I have been addressing the subject of keeping our hearts as leaders. We deal in the lives of people and relationship is the purpose of our role as leaders in the body of Christ. Life comes out of living relationships; it doesn’t come out of works of ministries. We are the body of Christ, not a structure of church functions. Our number one role as leaders is to set an example in relationships and to promote, facilitate, and support the development of relationships in the church. In order to do this a leader must guard their hearts. How do leaders guard their hearts?
Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
A leader must know how to rejoice in all things. This doesn’t mean that a leader is grateful for everything that happens in their life, but it does mean that they decide to maintain a good positive attitude in all things. When dealing with people a leader must be gentle. A leader prefers others and is willing to yield when necessary. These things apply to all believers, but a leader must know of to set an example that others can follow. They must not be anxious, but embrace the power of the Holy Spirit within them that empowers them to suffer long and be patient when necessary. Maintaining a face-to-face relationship with God is essential. Open conversations with God filled with supplication and thanksgiving are part of a leader’s way of life. This is not a form of ritual before God, but a testimony of relationship with God for the sake of God’s kingdom influence and will in the earth. These things are not just words confessed with our lips, but attitudes of our hearts. The thought life of a leader must set an example for all to follow. They must think on noble things. Noble thoughts are filled with reasoning, strategy, imagination, and even emotions that seek to live for the wellbeing of others. They must think on things that are just. Just things are not necessarily fair things. It is just in the kingdom of God to forgive the unforgivable. It is just in the kingdom to love the unlovable. The justice system of the kingdom of God is based upon the tree of life, not the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It is a justice system of making decisions for others based upon who we are, not what they deserve. A leader must think on things that are pure. Pure thoughts are thoughts that are within the sphere of one’s own business. They are thoughts of believing the best for others and not the worst. Pure thoughts are innocent to evil and wise to good. A leader must maintain thoughts that are lovely. Lovely thoughts are thoughts that are motivated by love. Those thoughts are motivated by a love for God and a love for people, especially those we lead. A leader must think on things that are of a good report. When a bad report comes a leader must know that love covers a multitude of sins and that looking for the good report is the aim of every leader. If there is any virtue a leader must think on that. Virtuous thoughts are thoughts of helping others. A leader must think on things that are praiseworthy. Praiseworthy things are things of honor and even a willingness to be misunderstood or unpopular in some way for the sake of someone else. A leader must meditate upon these things in order to lead others to do the same. These things are part of guarding our hearts before God. All believers must embrace these things, but leaders must excel in these attributes. It is part of keeping our hearts with all diligence.
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson