Leaders Walk with God
If you are a leader, you have to walk with God—intimately. It starts with understanding God’s love for you. All humans need and want love. Love is powerful because God is love. We may focus on our love for others, and that is acceptable but we have to start with God’s love for us. “We love because he [God] first loved us” (1 John 4:19). God’s love for us is foundational to our capacity to love others and receive love.
Fight for Intimacy with God
Spiritual intimacy with God is a common struggle for many Christian leaders. It is a daily fight for me. Most days, I do not feel worthy of God’s love. I employ spiritual disciplines to help advance my spiritual growth. These act as starting points, but alone, are insufficient to embrace the love and grace of God altogether. I must see that God delights to use an inadequate weak person like me for His glory.
I have experienced rejection from people close to me and it profoundly affects my relationships with them. I fight to remain vulnerable because I don’t like the pain that rejection evokes. I am now aware that broken friendships cause a visceral emotion within me. It overwhelms me when conflicts arise, even if I am not involved. It is easier to remain silent, but it doesn’t accomplish the necessary gospel work in me or others. Rejection will happen again, but I can’t let that generate paralyzing fear of entering into intimate relationships with others.
Lead from God's Love for You
If you believe that you earned your standing before God, you will not know God or his love, and you will not pursue others with relentless devotion. But if you have experiential knowledge of God’s love, you will be more likely to have compassion for others and relentlessly love them, even if they do something harmful to you.
7 [command] Beloved, let us love one another, [reason] for love is from God, and [resultant action] whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 [Warning] Anyone who does not love does not know God, [reason]because God is love. 9 [illustration] In this, the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 10 [foundation] In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation [One who satisfied God] for our sins. 11 [Resultant Action] Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us, and his love is perfected in us...20 [reason] If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 [command] And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. (1 John 4:7-12, 20-21, emphasis added)
If you walk intimately with God, you will experience His love, and it will flow toward those you are leading. Love will change you and them.
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