Tonight, our world closes the chapter on one year and turns the page to another that is new, untarnished, clean, pure, and open to all God has in store for us.
Tonight, most people will make resolutions related to their physical health and well-being. However, we need an emphasis on our spiritual health and well-being, especially as we lead into the vast new year ahead.
Now is the time.
Now is all we know with certainty.
Reflect on the past year, but look ahead into the new with a motivation to act, to lead now!
We’ve heard the phrase “caught between a rock and a hard place.” Paul expressed this thought to the church at Philippi. He felt torn between going to be with the Lord and remaining in the flesh to help these Christians.
There are those who are caught in the middle between two friends.
There are children who are born in the middle between two siblings.
There are Christians who religiously walk in the middle of the road.
However, Paul wasn’t, nor can leaders today, be in the middle of the road regarding God’s word. Leaders need dedication and confidence to move others from where they are to where they need to go.
“Lead is a verb, leader is a noun, and leadership is both.” Not sure who to credit with this thought, but it speaks volumes.
Leadership involves both the person and action.
Leadership speaks to both who we are and what we do.
Leadership requires an effort to develop both the individual and method.
Leadership drives home the necessity of personality and character.
We must keep in mind the development process of making great spiritual leaders. The constant dedication to the act of molding one’s ability to lead helps us become the leadership of God.
Jon Acuff learned the following lesson from his father who had taken up cycling; “It’s easier to draft than it is to lead, but when you lead, you help somebody else go faster than they ever could have on their own.”
It might be easier to draft, coasting along without much struggle. However, it does not bring the change needed for the spiritual success of others or ourselves.
Leadership provides a foundation for the future success of everyone and it empowers others to achieve greater work without them.
Leadership makes it possible for those who cannot or will not step up and change the future.
Life is too short to work at something we hate. Additionally, when we love what we do it never feels like work.
This does not mean we never experience problems or challenges, even in a job we love. However, when we love what we do, the difference is noticeable.
Regardless of our career choice, nothing holds more value than leading others to Christ. There is no greater opportunity or privilege than changing someone’s eternal destination of others.
When our relationship with God makes a difference for others, we know the love to lead.
The concept of leadership raises a multiplicity of thoughts, one of which involves the duality of our purpose.
Whether we think from a corporate, political, educational, or spiritual perspective, two key components exist: 1) first and foremost we follow someone else, and 2) we carry a responsibility to influence those who follow.
Without understanding what it means to follow someone else, we lack the humility needed to influence those who follow.
Numerous authors on leadership emphasize the significance of this truth. Unless we know how to follow, we cannot properly lead.
We do well to remember that true success is not determined by the number of people who follow us, but by the one we choose to follow. We all know of leaders who led masses of people to death and destruction because they followed a self-glorifying purpose, or the wrongful intent of someone else.
Of course we also know of those who led only a few, but led them to victory because they chose to follow God, the One who delivered and provided success.
Knowing the duality of our purpose aids the direction of our choice.
Preparation is essential in every area of life. The lack of preparation most often results in consequences that damage our influence and leadership.
Sadly, there are those who prepare to lead for the purpose of gaining an advantage over others, or to simply achieve their own agenda. These efforts may create situations where a leader gains a position of power or strengthens their popularity.
But, beware of the long term consequences. God never intended our leadership to be self-serving. Rather, He designed leadership to be self-sacrificing, one of self-denial where others are more important than self.
Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi is a quick read, but one filled with depth about the type of influence leaders were intended to have through an “others-centric” style of leading.
The right mind (humility), the right example (Christ), the right design (interest of others), and the right motive (abounding love and grace).
With this combination, leaders prepare themselves to lead with significance. The result makes an eternal difference.
“One tree can start a forest. One smile can begin a friendship. One hand can lift a soul. One word can frame the goal. One candle can wipe out darkness. One laugh can conquer gloom. One touch can show you care. One life can make the difference, be that one today.” Unknown
Leadership tends to be overplayed in the lives of most. We often think about leadership from the frontal point of view. We see a leader as the one out front, the one who gives instruction, orders, or makes the decisions.
At its core, leadership involves a type of influence that makes a difference in the lives of others. As we go through our day, can we be that one? Can we be the one who influences others with a smile, a hand, a word, or touch?
The answer is yes! This is what Jesus asks us to do as His disciples. Lead this way!
Answering questions can be challenging. Some questions can make us very uncomfortable, at least they do from a personal perspective.
How will we provide the answer in our leadership? To whom will we answer in our leadership?
The truth remains! We are going to lead, the question is where will we lead?
Are we leading others to a better life in this present world, or in relationship to God?
Do our words and actions provide a leadership of hope eternally?
Will keeping ourselves reclusive from the world lead souls to Christ?
Does a condescending message lead to the building up of the body?
Is it possible for our arrogance to lead others to humble obedience?
Will others view our leadership as serving others or serving ourselves?
Why are we leading?
This last question could be the most important question we answer.
Leadership is not intended to be disheartening or discouraging. We are challenged to lead in the greatest arena, with the greatest motive, for the greatest cause.
Where will we lead?
The beginning of a new year is only a few days away, and a new year brings opportunity for new beginnings.
Many people need a day like the first day of a new year to work on changes in their life. Some start working on new and better habits in life and others find ways to stop bad ones.
Regardless of the need for a first day of a new year, week, day, or moment, recognizing the need to improve our lives is a positive step in the right direction.
Leaders should always think about how we can use these opportunities to lead in the cause of Christ. Is today a new beginning to lead…
A soul to the light of our Savior?
A straying brother or sister to the family of God?
A deeper study into the truths of God’s word?
A more passionate approach to speak with God in prayer?
Whatever the need may be for each of us, every day is a new beginning. Let us reach forward to achieve spiritual leadership for our Lord in this day and throughout new year.