Every leader has a point from which they radiate outward to influence other peoples and lands. Their ‘home turf’ is that central point from which they lead. Business, government, and churches organize from this premise; radiating influence and ruling territory from some central point. Every leader has a few close associates, then a larger group of supporters that undergird his/her ruling. Jesus had 3 very close disciples, 9 others that were part of the original 12, and 120 devoted supporters that waited in the upper room for the Holy Spirit after His ascension. It is from this hub that He radiated rule and influence after He ascended to heaven.
As pastors and apostles, Deborah and I have a central point, called Crossfire Church and Deborah Ministries International in Colorado, from which we radiate influence to our assigned territory. It is our center point. From this small area in the U.S. we have close supporters who partner in leadership to influence nations. We have influenced 21 nations from this central point. We are having the greatest national influence in Kenya and Uganda with emerging influence in North Dakota and Bhutan.
Where is the central point from which you lead and influence others? Who are your closest supporters, your inner circle of partners for the cause? It is from there that you exert your rule over your assigned territory.
For many years I worked in land conservation in the U.S. government. I had an assigned human, geographic and financial territory where I had authority, dominion, and accountability. If I intentionally strayed into another’s territory, e.g. conserving land in a state outside my region, directing a work group supervised by another, making a financial decision over which I had no accountability, then I was outside my assignment and infringing upon God’s order and plan for that organization. However, on occasion I was invited in to help another with an assignment. A leader saw value in my expertise and invited my involvement to help him or her work in that area. I became a temporary guardian within their assignment. But it was always for a moment, a season, as a temporary guardian. My long term authority, responsibility, and accountability were in my assigned territory. It was the place I had relationship with the people. It was the place I functioned as a father rather than guardian.
The kingdom we rule with a good and noble heart will be the territory assigned by the Lord. Everyone in leadership has an assigned territory. Evaluate your territory. Do you understand the boundaries of, the authority over and the accountability for that territory? There is your assignment.
The Bible says that ‘the son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by his powerful word’ (Heb. 1:3). You rule as a reflection of the Father’s heart, specifically as a reflection of Jesus. You are called to rule your territory as Jesus would rule. Jesus had a territory while on earth. It was most intimately defined by the 12 apostles whom he ruled. After his resurrection and ascension it was defined as only 120 people in the upper room; those who fully accepted his message and his authority. Those were the people he knew best and that knew him best. You must know the people within your territory.
While Saul, David, Hezekiah, and the other kings had aspects of great leadership, none ruled in the fullness of the Father’s glory. None of them had Jesus. They had authority of leadership, but without a born-again spirit, without the filling of the Holy Spirit, and without the power of the New Covenant they could only rule as natural men limited in ability to love and rule as a reflection of the Father’s glory. They had limited ability to truly know and rule the people.
Leaders today must know their people, whether they comprise a local church, an internet ministry, a business, or a civil government. Who is it that comprises your territory? Who is it that comprises the 12 and the 120? It is there you find your territory. It is there you rule. It is there that you can reflect the glory of the Father to His people. It is there you can truly reflect the heart of the good and noble king.
The Heart of a King turns on the light on the heart. In Ephesians 1:18, 19 the Apostle Paul prayed this prayer for the believers in the city of Ephesus; ‘I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and His incomparably great power for us who believe.”
The Apostolic heart of Paul yearned for the church to know the hope, the riches and the power for all who believe. Paul was speaking to those who already understood and believed at some level. They were in the church. They were converts to Christianity. But as a leader he prayed that the ‘eyes of their heart may be enlightened’ so they would know!! He knew something they did not. The New Living Translation uses the words ‘flooded with light’. Paul wanted their hearts flooded with the light of Jesus just as his had been.
These believers knew and understood at a limited level, enough for eternal life but insufficient for abundant life; enough to be ruled in the kingdom of God, but insufficient to rule on behalf of the Kingdom of God. Their hearts were not flooded with the light and truth of Jesus.
In my library I have a lamp that casts light into my reading space. The lamp has a 3-way bulb allowing 3 levels of lighting; 50 watts, 100watt, and 150 watt. I increase or decrease the light by the flick of a switch. In the darkness of my library the 50 watt level is enough to read large print, view photos, and get a general understanding of colors and hues. But if I want to read the fine print, search the detail of a photo, or more deeply understand the richness of colors and hues I must flick the switch to 100 or 150 watts to flood my study area.
So it is with life; if I desire a deeper, richer level of understanding and living I am compelled to flick the switch to 150 watts. I make that choice. I flick the switch revealing the richness and detail on the pages before me.
So it is with those called to lead in business, government and ministry. When we allow our hearts to be flooded with the truth of Jesus Christ, we come into a place of truly knowing the Father and His riches. From this enlightened position we lead and influence people with the heart of a true king; a heart not only ruled by the kingdom, but positioned to rule on behalf of the Kingdom of God.
I challenge you, as a leader, to flick the switch to 150 watts of Jesus’ light today. Let him flood you with truth and bring forth a destiny birthed to rule with the heart of a king.
In Luke 6:43-45 Jesus communicated a key leadership concept; that what comes from our hearts is our fruit. In verse 44 he said ‘Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thorn bushes, or grapes from briers.’ Every leader in business, ministry, or government is recognized by what they produce; not what they sell, but what they produce…that which comes forth from their heart to those they lead.
The people they lead and influence want good fruit, something nourishing and sustaining for the trials of life. Even if they get a large paycheck from that business or ministry, that paycheck is only a small dimension of what they desire from their leaders. They desire life-giving nourishment from the heart of the leader. They desire leadership that builds and strengthens; sustaining fruit that remains in spite of ups and downs in the organization.
In our sphere of influence we are known for what grows and flows from our hearts. Is it juicy grapes and succulent figs of the vine and the tree, or the thorns and prickles of the bush and briers? As we come into agreement with storing good things of the Kingdom in our hearts we produce grapes and figs. We will be recognized by that fruit and known as fig trees and grapevines to those we lead.
Some leaders sell one thing but produce another. I’ve observed ministry leaders sell the ‘good news’ of grace through faith in Jesus from the pulpit of leadership. Those same leaders produce the bad news of condemnation and control behind the closed doors of leadership. They sell one thing and produce another thing. Initially such leaders may be recognized for what they sell but every tree eventually produces fruit that reveals its true identity.
I am glad and thankful that as we embrace the grace of God to store up goodness and grace in our hearts, that is what we produce. As we celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday in America lets be thankful that as we grow in grace the people we lead will pick figs and grapes from our leadership.
The heart of man is the pivot point of power in our lives. Scripture reveals that the heart has the power to believe (Rom.10:9), to understand (Eph.1:18), to open (2 Cor. 6:11-13), to love (1 Pet. 1:22), to condemn (1 Jn.3:20), to ponder (Luke 2:19), to forgive (Matt.18:35), to decide (2 Cor. 9:7), and to feel emotion(Acts.2:46; 2 Cor. 2:4; Eph. 6:5). There are more powers of the heart, but those listed are particularly critical to abundant life in Christ.
Topping this list is the power to decide; to decide what to do with all the other powers and continual flow of information coming to the heart. What a big job for the heart!!! Today I will focus on deciding what to do with the power to feel emotion.
New Testament scriptural references to the heart’s ability to feel emotion include feeling distressed, anguished, encouraged, refreshed, hopeful, troubled, glad, loved, grateful, boastful and many more. For every emotion listed there is an opposite emotion for the heart to experience. We are designed by God the Father to have emotions. They represent a response to internal and external stimuli of life. However, we are not designed to be ruled by all of them or to rule through all of them.
Emotions have a role in heart decisions, but no more of a role than our thoughts, our knowledge, and the role of the Holy Spirit through our born-again spirit. The untrained human heart only has ability to process emotions in the context of self, i.e. self protection, self promotion, personal vision, personal comfort, biological family, etc. The trained heart can be transformed to process emotions in a broader context.
For example, this week a staff sergeant in the US Army Rangers received the Congressional Medal of Honor for heroism, the first living recipient of this honor since the beginning of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (the other recent recipients were all killed during their heroic act). This young man acted from a heart that was concerned with more than self. He ran into a hail of gunfire during an ambush by Taliban fighters, rescuing 2 wounded comrades being hit three times by bullets in the process. He risked everything for two men in his unit. This was not a well-thought-out, strategic action but an instantaneous response from a heart infused with the belief that the men in his unit were more important than his personal safety. What emotions must he have initially felt when ambushed in that Afghan valley….fear, anxiety, trepidation, timidity, love, anger, boldness? He may have felt some or all of those but he acted from a heart trained to decide based upon the greater good, the bigger picture, the safety of those he led at the risk of personal safety. In an instant his heart processed every emotion accepting those emotions infused as good, righteous, and worthy of a leader. He rejected fear, anxiety, timidity and trepidation and accepted love, anger, and boldness as the pivot point of power. This 25 year old man has the heart of a king, the heart of a leader transformed for the greater good, the bigger picture, and the lives of those he leads.
This young man’s heart decision is but a small example of what Christian leaders can be if we have the Heart of a King; a heart trained to process emotions for the greater good of the Kingdom of God and of those we lead. We may not receive the Congressional Medal of Honor, but we will receive the Crown of Glory. Praise God!
Luke 8:15 says ‘but the seed on good soil stands for those with a good and noble heart, who hear the Word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.’ The Gospel of Mark brings added dimension to the idea of producing a crop saying that the seed on good soil will ‘produce a crop….thirty, sixty, or even one hundred times what was sown.’(Mark 4:20) The idea Jesus brings forth is that of harvesting a big crop as a result of what comes from the heart.
What is overflowing from your heart to bring a harvest in your surroundings? Gal. 5:22, 23 speaks of kingdom fruit as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. These are things that come from the heart; however, their exact opposites can also come from the heart. The degree to which kingdom fruit saturates your spiritual and emotional surroundings is the degree to which you are operating and choosing the heart of a king. The degree to which these things overflow from you is the degree to which you bring kingdom influence to the spiritual and emotional climate among the people you lead. The degree to which you influence these people for the Kingdom is the initial crop, the 10, 20, or 30 fold harvest, i.e. your direct influence upon them. The harvest is increased to 40, 50, 60 fold and beyond as they in turn bring kingdom influence to people in their sphere of relationships.
You may say ‘what about authority, power, healing, prophecy, spiritual gifts, etc.’? You can manifest spiritual gifts yet bear little fruit in your life or ministry. Why? Because you demonstrate impatience with people you lead, are unfaithful in the little things of leadership, don’t walk in love, or lack self-control in your speech or actions! People see the heart of a wounded warrior, the self-promoting prophet, an unfaithful compromiser, or a prideful pastor. But…they do not see the heart of a king.So what do you do? Yield your heart, not just your mind, to the work of grace.
- Actively release from your heart those things inconsistent with the Kingdom of God i.e. not identified in Gal. 5:22, 23.
- Recognize and agree with your responsibility to CHOOSE the heart of a king.
- ommit your heart to the gospel of the Kingdom of God, not just to personal abundance
I recall my last post, planting seeds of grain on the prairie. The seed stays covered, sprouts, and grows beneath the surface for a time before it emerges to reveal the potential of a harvest. It emerges as small green stalks and must then grow for a season to mature, ripen and fill out the head of grain, then, and only then, will it produce a full harvest. As leaders we can learn from the lessons of farming.
Many leaders give up on themselves or on people they lead long before the emergence of the green stalk above the soil, i.e. before the visible potential of a coming harvest. They don’t see anything happening so they dig up the soil looking to see if the seed is still alive and, in the process, uproot and expose it to the elements. They were impatient in ‘retaining’ the seed. They chose to farm by sight rather than farm by faith thus exposing the seed to the wind and the birds through their impatience.
Other leaders are patient while the seed is invisible but get very impatient after the growth is visible, i.e. the visible maturing process for all to see. A stalk of wheat 10 days old looks nothing like a stalk of wheat 90 days old. At 10 days it is short, green like grass and immature. It has some nutrient value but doesn’t have the growth, height and maturity of a full stalk ready for harvest. I’ve seen farmers turn an immature field of short green wheat over to the cattle because they didn’t think there would be adequate growth for a harvest. The cattle go in, eat the green stalks, ending its growth and life. The result is no harvest, not even a minimal harvest because perseverance had not finished its work.
However, some leaders persevere from seed to sprout, from green stalk to mature stalk and from a small seed head to a full head of grain bringing in a harvest of the full potential.
The heart of a King not only desires a harvest from their sowing, but perseveres through stages of growth that bring forth the harvest. I know a lot of people who desire a harvest, but not many who will persevere through the maturing of the grain. Many hearts are filled with impatience, faux faith, cultural time perspectives, inconsistent living, and lack of commitment to the harvest. They desire but don’t persevere. Such hearts have not been transformed and never rule with the heart of a King.
