As leaders in the body of Christ we must be expressions of God in our character, nature, way, power, and authority. We are not God, but we are leaders for the sake of the body of Christ. The body of Christ is an expression of Christ in human lives. It is made of individual members joined together for the corporate testimony of Christ in the earth. This is not merely a belief system. It is testimony of people who believe God, listen to Him, and are transformed by His expression in their lives. Today I want to address some key elements in making this happen.
God is the word, but we are expressions of Him. He is the word and we are the voice. People will see God to be who we present Him to be. If we believe He is a controlling master, we too will become controlling masters of those we lead. If we see Him to be the savior of every crisis situation, we will lead to save everyone from every crisis situation. We will make healing, deliverance, breakthrough, direction, and the like, more important than knowing Him. If we believe God is mean and angry we will become mean and angry in our own lifestyles and leadership roles. These things are true for any believer, but it becomes even more critical for those who have been given the responsibility of leading others. We can only convey the God we see to others. We must see Him for who He really is to reveal who He really is to others. Distorted presentations of God are given to the world through the distorted filters of human hearts and minds in their perception of Him. We hear God within our hearts, but discerning His voice is only found in the frequency of His heart.
Many people believe that God is God because of His sovereignty. I believe that He is sovereign, but I also believe that He has chosen not to exercise His sovereignty in reveling who He is. His sovereignty serves who He is, He does not serve His sovereignty. I believe that He is love, not merely someone who loves. I believe that He is good and He loves people (Jn. 3:16). I believe that He can be all-powerful, but I believe that He gave us a free will and that free will demonstrates His love for us. He is not looking for slaves or puppets. He doesn’t merely want people to serve Him. He wants people to know that He loves them. Our own traditions can make His word of no effect in our lives (Mt. 15:6). It is only when people know that God loves them they in turn live to love Him and to love others.
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 8:38, 39 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
1 John 4:9, 10 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
As leaders we must first and foremost know that God loves people. We must know that He loves us! If we don’t see Him through the eyes of love we will present Him as something less than love to those we lead. When we see God through the eyes of love we become leaders who lead people with a lifestyle of love. Love motivates God to choose not to know all things. He has chosen to not remember our sins and our lawless deeds (Jer. 31:34).
God remembers people according to His mercy, not according to their transgressions. He remembers those who come to Him with humble hearts. He is willing to take action for those He loves, but it is for the sake of love that He takes action. He does not exercise His abilities for the sake of legalism. He exercises His abilities for the sake of relationship. He will change His mind, because He can never change His character. When we give Him reason to show mercy, He is quick to respond in His mercy, even to the changing of His mind. People with a religious mindset are not willing to change their minds; therefore, they are willing to change their character to enforce what they have legally pledged.
Psalms 9:12 When He avenges blood, He remembers them; He does not forget the cry of the humble.
Psalms 25:7 Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions; according to Your mercy remember me, for Your goodness’ sake, O LORD.
Psalms 79:8 Oh, do not remember former iniquities against us! Let Your tender mercies come speedily to meet us, for we have been brought very low.
Isaiah 43:25 “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins.
Jeremiah 31:34 No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, “Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
God who could remember chooses not to remember for the sake of His love for men. As leaders we must see God as the one who loves and shows mercy. He is slow to anger and quick to forgive. He is patient and long-suffering in who He is. Let us see Him for who He is. Let us be leaders that demonstrate who God is to those we lead.
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson