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See also STEWARDSHIP
Where do my abilities come from?
Deuteronomy 8 : 18 Always remember that it is the Lord your God who gives you power to become rich, and he does it to fulfill the covenant he made with your ancestors.
Exodus 31 : 1-3 The Lord also said to Moses, "Look, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, grandson of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. I have filled him with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, intelligence, and skill in all kinds of crafts."
John 15 : 5 For apart from me you can do nothing.
1 Corinthians 4 : 7 What makes you better than anyone else? What do you have that God hasn't given you? And if all you have is from God, why boast as though you have accomplished something on your own?
Leaders must remember that there are no self-made people. God gives you the abilities to accomplish your responsibilities and to provide for your needs. You are a steward of your talents and will answer to the Lord for what you have done with them.
What does God expect me to do with my abilities?
Matthew 25 : 29 To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who are unfaithful, even what little they have will be taken away.
God has entrusted resources to you according to your ability. He expects you to maximize the effectiveness of those abilities in proportion to his gifting. While the most talented leaders may seem the most blessed, they must also be the most responsible.
John 17 : 4 I brought glory to you here on earth by doing everything you told me to do.
Jesus' mission in life was pleasing the Father. This is the ultimate purpose of every leader. Like Jesus, you are called to bring glory to God through all you say and do-in all times, places, and circumstances.
How can my abilities and even my successes be a danger?
Deuteronomy 8 : 11-14 Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the Lord your God and disobey his commands, regulations, and laws. For when you have become full and prosperous and have built fine homes to live in, and when your flocks and herds have become very large and your silver and gold have multiplied along with everything else, that is the time to be careful. Do not become proud at that time and forget the Lord your God.
When your ability brings you good success and blessing, you are in danger of falling into complacency and forgetting that God gave you your abilities and that you are to consistently use them to serve him and others. Another danger of having great ability is to think you no longer need help or advice from others.
1 Corinthians 1 : 26-29 Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world's eyes, or powerful, or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God deliberately chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose those who are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important, so that no one can ever boast in the presence of God.
Your abilities can be liabilities. Within each ability lie the seeds of problems that will sprout if you neglect that ability, use it for your own selfish designs, or presume to rely on it apart from the Lord.
Do my limited abilities limit my ability to serve God?
2 Chronicles 20 : 12 O our God, won't you stop them? We are powerless against this mighty army that is about to attack us. We do not know what to do, but we are looking to you for help.
Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, was overwhelmed by the attack coming against the nation because he knew his abilities and resources were no match against the enemies. But God opened the way to success. Leaders understand that availability and dependence on the Lord are as important as ability.
Psalm 147 : 10-11 The strength of a horse does not impress him; how puny in his sight is the strength of a man. Rather, the Lord's delight is in those who honor him, those who put their hope in his unfailing love.
God is not impressed by your abilities or your resources, but by your faith in him.
Zechariah 4 : 6 It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty.
When facing the most threatening obstacles, the Lord assures you that his ability, not your own, is the ultimate assurance of success.
PROMISE FROM GOD Luke 12 : 48 Much is required from those to whom much is given, and much more is required from those to whom much more is given.
ACCEPT / ACCEPTANCE
See also APPROVAL
What is the basis for my acceptance as a leader?
Matthew 3 : 16-17 After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. And a voice from heaven said, "This is my beloved Son, and I am fully pleased with him."
Romans 5 : 1-2 Therefore, since we have been made right in God's sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God's glory.
Jesus was blessed and accepted by God because of who he was, not because of what he did. Many leaders assume that performance is the means to acceptance. They are driven to earn respect from others, to impress others, to gain the applause and approval of others. This can easily transfer over to their relationship with God-thinking they have to earn his love and acceptance, too. But you are accepted by grace, not because of performance. God accepts you from the start, before you have accomplished great things.
What is the basis for me to accept others?
Romans 15 : 7 So accept each other just as Christ has accepted you; then God will be glorified.
1 Samuel 22 : 2 Then others began coming-men who were in trouble or in debt or who were just discontented-until David was the leader of about four hundred men.
Leaders have a great deal of influence on how others are treated. Leaders should use that influence positively to accept others for who they are as people. Welcome others in the Spirit of Christ, not because of position, prestige, power, or personal gain that may come your way. David modeled this acceptance of others as he was fleeing from Saul. As a developing leader, David learned that it wasn't simply a matter of getting the best people, but of bringing out the best in the people God brought to him.
PROMISE FROM GOD Romans 8 : 39 Nothing ... will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
See also PARTNERSHIP
How are we all held accountable?
Romans 14 : 7-8, 12 For we are not our own masters when we live or when we die. While we live, we live to please the Lord. And when we die, we go to be with the Lord. So in life and in death, we belong to the Lord.... Yes, each of us will have to give a personal account to God.
2 Corinthians 5 : 9-10 So our aim is to please him always, whether we are here in this body or away from this body. For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in our bodies.