If you find yourself impatient with persevering through the growth process, there’s good news…….The Father is not done with you yet! He is faithful to finish the work of grace in your heart IF you let Him. Impatience turns to perseverance, faux faith turns to fighting faith, and inconsistent lives become consistent lives, lack of commitment turns to passionate pursuit. IF… you LET HIM CHANGE YOU.
Let’s pray…..Father, I thank you that each person reading these words open their heart to your finishing work in their hearts. Father, I pray that those who have ears to hear do not harden their hearts, but soften them to your grace to persevere through the growing process, And, Father, I thank you that you are faithful as each person opens themselves to your finishing work Your grace is sufficient to persevere through any season that leads to maturity and harvest.
The heart of a king retains the Word. In Luke 8:15 Jesus said ‘but the seed on good soil stands for those with a good and noble heart, who hear the word, retain it’.
When I was a youth I helped my Dad in the farming business. I learned there were two critical aspects to farming….sowing the seed, and harvesting the grain. I loved to sow, however my Dad seldom let me do that aspect of farming because it required great care. Sowing was not simply getting the seed into the ground. It included proper depth and protection of the seed. We used a mechanical seed drill that inserted seed a few inches into the ground. The mechanical drill had a storage box on top filled with seed. As we drove across the plowed fields the seed dropped through tubes into the soil. This was followed by narrow wheels that rolled over the seed packing and sealing the seed under the topsoil. The seed had to be deep enough to be protected. If the tubes were not properly adjusted for depth the seed would stay on the surface and be blown away or eaten by birds. If the wheels didn’t firmly pack the soil over the seed it would be exposed and lost. The seed had to go deep and be protected to produce a harvest in due season.
As ministry leaders, we receive the Word of God into our hearts, but do we let it go deeply into prepared soil and do we protect it? We must guard our heart for it is the wellspring of life.(Prov. 4:23) We must protect, remember, and meditate upon the Word. The heart of a king is a heart that protects the seed of the Word. Whether it’s the prophetic word, written word, word of counsel, word of wisdom, word of teaching, the heart of a king attentively retains that word. For what purpose? To produce a harvest!
Many leaders wonder why they don’t see fruit in their lives and ministries. Could it be they never let the seed of the word go deeply into their heart? Could it be they’ve not covered or retained the Word that was sown? Some leaders give superficial acknowledgment to the Word. They can speak and preach it, but it never sprouts, becomes rooted, and produces within their heart. I encourage you to be attentive to protect and retain the Word that is sown in you. Then you will see fruit in your harvest.
Therefore, if we have the heart of a King we have a heart filled with good thoughts and motives, grounded in strength of character and integrity, carrying confidence of Father’s authority, and ruling with excellence in our sphere of influence. Wow! Makes you want to have the heart of a king; the reflection of the King of Kings, Jesus Christ. Jesus said that those who believed in Him would have His ‘kingdom within them’. (Luke 17:20, 21) The good and noble heart condition begins with establishing His kingdom within you.
In Luke 8 Jesus ministered truth through the parable of the sower. In verse 15 He gives us 4 steps to creating the heart of a king; ‘But the seed on good soil stands for those with a good and noble heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop’.
First, we must hear the Word of God. He’s not talking about physical hearing so much as hearing with your spiritual ears. This is a deeper place of really HEARING and perceiving what the Father is saying through His written Word, the prophetic word, Godly counsel from leaders and ministers, teaching of the Word, and direct words from the Holy Spirit. A noble heart hears and perceives the Father! Hearing with the heart is an active, not passive, activity.
Three times in the New Testament Isaiah 6:9 and 10 is quoted ‘you will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ This scripture reminds us that we must truly hear and perceive at a deeper level in our heart to understand. The Word of God is NOT background noise! It is not frivolous words to be mixed with all the flood of digital information pouring into our minds from laptops, video streaming, ipods, email, cellphones, etc. It is not truly heard and perceived unless it is deliberately pondered and considered in your heart. You must mull it over!
If you truly desire to have the heart of a King, open your heart to hearing and perceiving at a deeper level. Listen to and ponder intently what the Holy Spirit is saying via the written word. Consider carefully the prophetic word spoken to you. Meditate on teaching that challenges you to a deeper level. Take in small doses of scripture, but study the depth and breadth of meaning. As you hear and perceive the Word will take root in the soil of your heart.
I’ll continue with the next steps to a good and noble heart in the next post.
We speak, we act, and we live our lives out of the overflow of our hearts. The heart of is key to the spiritual lives of men and women in the Body of Christ. It’s where we live!!! With this post I am starting a new series on ‘The Heart of a King’ that will transform your understanding of your heart.
The heart is the most powerful force in our daily walk. It is the decision hub of life. Some of you may think, ‘I thought the born-again spirit was the most powerful force’. Our born-again spirit is completely righteous and holy because of our believing in Jesus, but it only influences our decisions as we allow it. The Bible is clear that we have free will and choice in life. We can believe or doubt with our heart (Rom. 10:9, 10; Mk.11:23; Heb.3:12). We can forgive or not forgive from the heart (Matt. 18:35). We can understand or remain ignorant (Acts 28:27; Eph. 1:18). We can love or hate (Matt.22:37; Luke 10:27; 1 Pet. 1:22). We can ponder or ignore (Luke 2:19). And, we can open or close, harden or soften the heart (2 Cor. 6:11, 13; Acts 16:24; Matt. 19:8). It is the place where we choose to be victim or victor, a giver or a taker, a serf or king.
The powers listed above all come from the New Testament as a sampling of those found throughout scripture. I used New Testament examples because the Heavenly Father relates to us differently under the New Covenant than under the Old Covenant. Under the Old Covenant the Father related to people through the soul and the heart. Man’s spirit was not born-again before Jesus. The Father primarily used external, tangible means (fire, miracles, audible words, words of prophets, etc.) that could be received by the 5 senses and considered by the heart of man. While the Spirit of God could be ON a man or woman, it was not IN a man or woman. He would choose one man or woman to whom He would speak, direct, and guide as leader of His people.
Under the New Covenant of faith and grace with Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, the Father primarily relates to us by way of the Holy Spirit. That is, He speaks to us spirit to spirit. The New Testament makes it clear that we are a 3-part being; spirit, soul, and body. He made our spirit-man perfectly righteous and holy when we received Jesus as savior, redeemer, and Lord. Therefore our spirit is in direct communication with the Father. We have His written revealed Word to deposit within us and to discern as Truth. We have direct access, to and from, the throne room of the Father by way of the Spirit of God.
