Most of us can list excuses why we don't lead or choose not to lead effectively. When God called Moses he instantly thought of five reasons why "Not Him." Today many of us feeling a tugging on our heart by God but instantly think NOT ME, I Couldn't Possibly, I Can't. To help you overcome these excuses I believe it is important to first recognize them.
5 Things about Excuses.
1. Who Am I? Moses struggled with his identity. He didn't feel qualified, he thought God had picked the wrong leader. This is our natural first reaction to God when calls us. The reason is because we know our past and we also think we know our capabilities. We instantly call on both as justification to not act. However, God response to this excuse is this...It doesn't matter who you are. I am with you. (Ex 3:12) Our identity is wrapped up in our past and not in who God is. Our reaction is to disqualify what God has qualified.
2. Who Are You? Moses felt a lack of intimacy. He felt like he didn't know God well enough to describe Him to the people and lacked convictions concerning his relationship with God. Most often if we are not questioning who we are, we are questioning who God is. We struggle with the dynamics of our relationship believing that we have to know everything there is about God before we can be obedient to God. The reality is...this is a trust issue on our part. We don't fully trust God because we don't fully know God. So when God calls us when we lack knowing him, we question him. God's response is I AM WHO I AM ever present. I AM everything you need. (Ex. 3:14)
3. What if they don't listen? There is an intimidation factor when we are called. Our response is to worry more about the peoples reaction to us then our reaction to God. When God calls you, he doesn't guarantee you a particular result. You could be called like Jeremiah and be a complete failure regarding your message being accepted. The point is not the results, the point is the effort. God responds to your effort, only he knows the results. Would you be obedient if God told to you to go and reach the people, but told you that your results would yield not a single person? The answer is no, you would be obedient. God's response to this is that When he is finished, they'll listen (Ex. 4:2-9) Notice that when he is finished, not when you are finished.
4. I've never been a good speaker. We worry about our inadequacies. We fear speaking to the public even though we do it everyday of our lives. We think who will listen to me, I am not as polished as the professional speaker. Moses thought this about himself. He even asked God to use someone else to do the speaking for him. God's response is simple...Guess who made your mouth? (Ex. 4:11-12)
5. I know you can find someone else. We feel so inferior because we live in a world that compares ourselves to others. And when we compare us with someone else who look like they are on point, we naturally suggest to God to use that person because they appear to be better than me. God's response is this...sometimes your right, sometimes your wrong. If you are right then I will have them go with you...but I am still calling you to go! (Ex 4:14) Moss compared himself to his brother Aaron, and God said to him, I will let Aaron go with you, but I am still calling you.
Have you ever met that Christian....you know who I am talking about...the one that has all the answers and is rather pushy with faith. The one that is arrogant and acts like it regarding their belief. We have all met them. We don't like them, we secretly wonder if they know something we don't know... but basically we view them as the ones out there in the deep end. The media calls these Christians radical and fanatic and they are the ones that give the rest of us Christians a bad reputation.
So the question I have to ask is this....when does confidence become arrogance?
Here are three thougths to help clearify the line between confidence and arrogance.
1. The difference between confidence and arrogance is your ability to clearly see your own weaknesses and your humility.
King David once asked why God even gave any thought to him. He humbly realized that in the grandness of the galaxy, man accounts for only a very very very small part. Your ability to see yourself in the larger picture will help keep you humble.
2. The difference between confidence and arrogance is your ability to clearly see your God given position and privileges.
God has made you a little lower than himself. The Lord put men and women in charge of the whole earth and gave us the authority over creation. What he did not do was make a you a God! Arrogance is believing you are something special because of you, confidence is knowing you are something special because of him.
3. The difference between confidence and arrogance is your ability to give all the glory to God.
The confidence is in who God is and arrogance rests in who you are. There is no middle ground.
DOES THE PRIVATE life of a leader truly impact his or her public life? No question about it! How you deal with the circumstances of life tells the world many things about your character. Crisis doesn't necessarily make character, but it certainly REVEALS IT! Adversity makes a person choose one of two paths...character or compromise. Every time a leader chooses character he grows stronger. LIkewise, every time a leader chooses compromise he grows weaker.
