Never Stop Growing as a Leader

As your read this, ask yourself the following questions:

1. Are you neglecting your personal relationship with the Lord? “No amount of activity in the King’s service will make up for the neglect of the King Himself.” ~Robert Murray McCheyne Do you have a growing and intimate relationship with the Lord? Are you having your daily quiet time with the Lord? “Everything in our Christian life and service flows from our relationship with God. If we are not in vital fellowship with Him, everything else will be out of focus.” ~ Oswald Chambers

Building a deeper relationship with God takes time. I have found that the early morning is a great time for me to fellowship with the Lord. I love to take my cup of coffee, sit in my favorite chair, invite the Lord into the room, and begin my fellowship with Him. I have a beautiful canvas bag where I store my Quiet Time items. The things I keep in the bag are my Bible, a devotional book, my prayer journal, and a notebook. I can take this bag with me to any place (closet) where I can find a quiet spot to shut out the cares of this world and open my spirit to Jesus. When I am home, it is a special room in my house. Matthew 6:6 Jesus said, “Enter into your closet and pray. Your prayer closet can be anywhere. Sometimes my car has been my best prayer closet. I have parked in cemeteries or near the ocean. Any place where you can be alone, you can have great fellowship with the Lord. Psalm 87:7…I answered thee in the secret place…

Before I even begin my Quiet Time, I get my mind still by meditating on God’s power and majesty. Psalm 46:10 Be still and know that I am God! I focus my mind on being His presence. I then ask the Lord to show me anything in my life that might hinder my walk with Him. I like the acrostic for prayer I first learned when I first got saved. ACTS:

A-acknowledge His greatness and power
C-confess my sins
T-thank Him for His blessings
S-supplications (requests)

I have discovered that during my Quiet Time I need to listen for God to speak to me more than convince Him of my desires and plans for the day. Someone once asked me, “How do you hear God’s voice?” Sometimes I hear His voice through pastors, other Christians, and different circumstances that He puts in my life. However, the greatest time I hear His voice is when I read His Word. As I read His Word, that still small voice of the Holy Spirit personalizes Scriptures just for me that day, and He brings certain prayer requests to my mind.

I remember times in my life when I legally performed my Quiet Time out of obligation and guilt. As soon as I began to discover that this time is the most important part of my day, my Quiet Time became a source of joy and pleasure. During this time, I ask the Lord for His guidance—I ask Him to direct my steps and give me wisdom. When I listen for Him to speak to me, He shows me things He wants me to do for that day and He focuses my thoughts to the very people who need my prayers and encouragement.

Do not get me wrong—I am far from being perfect. There are still days when I get so busy that I fail to have my Quiet Times; but it is on those days, that I feel overwhelmed and confused about what I should be doing for the day. Psalms 32:8 I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way, which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with Mine eye.

I enjoy listening to instrumental praise hymns during my Quiet Time. Pandora has a station that is just quiet instrumental praise music. Psalms 87:7…all my springs (my motives) are in Thee.

I like to personalize Scripture and pray those verses back to the Lord. I am amazed how many Scriptures I have found that I can do this. Psalm 100:5 Lord, You are good and Your mercy is everlasting! Psalm 19:14 Lord, You are my strength and my redeemer.

Journalizing my prayers and writing down Scriptures that the Holy Spirit reveals and personalizes to me keeps my mind focused. Since I am not trying to impress anyone with my prayers and thoughts, my journalizing does not have to be perfect or elaborate. I enjoy reviewing old prayer journals to remind me of past prayer requests and answers.

I meditate on passages that I just read. By daily meditating upon God’s precepts, I am more equipped to give wiser counsel to others, because it is counsel from God’s Word and not from my opinion. I Timothy 4:15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Bible Memory is an excellent app to help you memorize Scripture.

