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As leaders we are called to lead others to a knowledge of God as their Father and a knowledge of Jesus as the Son. This is not a knowledge about God the Father or mere revelation knowledge of Jesus the Son of God. It is an intimate knowing of God through a relationship as a son or daughter born by His Spirit. In is a knowing of God in an abiding relationship of life. This is not something we can teach, but rather something we must demonstrate to others through our own lives. Our own example and demonstration of an intimate relationship with God can serve to activate, facilitate and release those we lead to know a personal relationship with God in all things. I believe this to be true obedience to the faith. The faith is not some religious, or even Christian, belief system. True faith comes by a hearing of God within our hearts and responding to that internal voice in a personal relationship with God. We are not called to lead people in Christian ministry. We are called to lead people in a personal relationship with God. This is only possible by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit working in and through our lives for the sake of leading others into this same reality of life. We do this so that those we lead can also be an example of life in an inspirational way to those in the world of their own lives.
We are in the midst of changes in the church. God is bringing about a furtherance of grace in the present transition of the seasons before us. The season at hand and ahead of us is not another season of the works of God. It is a furtherance of knowing God and living in the fruit of knowing Him. The result will be a greater influence of His life in our world.
Jesus is the good Shepherd and He set an example for us as shepherds of the flock of God. He set an example for us all as believers as to how we should be in our world for the sake of others. Leaders go before the people to be an example in obedience to the faith. God is a giver of life and in knowing Him we become givers of life to those in our world. Perhaps the greatest testimony of true leadership is the ability to bring life to others. The law and the words of the prophets could not do what Jesus did. The law could restrain us, conform us, or contain us is some way but Jesus came to give us life and that life in abundance. As the great Shepherd, those who know Him find life in His presence.
John 10:7 Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
We know that the devil is a thief, but the context of these verses is a comparison of Jesus and those that came before Him. Before Jesus was the ministry of the law and the prophets. The law and the prophets could not bring the life that God desired us to have. They could only offer requirements that created obligations in life, not an inspiration unto life. Only Jesus offers the life of the Spirit of God within us that gives us true liberty and life. Only Holy Spirit brings true change in our hearts and minds. Only internal change can inspire true external liberty.
Like Jesus, God wants to inspire our hearts to give our lives for the sheep. This is the true testimony of endurance; it is a testimony of love. Only a love for God and love for people will empower us to stand in the midst of times when wolves prowl to destroy the flock.
John. 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. 12 But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. 13 The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep.”
Leadership is a calling in Christ. It is a calling of love. It is an honor to be loved by God and to know God’s love for His children. It is only through a life of intimacy with God as our Father that we can see God’s love for His children. Being a leader is like being a parent. It is a full giving of your life for the care of each family member, the corporate purpose of that family, and the full destiny of that family in every way. It is a full buying into the destiny of the family of God in a generational way. It will be hallmarked by endurance, but the true root of that endurance is love and a vision of love for the Father’s will and the Father’s family.
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson
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