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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Following the Leader

One of my favorite authors is John Maxwell.  I have read several of his books on leadership.  They are all good and very insightful.  I have been doing more reading these days, staying close to home and resting.  I am discovering more nuggets of truth in the pages I read.  The great thing about Maxwell is His ability to write on a subject such a leadership and tie it to scripture.  I'm a big fan of reading various books on a wide range of topics.  I know some get concerned, too much over stimulation with "worldly" advice.  I always maintain the premise that I spend quality time reading the Word before indulging myself with other reading interests.  (Even if they are of spiritual emphasis). So much that is out there in the main stream really isn't helpful for spiritual growth, one must use caution.  Yet, I have found many of these books to be a valuable tool to my growth and over all health as a believer. 

Everyone is a leader.  Just think about it.  If you are a Mom you lead your children...or at least they follow what you are doing (or not doing).  If you have a career you have co-workers, a boss or maybe customers. Jesus said to Peter, "Follow me." (John 21)  I think the biggest question is who am I following in order that those who follow me are being lead down the right path?  Whether I realize it or not I am leading and others are following close behind.  What I say and do matters.  It matters to God and it matters to those around me.  This is not to be confused with Jesus advice to Peter in John 21.  Peter was comparing himself to John.  This is something we all struggle with.  I am not to be concerned with someone else's path --- where they are going or following.  I am just supposed to focus on my path.  How does one do this? 

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. Psalm 119:105

This is really the heart of the Christ life: my treasure is buried in the pages of scripture.  I often hear the phrase, "What is God's will for my life?"  How does one know, really know what His will is?  The answer may be shockingly simple.  Jesus summed it up simply by stating,

"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" Luke 10:27

"Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things shall be given to you as well."  Matthew 6:33 

The old testament version states:

"To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."  Micah 6:8

Following God's laws proceeds the blessings in our lives.  If you follow the rules you win the prize.  Simple.  So what are the rules?  They may not be easy in our own strength to keep but with God nothing is impossible.  Great attention to the Word and constant awareness to His presence makes this journey more enjoyable.  It may not be easy but God is always good.  Embracing this is an expedition into personal discovery and deeper understanding of God's character.  When faced with adversity, like the diagnosis of cancer, one must dig deep into the soul and seek God earnestly to wrestle these truths to the surface.  This is why I like Jacob. (See Genesis 32) Even his name means wrestler.  All night he wrestled.  It was hard, physically and spiritually exhausting.  Yet Jacob would not let the Man-Christ leave with out a blessing.  So the Man-Christ asks, what is your name?  Jacob responds and the Man-Christ gives him a new name.  Following delivers with a name change -- from the discipline of following here comes the blessing.  Obedience to Christ always results in blessing.  John Maxwell states, "People change when they hurt enough that they have to, learn enough that they want to, or receive enough that they are able to."

Being a leader means you are following a leader.  I want to make sure the leader I am following is Christ.  John Maxwell said, "Leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.” I certainly want Christ to influence my life so that I can influence the lives of those around me.  I know this to be true.  We all need spiritual mentors to model for us how to navigate through the rough waters.  I am eternally grateful for wise men and women who have cared to take the time to counsel me using the Word as their guide.  These are the true leaders who put Christ first in their lives and in effect are leading others to Christ.  This is kingdom multiplication work at its best.

I want to be like this Psalm 1 man.  A person who does not walk in bad counsel, or surround myself with bad influences or friends who mock God.  My daily delight will be found in the law, in the Word where I think and ponder it continually.  Then I will be like this tree, roots down deep anchored in Him.   We know that the seasons change and storms slam us down, but I will be fruitful despite the adversity because, I will follow the Leader.


1 comment:

  1. Wonderful reminders, compiled eloquently! I especially love the part about embracing the path we're on - Following only God, not necessarily what we think we want or "should" have. Dying to self, SO much easier said than done!

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