2. Are you losing your purpose and passion for Christ? We must pay attention to two things: our purpose and passion. Purpose has to do with our head. Passion has to do with our heart. Purpose points us in the right direction (heaven) and passion propels us to go there. Passion and purpose go together. Passion (fervor) without purpose (knowledge) is foolishness; no one benefits from passionate ignorance. Romans 10:2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. A Christian without passion is like a river without water. A Christian without purpose is a river without banks. We must define our purpose before we can increase our passion. What motivates you to serve the Lord? We can have wrong motives for doing right things.

God must never be about the following:
• Money: Acts 20:24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. Acts 20:33 I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel.

• Our glory: 2 Corinthians 4:5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.

• Prestige: 2 Corinthians 2:17 For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ. The expression has the idea of self- interest, and especially of petty gain. It means literally to sell in small quantities for profit. Idea is that men were infiltrating their own ideas into the Word of God and the Gospel.

• Easy living: Amos 6:1 Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria, which are named chief of the nations, to whom the house of Israel came! There are three proper motives: 1. Love for the Lord (Matthew 22:36–40) 2. Love for the Bible (Psalm 119:97) 3. Love for the lost (Romans 9:2-3)

Easy living can lead to apathy. Apathy means “without love” (pathos with the a-negative). When this happens, we must intentionally take steps to increase our love…for the Lord…for the Bible…for the Lost. Ask yourself? Am I serving without loving? Is my service motivated by genuine love for God and others?

Develop friendships with friends who help you keep your passion for the Lord. Friends either drive us away from the Lord or draw us into a deeper walk with Him. A great definition for friend is, “A friend is a trusted confident to whom I am mutually drawn as a companion and an ally, whose love for me is not dependent on my performance, and whose influence draws me closer to God”. Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

Make sure your friends give you Biblical advice. Many women today are being tricked by Satan’s New Age lies. Sometimes lies can creep into a womens’minds when they begin researching natural or holistic medicine. Some doctors and Christians shun natural alternatives. Even though some Holistic medicine can be God-honoring, some of their methods have become New Age methods. Today doctors may even recommend yoga or meditation to reduce stress, but no matter how uplifting and innocent some New Age practices appear, use discernment…just like swimming at the seashore…you need to know where the undertow begins.

3. Are you relying on your natural abilities or gift? “If there is any human explanation for our Christian service . . . then however impressive our work may appear in the eyes of men, it will be burnt up in the day of testing as wood, hay, and straw. . . . The only work that will abide for eternity is that which is produced in humble dependence upon the power of God’s Holy Spirit.” ~ William Gurnall

Is your life depending on the power of the Holy Spirit? Are you allowing God to stretch you…to push you out of the “comfort zone” of what you think you can handle? Are you laying down your life for people, or are you just applying principles and programs to their problems?

4. Are you leaving the pathway of humility? If you are on the pathway to humility, you will no longer compare yourself with others. You have given up thinking of yourself when you are in God’s presence. Even though you may be wiser than those who are in leadership positions around you…you keep the spirit of a servant. You will not feel jealousy or envy when others are preferred and praised. You will not be impatient and touchy with those who do not measure up to your expectations. You will always keep a teachable spirit.

5. Are you failing to resolve conflict biblically? Is my conscience clear with every person? Is there anyone that I know who has something against me that I have not gone to? Is there anyone who has sinned against me, that I have not gone to?

6. Are you settling for the status quo? Am I exercising faith in the power of God? Am I seeking God for fresh vision and opportunities to glorify Him? What am I believing God for that only He can do?

7. Am I losing perspective? Am I forgetting how big my God is? We must have a conviction that God is omnipotent and sovereign. When we fail to remember how little we are, we will become prideful and self-sufficient. “Our circumstances are the means of manifesting how wonderfully perfect and extraordinary pure the Son of God is.” ~ Oswald Chambers

8. Am I expressing discontentment? Am I content with God’s provision in my life? Am I content with where He has placed me? Am I an encourager, a “cheerleader” for my fellow workers? Do I pray for, support, and lift up the hands of those entrusted with the leadership of the ministry?