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As leaders, what manner of people must we be? We must be sons and daughters of God who can lead others to be the same in their world. Being sons and daughters of God in the world enables us to be givers of life to our world. Paul wrote some wise words to the Philippian church in a day of difficult situations.
Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
These words were written by Paul during a time of great glory in Christ, but also great trouble in the circumstances of their world. We can be encouraged by these words today. As leaders, we can lead by these standards. We must choose to always rejoice. It is our choice. To choose to rejoice is to choose to be well in any and every situation. It is not a state of happiness, it is a state of cheerfulness. We can decide what to fill our hearts with. In truth, we decide to let the life of Christ in our hearts outweigh the circumstances of our surroundings. Paul states this twice, perhaps because it is easy to forget or perhaps because we are often faced with circumstances that resist us in being cheerful. We choose to be well, even in a storm. This is also our witness to those we lead. It is our witness to our children and our grandchildren. It is our witness to our family, friends, and our community. We decide to rejoice. As leaders we are called to lead people into the character of Christ, not works of ministry. When we have the character of Christ we will do the works of Christ. We must lead by example and then we must seek to activate, facilitate, and release those we lead into the same reality in their world.
Philippians 4:5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.
When we choose to rejoice we can be empowered to be gentle. To be gentle is to be equitable, fair, mild, and gentle. I think that true gentleness is an attribute of being concerned about others in our world. I believe that gentleness is an undergirding foundation for being compassionate for others and perhaps being compassionate is the true fuel for being gentle. We are givers and not takers. As leaders we are leading others to be givers of life in their world for a testimony of life and the glory of God – the Father of all.
Paul wrote in this letter that the Lord is at hand. I believe he was not talking about the end of the world, but the availability of the Lord. This church was living at the time of the end of the Torah / Temple age, but Paul’s words were an encouragement as to the availability of the Lord in each and every person’s life. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is true liberty and the Lord is within our reach at every moment of need in our lives. As leaders we must know that the Lord is within our reach in every step of our path in life. We must lead others to know how to connect to the Lord in both easy and difficult times.
Philippians 4:6 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.
We know that God always has more for us in life. God is always leading us into His greater promises in our lives, but we are not to be anxious when things don’t happen as we have anticipated they will. God will even work things out for good in our lives when the enemy seeks to derail our course of destiny. As leaders we must set an example in this and in our example we choose to walk with a face-to-face listening relationship with God, a face-to-face connection with Him making petitions before Him, and we must be consistent with making our requests before Him without losing heart or shifting to some accusatory attitude towards Him. The key is in our thankfulness. All of our prayers, supplications, and requests are to be bathed in an atmosphere of thanksgiving. As leaders we must live with these attributes in our lives and lead others into this same testimony.
When we choose to rejoice, live to be gentle, and embrace a way of life that is filled with prayers, supplications, and requests in an atmosphere of thankfulness and gratitude to God, we find that a supernatural peace of God fills our hearts and minds. I have found that this peace is a faith in God. It is not a faith that comes by hearing Him, but a faith in Him even when we don’t hear His words. We know that God is one with us and we are one with Him in all things. I believe that these things are things we must walk in and lead those in our world to know. These are the foundation for true ministry of life and are therefore prerequisites to being able to live life in a life-giving way in our world. In these things we live and in these things we lead.
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson
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