I am sorry to be a day late, but the granddaughters and Christ Life Training School took my attention yesterday. Today I want to bring to you some thoughts concerning our hearts as leaders.
As leaders we must know how to keep our hearts for the sake of others. Our ‘heart’ includes our emotions, and all about us that is spiritual, mental, and physical in life. If we confess that our heart is into something, it means that all that is spirit, soul, and body embraces it. A great example of this is when King David danced before the Lord with all of his might.
2 Samuel 6:14-16 Then David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting and with the sound of the trumpet. And as the ark of the LORD came into the City of David, Michal, Saul’s daughter, looked through a window and saw King David leaping and whirling before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart.
David’s wife, Michal, didn’t understand what David was doing. Her heart was not into what he was doing. She saw his actions as actions of foolishness, but David knew that his actions were those of a full and passionate love for God. David was giving his full heart to worshipping God and that included the emotional and physical expressions of his life.
Our heart is the seat of our collective energies and the focus of our personal lives. It is the throne from which life flows. It is the seat of our thoughts, passions, desires, appetites, affections, purposes, and endeavors. Our heart is our personality, our inner life, and our character. A leader must guard their heart. We are not to guard our hearts in the way the world guards their hearts. Those in the world seek to protect their hearts and often find themselves in situations where their hearts become hard and small, due to the wounds of life. King Solomon said that keeping our heart had to do with keeping the springs of life open and flowing.
Proverbs 4:23 Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.
How do we as leaders guard our hearts and set an example that others can follow? How do we keep the springs of life flowing from within us? The apostle Paul gave some great instructions to the Philippian church.
Philippians 4:4-7 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
A decision to live a lifestyle of rejoicing is key to being a healthy leader. This doesn’t mean that we laugh when we should cry; it means we choose to embrace God’s life and God’s presence every day of our lives. We must seek to be gentle among people and not forceful in our own ways, our own desires, or our own agendas. God is always at hand. He is always within our reach. If we realize that God is with us every step of the journey we can embrace a face-to-face relationship with Him that will keep us from being anxious. We should keep an open line of communication between Him and us, as we would with a friend. We don’t go to God with our needs of crisis expecting Him to give us a bailout or to deliver us from our circumstances. Once in a while God wants to get us out of our circumstances, but 100% of the time He wants to get into our circumstances with us. When we realize that there is no gap between God and us we can have a peace that surpasses our own understanding. Peace is not the absence of conflict; it is being in a place where there is no gap between God and us. It works on good days and on bad days. Peace is a knowing that our house is in the right place and that no change of circumstances can separate us from the love of God in our lives. It isn’t necessarily the absence of conflict. It is the assurance that we are joined to God and His house in all things and at all times. There is no separation between us and we can live near to Him in all things.
Paul goes on to write some key things for us to embrace in order to keep our hearts open to the flow of God’s life. We must keep our hearts so the issues of life will freely flow to those around us. This is true for all believers, but especially true for us as leaders as we set an example for others to follow.
Philippians 4:8, 9 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. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
Rather than focusing on the things we cannot think about, we should fill our hearts with the things we can think about. We must give our hearts to things that are true. Here is something true. He loves us! He will never leave us! He cares for us! Nothing can separate us from Him! We must receive the things that He says about us and embrace them with our whole hearts. We must give our spirits, souls, and physical lives to all that is true. What about things that are just? I am not talking about complaining about injustice! I am talking about thinking on the things that are just. Can we make a decision for others based upon who we are and not what they deserve? Love, forgiveness, mercy, and grace – these are all things of God’s justice. We must give our hearts to things that are pure! Resisting the things of impurity is not as powerful as embracing the things of purity with our whole hearts. We must give our hearts to things that are of a good report. Indulging in the good reports of life is more violent than embracing the things of negativity and of bad report. Let’s give our hearts to things that are of good report. How about virtue? This is giving our hearts to every opportunity to give life to others. To live for the wellbeing of others and for the purposes of God and His kingdom is a virtuous thing. Life will come off of us that will empower others to live too! We must give our hearts to anything that is praiseworthy. If we think this is hard all we have to do is think of ANYTHING! Anything praiseworthy is a good thing to give our hearts to. If we give our hearts to receive, hear, and emulate others in the journey of Christ’s life we will be doing a good thing in keeping our hearts with all diligence. These things are essential for all believers, but especially for those who lead for the sake of others.
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson