Love and Leadership

Introduction

We have a God who loves us.  There is no question as to the Love of God as seen in the Scriptures or in our life experiences.  Love is such a powerful expression of God.  Several weeks ago, I highlighted the Scripture – “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of spirit of power and of love and a sound mind (2Tim 1:7 NKJV).  Timothy was need some encouragement and the Apostle Paul reminded him of his leadership calling and the importance of God’s power and love being active in his life.  The same is true for us today. 

 

We have a God who is excellent in his leadership.  The Scriptures again highlight some many aspects of God’s leadership.  The Trinity is the prototype of leadership to be seen in the family.  God is the greatest visionary, administrator, teacher, and so on.  Over and over we see his leadership active in the present but always moving mankind towards his ultimate purpose. 

 

I believe it is important to join love and leadership together and I hope to share some insight about this idea today.  It doesn’t matter where your leadership influence takes you, love is a key component and must be involved in all we say and do.  The true love and leadership that God offers to mankind is available to us daily.  We have the opportunity to draw near to God and know his love personally.  We can seek him out for wisdom and understanding in areas of personal leadership.  There is great strength and potential when love and leadership work together. 

Love and Leadership in a broken world

One of the challenges we all face in the reality of a broken and sinful world.  There are some serious distortions of love and leadership that are evident in history and in our present-day society.  These negative twists and turns on true love and leadership open the door to horrible injustices and awful fears.  There is an uneasiness when one looks at the current events worldwide.  Jesus himself said there will be rumors of war that cause fear, and famines and earthquakes.  He even goes onto say that the love of many will grow cold because of the increase of wickedness.  In our culture today, love is presented as sexuality and lust and we have huge problems with pornography and sexual identity issues.  On the other hand, leadership, whether secular, based in the church or home, has its challenges; aggressive communication, unfair criticisms, blame and shame, applying rules inconsistently, stealing, unreasonable demands, personalizing problems or breaking confidentiality.  God’s people will be faced with these awkward circumstances.  The question for the ekklesia is this – Is our love and leadership making a difference?

 

Years ago, I was taken a course in counselling and I remember a great point that the teacher presented.  He shared how we all experience tests and challenges in relationships, whether in the home or at work.  Sometimes little things tick us off.  Sometimes the little things become big problems if we don’t deal rightly with them.  We have two choices before us – we choose to REACT or RESPOND.  Depending on the test our reactions can vary, we can feel rejection, anger, fear, bitterness or revenge; all of these are negative emotions.  On the other, with God’s help we can respond in love which is a thought-out reply, keeping our emotions under self-control, which hopefully leads to a reasonable outcome.  In this broken world, we need a lot more responding in love and level-headed leadership.

 

I remember several situations where I was caught in the influence of this broken world.  One was at the hospital I worked at where a few workers lied about me and gossiped behind my back to my boss; I received a poor job evaluation.  Another situation was in the office of a church where a large and angry man threatened to physically harm me.  In these situations, I struggled with anger and fear and found myself initially reacting in negative emotion.  I was being refined and was learning the importance of responding in love versus reacting.  I grew as a person and leader during this time and although uncomfortable I was being created into the person and leader I was intended to be.  I wouldn’t want to go through this again, but I did learn some valuable lessons as I prayed and cried out to God.  I wouldn’t trade these situations because I was being trained to be a better leader.

Love and Leadership Lessons Learned

I want to share with you several lessons learned in growing in leadership and love.  These points are not exhaustive but personal to my experiences in life.  You will have your own love and leadership lessons because your tests and challenges are different than mine.  So here goes…

 

1.      The challenges created strength and maturity in me.

The Bible tells us “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Cor 4:16–18).

 

I had to learn how to see God who is unseen behind the challenges of life.  I had to learn how to go from glory to glory not struggle to struggle or defeat to defeat.  Although very difficult, the refining process is something to embrace. 

 

2.      I had to learn how to love, accept and forgive myself and others.

Every challenge or test in life is different.  I had to learn how to love, accept and forgive myself when I fell short of God’s glory be reacting in fear or anger or lust.  It is so important to be able to love yourself the way God loves you.  It was only when God’s love was truly impacting my life that I could love and accept and forgive others.  I had to learn how to treat others with love and respect.  Here is a significant Scripture when it comes to love, acceptance and forgiveness:

 

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. 

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.  17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.  In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”  21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Rom 12:9–21). 

 

I had lots to learn about how to walk in love, to be quick to forgive and to make sure I had proper boundaries established. 

 

3.      Love is at the core of the abundant life.

All people want to experience an abundant life.  The Bible tells us the Jesus came to give us an “extraordinary life” (John 10:10).  The Christian life is meant to be so abundant as to be considerably more than what one would expect or anticipate.  In other words, God is more than enough, God is beyond the normal and routine for life.  

 

What is important to note is this.  It is God’s love for us that is abundant and our response to God’s love is the key to receiving these heavenly blessings on earth.  John 15 reminds us to abide in Jesus Christ, His Word and His Love and to put this into action by our obedience. 

 

4.      Genuine humility is essential. 

True love and biblical leadership is humble.  We know that God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6).  It is important to be concerned about others and not just yourself.  It is important to be honest with others.  When you open up to people, they open up to you. 

 

Humility and servant leadership go hand in hand.  “The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted” (Matt 23:11–12).  We need to see this kind of humility active in all areas of leadership influence. 

 

5.      Generosity is key.

For God so loved… he gave…  True generosity is self-sacrificing as in the case of the Father and the Son.  In other words, generosity is not based on what you can do without.  True generosity costs you something.  This can be a very hard lesson to learn especially in such a materialistic me-centered culture.  Jesus said it is more blessed to give than receive (Acts 20:35).  You can never out give God. 

 

True love by nature is generous and must be seen in our leadership.  The more you offer to others, the more they will give back to you.  It is important to learn to be generous in our relationships, not stingy with our lives.  This is a real key to empowered leadership.

In Conclusion

I have just given us five points to consider with regards to our series in leadership.  Love and leadership are to be complimentary with each other so that we can exert great influence on others.  I am the first to admit that I have not fully arrived.  My love and leadership traits are still in need of growth and maturity which means more tests and challenges are on the way.  But I also remind myself that God is my Father and that he has good plans and intentions for my life.  The same is true for each one of us here today. 

 

We are on a journey of Apprehending God’s Heart and Fulfilling His Dreams.  I am reminded of our vision statement – “We are becoming a grace-full, loving, accepting and forgiving community of believers from all nations that celebrate each other and who are committed to bringing souls into God’s kingdom.”  It is my prayer and desire that we see the completion of this statement so that we can begin to fulfill other dreams that God has for Courts of Praise. 

In Application

Love and leadership are both needed in our home life, church life and in the community where we work and go to school.  Let’s take a few moments and consider what the Holy Spirit is saying to us personally.  What are we to apply to our lives?

 

1.      The challenges created strength and maturity in me.

 

2.      I had to learn how to love, accept and forgive myself and others.

 

3.      Love is at the core of the abundant life.

 

4.      Genuine humility is essential. 

 

5.      Generosity is key.