While we have direct access as often and as much as we desire, we do not necessarily make our decisions based upon that relationship. Sometimes we make decisions based primarily upon our intellectual understanding (soul), or primarily with our emotions (soul), or primarily based upon physical condition, e.g. pain (body). At other times we acted based upon our spirit in communication with the Holy Spirit e.g. obey a Word from the Lord, sing in a spiritual language, and apply for different employment. But WHERE do we make that decision? We make it in the heart, that undefined intersection of soul and spirit where core beliefs, values, priorities, and character are established. It is seat of the will of man. The heart is the axis of adjudication, the pivot point of power, and the center of conclusion. It is out of the heart that the issues of life flow.
Join me in these next weeks as we consider ‘The Heart of a King’.
Freedom means staying out of jail. Sounds simple doesn’t it? Paul said “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free”! He penned this scripture to a people being enticed back to spiritual slavery…..the believers in Galatia. They had received ‘good news’. Jesus set them free from the slavery of the Law of Moses; the incarceration of the ten commandments and regulations that bound them to spiritual death at each and every violation and transgression of sin. They were a people who joyfully celebrated freedom….figuratively leaping from the darkness of the jail cell and into the daylight of spiritual freedom through Jesus. They experienced true freedom of spirit and soul…..living on the edge by the leading of the Holy Spirit, applying the discipline of the Word, and walking in the faith and grace of the new covenant. Then….teachers of the law came to entice them back to the old ways…the ways of regulations, outward appearance, and tradition. Enticing them to the predictability of formulas, the co-dependency of family, and the security of a jail cell.
So it is today. Many believers are being enticed back to jail; back to the incarceration of church formulas, punch card church life, co-dependant family relationships, and the safe feeling of spiritual ‘jail’. Let’s face it….living by the leading of the Holy Spirit is risky! It defies the norms of culture.
On one hand there are the believers who select and attend church because of tradition. They prefer the low risk security of predictability. On the other hand there are believers who stay away from churches….even the churches with life, substance and a vibrant flow of the Spirit, because of the safety of their personal ‘God and me’ jail cell. Neither person is free. Both are choosing spiritual incarceration…..one the tradition of organized religion….the other the tradition of personal religion…..one the safety of group incarceration..the other the safety of individual incarceration. Neither is experiencing the freedom for which Christ set them free!!
The Holy Spirit is wooing many to the freedom of a life in the Spirit. A life of abundance and fullness, serving God, building people and reaching beyond internal walls to the freedom and blessing. The Holy Spirit is wooing us to engage in spiritual life….with others! He is wooing us to freedom from restraint of culture and comfort. He is wooing you! Are you responding?
Click here to read more about the battle for spiritual freedom.
by Harvey Wittmier
I know that everyone has awesome times of challenge, testing, growth, deliverance, healing, perseverance, and transformation of mind and heart in our lives. It is in these stretching times that the Lord brings forth the gold and silver, the substantive things with eternal value, and we reflect His nature and image in a greater way. Every test and every testimony will be different reflecting the many faceted aspects of the Father's influence in our lives. When these events in life are documented and shared with everyone the Father gets the credit. I encourage each of you to ask the Holy Spirit for one or more testimonies you can share in the coming weeks and months. Share them on this blog in the comments section. Or share them with your friends and neighbors. Share them at church.
I am reminded of the time when Jewish leaders told Peter and John they could preach, but not in the name of Jesus (Acts 4). They could say anything they wanted to say as long as Jesus was not glorified among the people. The religious folks didn't care what Peter and John said privately about Jesus, only what they said publicly. The Word says the religious leaders wanted "to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people" (Acts 4:17). A public testimony of God's goodness in your life spreads among the people! It reveals the silver and gold in your life brought forth by that name—the name of Jesus. It brings encouagement and rejoicing in the body of Christ. We get to celebrate God's goodness with you.
So, share your testimony!
True wisdom comes to you through the grace of God, the favor of the Father. We continue to grow in wisdom as we grow in His grace.
In Prov. 4:9 Solomon wrote by the Spirit of God regarding wisdom, ‘she will set a garland of grace on your head.’ He spoke of our minds encircled and decorated with the presence of grace.
True Godly wisdom is sown by the Father as a gift of grace, flows and grows in us as a work of grace, and brings forth a harvest as a product of grace. Our growth in wisdom is a process of transformation from seed, to blossom, to harvest. We are a planting of the Lord and growing in wisdom part of the transformation process! Paul says in Romans 12:2 to ‘be transformed by the renewing of your mind.’ The garland of grace about our heads is the wisdom of the Father coming through His favor upon our lives. We don’t work for it. We ask, receive and believe (James 1:5-8). As we do so, we grow in wisdom and the people around us began to see the ‘garland of grace’ encircling our minds.
Many people wonder ‘how do I continue to live in wisdom after I receive it?’ They know they have the ‘seed of wisdom’ but aren’t sure about how to nurture it. We continue to live in wisdom as we allow the Lord to transform our minds to believe His favor in our lives; favor through the person of Jesus Christ. We must believe we are the righteousness of God, in Christ Jesus.
Living in wisdom will eventually reveal a ‘garland of grace’ on your head. It comes forth as we are dependent upon the daily flow of grace--knowing we don’t deserve wisdom, but that is comes free of charge because of Jesus. The seed of wisdom is a powerful seed in our lives.
Today, look to the seed of wisdom, Jesus Christ, to continue to grow and mature to the level needed in your life.
Need more wisdom? Click here to read another post on Wisdom by Harvey Wittmier.
A ministry friend from Kenya is a trained optometrist and will be managing the 3 day clinic. He needs donations of prescription and non-prescription eye glasses for that clinic. In addition, we have a request for reading glasses for another 40 pastors connected to Crossfire Church in Uganda.
Starting this Sunday we will accept donations of your old pair of prescription glasses, reading glasses, etc to take with us to Uganda. You can also purchase reading glasses any any pharmacy to donate to the cause. Collect them from your friends and relatives! Bring them to church on Sunday. We'll be accepting these donations until Friday, July 30th. Thank you!
If you would like to send us your eyeglass donations, please mail them to:
5910 S. University Blvd C18-219
Greenwood Village, CO 80121
Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom! (Prov. 4:7) Praise the Lord! From definition to position to acquisition to retention, we’ve been on the road to getting wisdom. You’ve got it, now hang on to it. Once you’ve tasted the fruit of the Father’s wisdom, seen the results in your life, and experienced the abundance in life Jesus promised you will want to stay in that flow of wisdom.
Retaining that flow of the Father’s wisdom is really quite simple, perhaps similar to other aspects of walking with God on a continual basis.
1) First, you stay hooked in to the source, Jesus. In John 15:5 Jesus said very clearly, I am the vine, you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. Staying hooked in to Jesus is not so much about eternal life as about abundant life; i.e. maintaining the heart perspective of ‘you can do nothing without Him’. Remember my previous posts. Wisdom is not a one time ‘zap’ for the moment, but a continual place of living. When your daily walk is grounded on this principle you will retain a flow of wisdom in your life.
2) Second, hang out with wise people. Solomon said ‘he who walks with the wise, grows wise.’(Prov. 13:20) You hang around with people who value and walk in the riches of wisdom. By ‘walk with them’ I mean having wise people as your inner circle of influence... them influencing you...you influencing them.
I’m not talking about creating a ‘wisdom clique’ of people who think too highly of their intellect. I’m talking about your life associations of key influencers; men and women of wisdom. You’ll know who they are. They’re not necessarily ones with the biggest businesses, largest churches, or biggest bank accounts. They’re not necessarily the opposite of that, either. They are men and women who display the fruit of wisdom described in my previous post. They walk in stability, peace, and perseverance, displaying a continual fruitfulness in whatever call, position, or demographic of society in which they reside. Find them and hang with them.
3) Third, continually cultivate your heart of humility. This follows closely with my first point above. You continually remind yourself that, in spite of your knowledge, understanding, and display of fruitfulness, you are completely dependent upon the Father for all of it. You positioned yourself for gaining wisdom with a heart of humility recognizing your personal wisdom and knowledge were insufficient for life. Stay there!!!
I occasionally see men and women who gained wisdom, walked in a good measure of knowledge, and displayed wisdom fruit but begin to lose it all when they got ‘too big for their britches’. They slowly stopped depending upon the Father and subtly began to exalt themselves.
- The business person or CEO who gave great credit and financial profit to employees now takes most of the credit and financial profit to him or herself. When invited to share their wisdom and knowledge at speaking engagements it becomes more about them than about the Father.
- The pastor or preacher who always took time to talk to their followers, suddenly has no time for anyone.
All you who are filled with wisdom, stay humble. Keep that heart of humility tended and cultivated by the Father’s grace and love.
Wisdom is like a tree. It is deeply rooted and grows over time perennially producing fruit. Many Christians view wisdom as simply getting a word from the Lord for a moment. They view wisdom like those annual flowers you must plant every year to produce blooms of beauty. It is so much more than that!
Yes, the Lord can and does give us a word for the moment, a beautiful blossom from His Spirit that may include a nugget of wisdom, but lasting spiritual wisdom comes from having your roots in the deep well of God’s spiritual being. It comes from being grounded in who Jesus is in you. It is Jesus ‘in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.’ (Col.2:3)
As you establish your roots in the Word of God which reveals Jesus, grow in the trunk of identity that is Jesus, and raise your spiritual branches to the move of His Holy Spirit, you will produce wisdom fruit. Not just once but a continuing, perennial flow of wisdom fruit.
The Man or Woman who is deeply rooted in the Lord will ask, receive, believe, and walk in wisdom continually like a tree continually produces leaves and fruit. What is the fruit of the tree of wisdom? What does that fruit look like in your life? There are many, many benefits of wisdom, but I narrowed my list of fruit down to 26 things.
Such a man or woman of wisdom:
- lives in purity of motives,
- loves peace,
- is considerate of others,
- exhibits a submissive nature,
- is merciful to people,
- produces good fruit,
- shows impartial judgment,
- is sincere in heart,
- gains understanding from the Father,
- has protection from evil,
- lives in prosperity of soul,
- receives profits more valuable than silver or gold,
- gains the favor of man,
- experiences health,
- receives blessing from the Father,
- has no fear of man or evil,
- receives honor,
- makes laws that are just,
- lives a long life,
- is even tempered,
- has patience,
- has power,
- reveals sweetness of soul,
- is a joy to their father,
- lives a good life,
- and is one whose deeds are done in humility. (Prov. 7:7-22; 3:2; 3:4; 3:8; 3:12; 3:23,24; 8:15; 12:8; 17:27; 19:11; 21:20; 22:4; 24:5; 24:14; 27:11; 29:3; James 3:13; 3:17)
Scripture says ‘Oh the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God’(Rom. 11:33). It does not say the riches of your experiences or your knowledge!!!!! Our life experiences create a wealth of information that can help us be effective leaders in business and ministry. However, those life experiences also create belief systems, or paradigms, which may cause doubt and wavering when we seek wisdom from the Lord. However, if we let our Father rock our beliefs He leads us to rock solid stability. We choose believe God’s wisdom in spite of our belief system.
We see in James 1:6 that when we ask the Lord for wisdom we are to ‘believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.’ If you’ve ever been in a boat on stormy water, you’ll understand that scripture. Being blown around feels very unstable and very uncomfortable! That’s how we initially feel when God downloads wisdom that does not line up with our inner beliefs on leadership.
Any supernatural wisdom coming from the deep well of God’s Spirit may shatter some old belief system in your life. For example, many years ago I was in a leadership position in government and responsible for hiring a person for a critical management position. As I considered possible candidates, the Lord brought to my attention a person who was a vocal, articulate opponent of some of the policies and work we were doing. I asked for the Father’s wisdom, and He showed me that this person could become a vocal, articulate advocate once inside our organization. My experiences said ‘never hire the opposition’. My Father pulled back the veil of the future to revealing how this person could become a great advocate and leader in the organization.
I chose to put aside my experiential beliefs, embrace the Father’s riches of wisdom, and believe that hiring this person would bring the fruit I saw beyond the veil. I did just exactly that. For the first year or so, I questioned whether or not it was really God’s wisdom!! It did not go smoothly at first, but I continued to believe and not doubt and His wisdom was proved right. Jesus said in Matt. 11:19 ‘wisdom is proved right by her actions’. God’s wisdom was proved right, not in the first year, but as I continued to believe and act upon that wisdom.
Within a couple years this person became not only the voice of advocacy, but a voice of leadership that exceeded my expectations. He helped lead our organization to excellence. The Father’s wisdom initially rocked my boat, but ultimately stabilized and expanded my success. It can do the same for you. Ask for His wisdom for something in your life today. Let is rock your boat! But continue to believe and not doubt and you will be stabilized as you see His wisdom proved right.
