By Katie Pearson
“At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion's mouth.” 2 Timothy 4:16-17
What are your ultimate goals as a leader? What spoken or unspoken aspirations do you cling to as your definition of success? It’s important to bring these before the Lord to make sure your agenda doesn’t cause a blind spot that prevents you from fulfilling your calling. We all have personal “promised lands” that we believe will fulfill our souls and prove to God, ourselves, and others we are worthy.
Guess what? Your benchmark for success is likely not the Lord’s plan for you. Pursuing a far-off goal is wonderful, but not at the expense of your primary calling, which is an intimate relationship with the triune God. If our eyes are only focused on what we have determined the outcome to be, we miss the spiritual markers along the way where God makes his promises known. We all succumb to spiritual strongholds, like discouragement, doubt, and unbelief, when the road takes an unexpected turn.
In "Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership", Ruth Haley Barton suggests that Moses realized at the end of his life that literally reaching the Promised Land wasn’t as important after all. His journey with God taught him that his true Promised Land was in God’s presence, which went with him everywhere. Above all the noise and confusion leading the Israelites, he regularly encountered God. Many visions never transpire due to internal and external causes, but we can always return to our souls, where God’s Spirit meets ours regardless of where we are.
What if all the effort you poured into leadership development was only meant for one person? It’s possible. It might be your child, spouse, or neighbor. Or what if you are called to be a servant who supports a leader with a larger presence and platform than your own? Jethro played that role for Moses and his counsel was indispensable. Trust God’s greater plan and hold your definition of success loosely. God is in charge, and your relationship with him is the greatest opportunity you are given.
Response: Father God, you are leading me to beautiful places, but please don’t let me miss my opportunities to meet with you today. My soul hungers and thirsts for your nearness, your wisdom, and your presence in my life. I release all my earthly ambitions and aspirations into your care, knowing that your ways are higher than my ways, your thoughts higher than my thoughts, and your plans for my life and leadership are absolutely perfect. Thank you for being such a good Father. Amen. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Let's face it, the Christian life is hard. Relationships take work. Christians forget. Sometimes it is tempting to go back to the days when God was not the center of our lives - to backslide. We are all faced with tremendous pressures to drift away from intimacy with Jesus and the community of the Church. However, the Lord invites us to pay attention, to move forward, to draw near, and to live lives of worship. Draw Near: Hebrews on Christian Worship is a small group Bible study on the Book of Hebrews intended to lead participants into a deeper intimacy with the living God in the context of New Testament worship. Draw nearer to God in authentic worship today!
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