We must all live today as though we will be in eternity tomorrow. Because you are saved by Christ through faith, you are to lead a life of gratitude that you have been given eternal life, and of obedience to the standards by which Christ lived. You will one day have to give an account for what you did with all God gave you.
Are leaders held to a different standard of accountability?
Jeremiah 23 : 1-2 "I will send disaster upon the leaders of my people-the shepherds of my sheep-for they have destroyed and scattered the very ones they were expected to care for," says the Lord. This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to these shepherds: "Instead of leading my flock to safety, you have deserted them and driven them to destruction. Now I will pour out judgment on you for the evil you have done to them."
Hebrews 13 : 17 Obey your spiritual leaders and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they know they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this joyfully and not with sorrow.
James 3 : 1 Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged by God with greater strictness.
One of the mistakes leaders make is thinking they are somehow exceptions to the rule, exempted from the standards that apply to everyone else. However, quite the opposite is true. In fact, leaders are held to even higher standards, especially when others are depending on them for direction and support. You need to be aware that with your great influence comes great responsibility.
What can I do to reinforce obedience and keep myself from disobedience?
Mark 6 : 7 And he called his twelve disciples together and sent them out two by two.
Galatians 6 : 1-2 Dear brothers and sisters, if another Christian is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other's troubles and problems, and in this way obey the law of Christ
Jesus created accountability by sending his disciples out in pairs. Leaders should model this practice in their own lives as well in their organizing of others. You should encourage and establish relationships with others who will call you to maintain your standards and agree to keep a check on your conduct.
PROMISE FROM GOD 1 John 2 : 3 How can we be sure that we belong to him? By obeying his commandments.
See also CRITICISM
Why are accusations made against me and my leadership?
Psalm 7 : 1-2 I come to you for protection, O Lord my God. Save me from my persecutors-rescue me! If you don't, they will maul me like a lion, tearing me to pieces with no one to rescue me.
Psalm 35 : 11 Malicious witnesses testify against me. They accuse me of things I don't even know about.
John 15 : 18-19 When the world hates you, remember it hated me before it hated you. The world would love you if you belonged to it, but you don't. I chose you to come out of the world, and so it hates you.
As a leader, you are in the public view and are likely to be accused unjustly and blamed for circumstances and events over which you have no control. Don't be surprised when this happens. Since Jesus himself was falsely accused, his followers can expect similar treatment.
Where do accusations come from?
Ephesians 6 : 12 For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms.
Revelation 12 : 10 Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens, "It has happened at last-the salvation and power and kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ! For the Accuser has been thrown down to earth-the one who accused our brothers and sisters before our God day and night."
Spiritual forces of darkness are often working through and behind much of the criticism and antagonism you face.
How should I respond to accusations?
Psalm 27 : 1-3 The Lord is my light and my salvation -so why should I be afraid? The Lord protects me from danger-so why should I tremble? When evil people come to destroy me, when my enemies and foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will know no fear. Even if they attack me, I remain confident.
Romans 8 : 31 If God is for us, who can ever be against us?
Your first line of defense is to draw strength from the assurance that God is for you, not against you. Human accusation, criticism, and opposition cannot quench the fortifying power of God's love and affirmation.
Psalm 119 : 78 Bring disgrace upon the arrogant people who lied about me; meanwhile, I will concentrate on your commandments.
Proverbs 26 : 2 Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an unfair curse will not land on its intended victim.
1 Peter 2 : 15 It is God's will that your good lives should silence those who make foolish accusations against you.
Undeserved and false accusations will eventually be exposed for what they really are. As a leader, do not waste time planning how to even the score with those who accuse you. Focus instead on the instructions and promises of God's Word. Seek to live a godly lifestyle that will silence foolish accusations.
Romans 12 : 14-21 If people persecute you because you are a Christian, don't curse them; pray that God will bless them.... Never pay back evil for evil to anyone.... Never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God.... Instead, do what the Scriptures say: "If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink, and they will be ashamed of what they have done to you." Don't let evil get the best of you, but conquer evil by doing Good.
Jude 9 But even Michael, one of the mightiest of the angels, did not dare accuse Satan of blasphemy, but simply said, "The Lord rebuke you."
While you may be tempted to exercise your power and influence to justify yourself and vindicate your reputation, remember that the best course of action is trusting the Lord to make things right.
PROMISE FROM GOD Romans 8 : 33-34 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? Will God? No! He is the one who has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? Will Christ Jesus? No, for he is the one who died for us and was raised to life for us and is sitting at the place of highest honor next to God, pleading for us.
See also SUCCESS
What does God expect me to achieve through my leadership role?
John 14 : 12-14 The truth is, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, because the work of the Son brings glory to the Father. Yes, ask anything in my name, and I will do it!
John 15 : 16 You didn't choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.]
Excerpted from TouchPoints for Leaders Copyright © 2004 by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. Excerpted by permission.
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