Wisdom is free for those who ask, receive, and believe! Yes, you can have wisdom because of Jesus and what He accomplished on the cross.
In the recent posts I defined supernatural Godly wisdom. I also revealed how your heart attitude positions you to receive that wisdom. Now we must discover how to acquire wisdom. It’s really quite easy—just ask, receive, and believe!!!
James told the church in James 1:5, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” Wow! Just ask. The believer in Jesus Christ has continual access to the Father’s wisdom by asking!!
Note that the scripture says God will give generously. He does not withhold any good thing from those who love Him and live in Him. Wisdom is not about drips and drabs, but about generous portions.
More importantly, God does not find fault in the one who asks!! Your sin of yesterday or today does not restrict the flow of wisdom. Yes, you heard that correctly—that’s what I said!
In the same way we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus, so also we have access to wisdom by grace through faith in Jesus. Grace means ‘undeserved favor and blessing’. In the same way we ask and receive Jesus and the gift of salvation, so do we ask and receive the gift of wisdom.
Jesus took away your sin of yesterday, today, and tomorrow—opening the door to supernatural wisdom without the Father finding fault with you. This sounds radical, but it’s simply the ‘good news’ that Jesus proclaimed. Acquiring wisdom from the Father is not conditioned upon merit, upon good works, or upon your current behavior. It’s based upon what I posted over the last couple weeks: your humility of heart, i.e. your personal realization that you don’t have it, you need it, and the Father gives it…..freely…..if you ask.
The reason your heart is involved is that if you think you’re so smart you already have all the wisdom you need, you won’t even ask Him. Every leader must come to the place of knowing how much Jesus really did for us. Leading with wisdom can never be a reality in your life until you understand your free access to it. Jesus gave you the gift of the open door to the storeroom of wisdom.
You don’t earn wisdom! You receive it as a gift from the Father.
God’s wisdom is more than simply hearing the Holy Spirit say ‘yes’ or ‘no’. In my last post I revealed how the Lord had given me direction, strategy, and foresight as I worked in the world of legislative politics. I needed more than a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ from Him. I needed to understand beyond what I understood in the natural in the political atmosphere in which I worked. Part of your positioning for gaining wisdom is to understand the dimension of wisdom.
Many Christians who pray for wisdom are usually expecting a ‘yes’ or ‘no’. They are not seeking or expecting strategy, expanded vision, and foresight beyond the veil of the temporal realm. As they pray they often become frustrated when the Lord does not give them that simple answer. They are waiting for a prophetic word or the small quiet voice of the Spirit to say ‘yea’ or ‘nay’ for their question.
If you want as ‘yes’ or ‘no’ from the Lord you are not seeking wisdom, you are seeking a decision. Wisdom is much deeper than yea or nay, right or left. Wisdom carries with it a deeper understanding. It is embedded with spiritual longevity and depth that nourishes your thoughts, your decisions, your strategies, and your influence in leadership. It carries value beyond a day, a week, a month because it is given by the Lord to undergird your decisions, your prayers, and your leadership beyond the day, the week, or the next month.
Paul told the church in Corinth when he was speaking of Godly wisdom that ‘the Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God’ (1 Cor. 2:10). The ‘deep things of God’ are long lasting. The deep well of the Spirit never runs dry. When understood and embraced the wisdom of God stabilizes and sustains us over time.
The Father’s wisdom for your soul is like protein for your body. It takes more time to digest protein but it sustains the body for a longer time.
Most believers are spiritual consumers of sugar and carbs. They want something now for the moment. They want a word from the Lord today so they can make it today. They want encouragement today so they can survive today. The Lord will provide a word of encouragement for a day, but because they have a short term request, they get short term supply. They get the immediate satisfaction of getting a ‘word from the Lord’, but they didn’t get wisdom --they simply got a word that, like sugar and carbs will sustain for a short time, because their perspective was for a short time need.
In God’s goodness and grace He gives them what they ask for. He supplies the immediate need. If only they had asked for wisdom! If only they had asked for spiritual protein to digest and nourish for a longer time. If only they had searched for the deep things of God!! He would have given it!!!
Now, don’t get me wrong. We all occasionally need a ‘word from the Lord’ today to get us through the day, but that should not be our primary perspective as leaders in the body of Christ. Ministry leaders often complain about people in their church or ministry who are constantly needy, constantly looking for a word from the Lord, or constantly limited to a short term perspective.
Leaders; it starts with you. You must value spiritual protein over spiritual carbs. You must value and search the deep things of God. You must desire a long term, deeper understanding and strategy that go beyond your current ministry crisis. As you model valuing, seeking, and searching wisdom that sustains for the long haul you will see those who follow seek and obtain that same wisdom.
He desired to live beyond the 5 senses in a dimension that only His heavenly Father could provide. His number one request of the Lord upon becoming a leader was ‘help me lead by giving me wisdom and understanding. His heart attitude paved the way for access to the Father’s wisdom.
I experienced huge needs for wisdom in my leadership roles in government. I often saw my job and too big and the outcome too important to lead from my own ability and understanding. Many years ago I had the assignment to gain state legislative approval of a land conservation project. That project was adamantly opposed by many and initially defeated in that state’s legislative body.
Upon the defeat, I asked the Lord for wisdom as to how to bring this project to a fruitful outcome in His eyes. He started by giving me specific scripture that helped me address the spiritual opposition. He then gave me a strategy to reduce the size and scope of the project while retaining the overall benefits. I offered this strategy to local people, to the state legislature, and to my superiors. My superiors told me they really didn’t see any chance at success but agreed to let me pursue the strategy. They thought it could only end in another failed attempt.
As we embarked on a second attempt to gain legislative approval, key people began to support the project. Key legislators began to agree with the revised scope. While some opposition was still very strong, the legislature voted approval of the project. While 24 amendments were offered during committee and floor debate, many of which would have created defacto failure of the project, the only 2 amendments to gain approval were those that I signaled as acceptable. Wow!! What a change in only 1 year.
‘Wisdom is supreme, do gain wisdom!’ The words of Solomon became reality in a big way, not only to me but to my superiors who were shocked at the outcome. It all started with my heart attitude that I could not do it with my own wisdom and understanding.
