In my entire neighborhood alone, there are a great number of children. They are all to be treasured as human beings, to be sure. But there are two little kids who are a peculiar treasure to me, more than any of those other beautiful children could hope to be.
There is a great value to self-examination within the day to day walk with and after Christ, but it ought to be more than a solely self-examination. It is why the Psalmist prayed, "Search me O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." (Ps. 139:23-24) When we do the necessary work of self-examination we must invite God to search along with us and reveal the things He will. We do this because when left to our own, we have two primary tendencies, both of which are destructive to the honest heart after God.
Our first tendency is to praise ourselves too highly. If we do not ask God to search our hearts and reveal, we will make excuses for every wicked or troublesome thing in our heart and mind. We will make light of dark things, which ought to be dealt with.
Our other tendency is to blame ourselves too heavily. If we do not ask God to search and reveal, we will tirelessly break ourselves down. For some of us God is entirely more gracious toward our sin than we would ever dream of being for ourselves.This is why we need God to search and reveal our true heart's condition.
God is fully aware of our tendency toward one of these extremes (I find myself in the latter most often). Because He is aware of our tendency, and because He knows too much SELF-examination does more harm than good, He presents in the Psalms how we ought to search and reveal the sin in our lives. We go about this with humility and grace, only God can accomplish that balance with perfection. Only God will draw us in humility and grace for self in order to balance between the extremes of praise and blame.
I became a self-reliant leader over time, and in so doing, I was dependent upon limited resources. I had not really learned to rely on God and others.
The self-reliant leader is, first, not dependent upon the Holy Spirit. In his book Lion and Lamb, Brennan Manning wrote, "How vast are the resources of His power open to us who believe in Him!" This self-reliant leader is not resembling the gospel of Jesus Christ which has said all of this vast power of God has been available to you to depend upon.
Secondly, the self-reliant leader relies on limited resources in his lack of dependence upon others. Self-reliant leaders lead in isolation from others, and pride is the reason for all our isolation. Often those who lead alone find an interesting resistance in their heart and lfie. Perhaps they blame it on Satan, but that resistance is not Satan; it is God. For "God resists the proud, and he lifts up the humble." (James 4:6)
Great leaders are not self-reliant. They learn to rely wholly on God and also on others for strength.
Who is Jesus to me? He has to first be Savior and LORD before He can be my Teacher. Anyone who only calls Him Teacher must be hopeless, because no pupil or disciple could really accomplish His teaching; not even the best ever student could accomplish his teaching. I need Jesus first to be Savior and LORD. I need first that very realization that I cannot accomplish even a portion of his teaching, because THEN I am 'poor and humble in spirit' enough to know my need for rescue from my undeserving and incapable condition.
Only then can I look with any confidence at His teaching for my life as His disciple and follower. Without His rescue I would only live in despair all the days of my life in comparison to the life he teaches me to live.
Ozzie Chambers wrote, "He came to make me what He teaches me I should be."
I am saved and controlled and covered by His Spirit in those places I wish I could do on my own but could never hope to accomplish on my own. If I begin with my poor and humble need, Jesus says, "You are blessed." (Matthew 5)
You will be happy if you begin with your humble view and realization that you could never accomplish the half of His teaching on your own if not for His Spirit and salvation within.
"Turn the other cheek" is one of those commands Jesus gave that I find very challenging. I tried it in high school, and I was jumped and beaten greatly. I do not look back on that moment and think, "Yeah! I was obeying Christ and THAT makes it all worth it." Still not an easy thing to grasp.
Until recently reading an account of Ghandi. Not a declared Christian, but not exactly a declared ANYTHING while being a studier of EVERYTHING. He was a man of peace with outrageous respect for the teachings of Jesus. Upon facing a gang of people with a Christian pastor, the pastor turned to run for safety, and Ghandi stopped him inquiring, "Doesn't the new testament say turn the other cheek." The pastor, flustered, said it was a metaphor. One of history's greatest icons of peace says, "I don't think it is. I think Jesus meant to stand and take the blows, and take courage. Not to retreat, but not to attack either. From this, the other will eventually have respect for your courage. For you will not strike back but nor will you be turned away. I think Jesus grasped this, and I have seen it work."
There is a large part of me that wants to echo Ghandi's reflection. Some part of me that desires peace and righteousness and still manly strength so as not to back down. Could it really be that by turning the other cheek we are actually taking on more courage and eventual respect than we would by either retreating or attacking? Maybe Ghandi didn't read John Eldridge and his peaceful tactics weren't exactly 'Wild at Heart," but like most of Ghandi's actions and claims, we don't have to agree with any of it, but we definitely should take them as ideals to provoke our thought. What say you?
God, Please let me back among the broken, meek, and humble. I don't know how much longer I can handle being among those who know it all, have it all together, and are unwilling to be broken, uncomfortable and bedraggled. Please let me be back in a place where it is okay to be bedraggled, ruffled, confused, and searching. Back in a place where we believe you reach down in our discomfort and humility and embrace us.
My heart aches for brokenness and the freedom to be such.
* I found this prayer in an old journal. Perhaps you are praying a similar prayer today.
Devastation OR Desperation will bring transformation…which one will I choose
Transformation prayers are repentant prayers. It is because of us that we are where we are in all this. Humility is our first step to transformation.
Why do we wait on God? It is NOT because he trying to catch up.
Transformation prayer is also unified prayer. Join hands in prayer with leaders, pastors and intercessors. After all, if we sin together, we should be in prayer together. Do not leave it to that prayer warrior you know to pick up the mess of your sins, but if we sin together, lets repent together.
Derailed by Tim Irwin is the vaccination every leader needs but rarely gets, and the reason it is so rare is because it stings a bit. Irwin takes traces of common factors of decline for leaders of large and recognizable corporations and forms a powerful vaccination sure to immunize you from your own downfall as a leader.
The overall intention of this book is clear. It reveals certain vulnerabilities if left unattended can and will lead to ‘derail’. Character is the impetus for everything we do, and Irwin is clear in stating that the greatest impact of our leadership can always be traced back to our character.
The first ingredient in this vaccination is 5 parts profile. The reader is given a glimpse of 6 high level leaders who have derailed due to a character flaw left unattended. These profiles are written to not only commiserate with each fallen leader, but to identify with one or more of them. You quickly discover where this book may be leading you once you read these profiles.
A quick explanation of derailment follows. There are 5 stages to the process of an eventual derailment: Failure of Self-/Other-Awareness, Pride Before the Fall, Missed Early Warning Signals, Rationalizing, and Derailment. It is revealed how if left ignored, these stages happen almost effortlessly.
Irwin develops 4 dimensions of character each leader, no matter the capacity, should develop and maintain: Authenticity, Self-Management, Humility, and Courage. The explanations of these dimensions are the alcohol swab before the injection.
Injection: the derailment factors to be aware of if your leadership lacks any of the aforementioned character dimensions. The healing vaccination Irwin provides in this book necessarily is applied with a sting.
The book is closed with a soothing band-aid in a description of the ways to stay on the track without derailing. You can still be a dynamic leader if you do not ignore the danger, face the sting, and move forward. Irwin closes this book with a great look at how this is accomplished.
I received this book for free in exchange for a review to be written for Thomas Nelson publishing, but knowing what I know now, I would have paid a good amount to gain the tools provided in the reading of it. No matter the capacity in which you lead, this book will serve you very well in forming a long-lasting leadership wherever you are. It is the vaccination every leader needs.