections given to us from the Father.
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
Paul is telling every believer to put on the armor of God in order to defend the faith. If you are defending the faith you are stepping out of the shadows and compassionately, kindly, humbly, gently, and patiently fighting against the enemy and his attempts to still, kill, and destroy the world. (John 10:10 NIV) There is no reason to be anxious. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV) God’s armor is perfect. There is no weapon that can stand against it. (Isaiah 54:17 NIV)
What could happen to you and those you love if you didn’t defend the faith? Leading others keeps them safe, aware, and invested. When you are leading those you love and see that they are safe and secure then loving leading others becomes a natural expression. Leadership is synonymous with Christianity just like love is made alive trough Christ.
TRUSTING YOUR LEADER
As a boy in Elizabeth, New Jersey in the 1950s, basketball legend Rick Barry got some painful coaching lessons from his father, a semi-pro basketball player. While the youngster’s friends liked to shoot their foul shots, or free throws, in the respectable overhand style, his old man wanted Barry to toss them just as he did—underhand.
“That’s the way little kids shoot, and it didn’t help that everybody calls it the ‘granny shot,” Barry says. “I didn’t want any part of it, but my father drove me nuts until I tried it. And amazingly, it worked.”
Barry’s average from the free throw line bounced from 70 to 80 percent and kept on climbing when he became a pro. “Nobody ever teased me, but then it’s hard to tease somebody when the ball keeps going in.”
Why did Barry’s success become so obvious to everyone? It started with his ability to die to his image, his ego, and his self. He trusted his dad and things blossomed. They blossomed because he trusted someone that new what they were doing.
So why not trust the only “ONE” that truly knows what they are doing. God. Once we understand that and begin to live it, the results are nothing shy of miraculous. Leading others to see that death to self is the only way makes total sense. It’s the only sense. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. (Romans 8:6 NIV) Loving leading others becomes our way of life.
Take every encounter and allow it to be a joyful expression of God’s leadership through you.
Living the surrendered life of a believer will inevitably put you in a leadership position. Take the time to learn and love God and you will begin to lead others.