Your challenge in leadership may not be legislation or anything related to government, but the challenge may be much greater. Position your heart to receive the Lord’s wisdom by acknowledging your own wisdom is not enough. Ask and see the hand of the Lord then work a mighty outcome on behalf of His kingdom.
Humility includes the reverential fear of the Lord (Prov. 1:7), knowing how awesome He is for everything we face as leaders. However, Jesus best defined this form of humility when He said to the devil, ‘worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only’(Matt. 4:10). Jesus was quoting Deut. 6:13 which uses the word ‘fear’, but Jesus used the word ‘worship’ when he quoted that scripture. His understanding of true humility and fear of God is in our worshiping Him as creator, savior, deliverer, provider, healer, and Father. Jesus was not scared of His Father, but He worshiped Him.
No one on earth is positioned for heavenly wisdom to lead without being in awe of and worshiping the Father. We must fathom the all-knowing and all-powerful attributes of the Father to understand the relative insignificance of our own wisdom to lead people. When we worship Him we open our heart to gain His perspective to lead. We open our minds to His intellect and strategy for organizing. We embrace His long term view of today’s decisions bringing His plan and success into being. Position yourself for wisdom to lead. Embrace that place of humility as you worship the Father.
‘Wisdom is supreme, therefore get wisdom.’ These were the words of Solomon, a great leader and man of wisdom (Prov. 4). His leadership was undergirded with an ability to see beyond the vale, bringing forth decisions that yielded Godly results for his people.
Wisdom is insightful for a purpose--to make your decisions leading to the Father’s planned results. Wisdom brings with it the ability to understand what is behind the façade of a circumstance.
As leaders, we primarily see and experience life with our five senses. We tend to evaluate and make leadership decisions with those five senses. Oh yes, as Christian leaders we pray, but even our prayer is often focused on what we have seen, heard, smelled, touched, or tasted in a life situation. So our praying becomes laden with those 5 senses.
To have wisdom for a particular situation we must have a view of what’s ‘behind the curtain’ or what God sees from his higher vantage point. Wisdom then gives you insight beyond the 5 senses and discerns the action that will bring forth God’s results.
So, what is the definition of wisdom? Wisdom is the capacity for supernatural insight into the true nature of things paralleled by the ability to discern a correct mode of action with a view of the results of such action.
Solomon was such a man, but the secret to his wisdom started before he had wisdom. It started with one great quality: humility. We see this immediately upon being crowned king. The Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream and said ‘ask for whatever you want Me to give you’. The Lord’s words were like having a genie in a bottle. . .whatever you want!!!! Solomon’s response to this very open ended opportunity for ANYTHING he wanted was; ‘now, o Lord my God, you have made you servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a child and do not know how to carry out my duties’(1 Kings 3:5-7).
Wow! He didn’t respond based upon a desire for wealth, possessions, women, battlefield success, a starter castle, or a Mecedes Benz that would bring the appearance of immediate success. He responded based upon the humility in recognizing his own inability to lead. He recognized it was not his ability that got him the coronation; it was the Lord’s ability. He recognized that in the world of leadership, he was a child, was immature, was lacking in what it would take to successfully lead people spiritually and politically.
All wisdom begins with humility. It starts by recognizing your own insufficiency to govern. It starts by recognizing the need for greater maturity as a leader.
“Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom”. The words of Solomon (Prov. 4), declare the supreme value and absolute necessity of wisdom to lead people successfully. Wisdom to lead is wisdom to succeed.
Without wisdom all leaders become ‘flash in the pan’ seekers of whatever will work to bring success. They tend to have a short term view of their decisions, their business, and their ministry.
Leaders with wisdom are more stable, living life from a long term perspective of what the Lord sees as success, rather than what may look like success today.
With this post I am beginning a new series on Leading with Wisdom. This will be a journey from definition to position, to acquisition and then to retention of wisdom.
Photo of Ugandan children from the CrossFire Uganda church ministries.
Less is really more. I’m just back from Africa processing thoughts about all that transpired spiritually and physically in Uganda and Kenya. I had the honor of dedicating the first local church to be a partner in the CrossFire International Alliance. What an awesome time of ministry among the people at CrossFire Church in the Kawempi District of Kampala, Uganda! I looked at all this small church and I saw that less is really more.
With a handful of people, this church supports two primary schools serving over 260 children. While using limited educational resources they are educating children who cannot afford the mandatory school fees. Over 250 kilometers from the church, they have a ministry to over a dozen adults living with HIV. In that same area they have a feeding program for children, giving them porridge on a regular basis. It is also in this distant location they have one of the two primary schools!! Near the church is an educational program empowering women to a sustainable income by teaching them to be tailors. There are other programs and projects, all inspired by the Holy Spirit, undergirded by seemingly few resources but having a great impact for the kingdom of God. It challenges me as a pastor and leader in the church in the U.S. to never overlook what appears to be ‘little’, while paralyzed by the paradigm of ‘more’.
I am reminded of Peter’s words to the crippled man in the temple courts. He said ‘silver and gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk. Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong' (Acts 3:6,7).
Many of us in ministry limit the kingdom of God because we focus on what we don’t have. We see other churches and ministries with large financial resources then comparing it to what we have. We say to ourselves ‘if only I had that kind of money I’d be able to_______.' Peter didn’t do that. He looked at what he had and he used it. It appeared to be less than what was needed for the circumstance, but it was really more than enough to meet the need. Peter extended his right hand and his spiritual authority. God’s will was accomplished at that moment. My Ugandan friends seem to have less than many churches in that area, but really they have more. CrossFire Church, Uganda extends their hand and their authority and accomplish so more than seems possible.
I encourage leaders to use what you have, rather than be paralyzed by what you don’t have. If you have 10 people who will help, then 10 people can accomplish God’s will. If you have $10, then $10 can accomplish God’s will. Extend your hand and your authority and you’ll discover your ‘less is really more’.
The Word of God is sharp as a two-edge sword (Heb. 4:12)! It has incredible power to affect your life as you embrace what the Lord has said in His Word. The written Word of God is how we have come to know and understand the person and power of Jesus Christ, the difference between old and new covenants, the abundance of grace freely given to His church, and the power of a spirit led life in Christ. It is the Word from which all preaching, teaching, prophecy, encouragement, and correction must eminate. What power the Word of God carries as we embrace it with out born again spirit and let it renew our minds bringing forth the abundance of life in Christ!
Yet, I during my time in ministry I have questioned whether some ministry and business leaders place value in His Word. After 10 years of ministry in Africa I have seen a disturbing pattern among some leaders. There is a belief in Africa going back to the early missionaries and colonial days. That belief is that ministers who come to preach and teach the Word should pay the way for local pastors and evangelists to come and hear the word.
This belief reveals a deeper issue regarding how the Word, whether written or spoken is valued among leaders. To believe that people outside your church, ministry or business must pay for you to receive is believing a lie. A leader who values the Word of God will find anyway possible to be fed, encouraged, and taught from that Word. You can't expect those who follow to place value on that which you do not value.
For Africa to move forward in the power of the Word leaders must embrace the value of the Word. I encourage leaders whether in Africa, America, Asia or elsewhere to inspect your heart to discover how much value you place on the Word of God. The Word of God is sharper than any two edged sword....let it penetrate your soul and spirit and bring forth value in your life.
Uganda calls! I will be leaving for Uganda right after Resurrection Day in response to the Holy Spirit. Over a year ago the Holy Spirit spoke to us that we were going to a specific people in Uganda that were forgotten and cast aside. Deborah pioneered in ministry there last fall, laying the apostolic groundwork for what I will do in April, dedicating the first international church in the CrossFire International Alliance. What an honor!!!
Ephesians 2:20 says that God’s household is “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.” The apostolic ministry is a ministry of laying spiritual foundations, establishing God’s kingdom in the hearts of people, and building the household of God into an awesome, inspiring, and holy dwelling place.
The Lord has birthed an alliance of ministries to advance His Kingdom in these last days. CrossFire Church in Uganda will be part of this alliance, centered in Jesus, passionate about Truth, and fierce in the face of our foe, the devil. We move forward in all that the Lord has asked, knowing that we have nothing to fear because as a prophet told us by the Spirit of God; ‘You have nothing to fear, you have Elohim!!
I encourage you as a leader in the Body of Christ to move forward in the strength of the Messiah, responding to His calling on your life, and embracing His kingdom purpose to declare Jesus as Lord of the nations. Whatever that looks like in your ministry, advance without fear, for you have Elohim!!
whose rider is called Faithful and True.
The second ride will be greater than the first ride.
On Palm Sunday almost 2000 years ago Jesus took his first ride as King into Jerusalem to the greeting and shouts of the masses. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, "Hosanna to the son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!" (Matthew 21:8-9)
His first ride as king was in humility and humanity on a young donkey fulfilling the prophetic word if Zechariah 9:9, “Say to the Daughter of Zion, See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” Jesus was riding to an appointment with the cross. He rode as a man, a carpenter, a teacher, a very human king to many of those shouting ‘Hosanna’. That was His first ride, but just as the latter reign is greater than the former reign, so will the second ride be greater and more glorious than the first.
We see the picture of his second ride in the revelation of John:
I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice He judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on His head are many crowns. His has a name written on Him that no one knows but He Himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and His name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following Him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of His mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron scepter. He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On His robe and on His thigh He has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
As we approach celebration of another Resurrection Day, there is excitement in my spirit that we approach a step closer to the time for Jesus’ second ride. But this ride will be more glorious than the first. He will be on a white horse, a grand steed. This ride will be as a warrior, a king, a ruler and as LORD of Lords. He will wield a sword. Instead of a crown of thorns he will wear crowns of righteousness. What a day that will be!
Get ready. . . He’s coming!!!
As we mature, we place more and more trust in the Lord. But the Father is also trusting us with treasures of the Kingdom, including His people.
As leaders we will leave a legacy of men and women who have been influenced by our leadership. As we mentor and develop people around us we must do so with an objective of ultimately trusting them enough to delegate responsibility and authority.
Paul wrote to Timothy, one whom he mentored as a father would mentor a son, ‘the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will be qualified to teach others.’(2 Tim. 2:2).
He told Titus, another recipient of Paul’s mentoring, ‘I left you in Crete so that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you.’ Paul was confident that these two young men were trustworthy with responsibility and authority. They were trustworthy leaders who could lead and teach others to lead. He had invested years of a father’s heart into them bearing the fruit of trust in their faithfulness and leadership ability.
Our Father God is the ultimate mentor as He not only equips us to be leaders through the transforming power of Jesus Christ, but He has delegated authority and responsibility to be leaders on earth until the return of Jesus. He entrusted His church to us! Be encouraged that you, a leader, can invest in others to the point of trusting them with treasures of the Kingdom.
In Ephesians 4:12,13, Paul told the church in Ephesus that the 5-fold ministry gifts were to ‘prepare God’s people’ so that they would ‘become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.’ Great, but how does a leader become mature?
There are many aspects to growing and maturing as a leader but there is one core tenant that is foundational to developing true, mature leadership. It is the process of walking through trials and troubles of life. Trials and perseverance are necessary, but inconvenient partners in growing into the maturity of Christ.
We mature and grow in leadership stability and stature as we persevere in faith and harness our emotions walking through the trials of life. Every trial, no matter how great or small, is a test of your perseverance. Every leader has a choice in the midst of a trial. He or she can ‘boing’! (which is a term I like to use to describe reacting like a coiled spring: emotionally reacting and responding in the flesh). Or, he or she can deny there is a trial, i.e. they walk in false faith--simply denying that the trial exists but calling it faith.
Or, the leader can walk through that trial fully knowing and understanding the possible negative outcomes. As he or she walks through it with that knowledge, he or she walks by faith and not by sight.
Leaders who walk in understanding persevere-- refusing to be in denial and refusing to ‘boing’ off into an emotional roller coaster. They may experience suffering in the process but it doesn’t throw them off track. These leaders grow in maturity and into the fullness of Christ. Romans 5:3 says we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom He has given us.
The leader who perseveres will NOT be disappointed and becomes a man or woman of maturity!
Paul was a leader of leaders and called himself an ‘expert or master builder’ (1 Cor. 3:10). He mentored and molded individual believers, but his leadership focus was on the house, not the brick. As a leader of leaders, he let many others mold the bricks, while he focused on joining the bricks together into a kingdom structure.
He said ‘in Him (Jesus) the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord’ (Eph. 2:21). He knew that a single brick was not a kingdom structure. He knew that a bunch of single bricks scattered around the foundation was not a kingdom structure.
It was the assembling and joining of the bricks to each other that rose to become a kingdom structure. Paul had a great ability to join the bricks together using the mortar of the Spirit of God to guide him as a master builder. A leader of leaders may mold some individual bricks, but as a ‘master builder’ the 2010 leader must stay focused aligning and joining the bricks together to rise into the kingdom that the Lord desires.