Character is the foundation on which you build your life. It all begins with character, because leadership operates on the basis of trust. Your trust in God reveals your character towards God.
People will follow a leader only so far as they you. Your character communicates credibility, harnesses respect, creates consistency, and earns trust. Here are 4 things about character every leader must know:
1. Character is more than talk. Anyone can say that he has integrity, but action is the real indicator of character. Your character determines who you are and what you do. Do you say you trust God? Does your actions prove what you say to be true? That's why you can never seperate a leader's character from their actions. If yoru actions and intentions continually work against each other, look to your character to find out why.
2. Talent is a gift, but character is a choice. We have no control over a lot of things in life. We don't get to choose our parents or the circumstances of our birth and upbringinig. But we DO CHOOSE our character. We create it each time we make choices.
3. Character brings lasting success with people. True leadership always involves others. Followers do not trust leaders who character they know to be flawed, and they will not contine to follow them. Often times we want our family to follow us, and they want to...but they feel like they can't because they don't trust your character and leadership. It's not that they don't love you...but if you can't be trusted with the small things how can they truly trust you to leader with the major things.
4. Leaders rise above the limitations of their character. Character will either limit or support a leader, depending on it's strength. It will always determine wheather a leader finishes well.
As you resolove what to do this year, consider resolving who to be!
The difference separating a person who is pursing their purpose in life and someone who isn't...is perspective. Both individuals could have character and integrity, both can love others, both can obey God, both could be church goers...but the difference is the person who is pursing their purpose in life thinks differently from a person who isn't.
Job and his friends held profoundly different perspectives. Throughout the book, Job maintains an eternal perspective, while his friends maintained an external perspective. "For I know my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth," Job says (Job 19:25). He follows that verse by casting vision for the reality of life beyond the grave. Unlike his wife, who told him to curse God and die; unlike his friends, who told him none of this would have happened had he just lived a better life...Job saw beyond the superficial to the eternal.
The difference between someone who is pursing their purpose and someone who isn't is simply perspective. It has nothing to with "what your doing" it has everything to do with..."what you see your doing" As a Christ follow we all share the same purpose. We are given the same instructions by Jesus. Go into the world and make disciples and spread the message. Too often, we are waiting for "the right opportunity" to come along to share the message. We are waiting on all the external forces to line up perfectly before we can step into our purpose.
Have you ever noticed someone who keeps an eternal perspective....every chance, every meeting, every encounter, everything is an opportunity to spread the message.
Here are three things that might help you keep an Eternal perspective on your purpose:
1. You have to constantly RENEW YOUR PERSPECTIVE OF GOD. Job clung to the justice and character of God. The world wants to take you away from that, just like Job's friends and family.
2. You have to be willing to RELEASE THE PAST. You have to be willing to let go of what you lost, or possible never had. So many people are babies about their past. They have literally imprisoned themselves to something they had little to no control over. In doing so, they have locked themselves away from what they do have control over. The past is the past....get over and move on!
3. You have to always REMEMBER YOUR PURPOSE. When you realize that you exist only to glorify God and that he doesn't exist to glorify you...only then will you see everything in life is connected to your purpose.
There are some DUH's when it comes to sin... there is a cause and effect. Well DUH, right! Everyone knows that...But here is what most don't know...We blindly look at what the sin is and say that is the cause, when in reality what the sin is...is really the effect. The cause of all sin in the world from the beginning with Adam and Eve is a lack mentality. Sin ultimately is an attempt to fill a lack in your life. Here's the deal...The lack mentality always falls back to Jesus. Jesus has put the desires in you which gives way to Satan using them to spotlight lack.
Think about this, Adam and Eve were already walking with God, were holy, were righteous, were perfect and without sin. They were already like God because they were made in his image. Look at what the serpent did...the fruit in the garden was never the temptation, it wasn't like that particular fruit was more glorious and appealing than any other fruit. Heres the thing, it wasn't up until that time when the serpent revealed a lack in their life, that that one particular fruit became appealing.
Porn doesn't become appealing until a lack in your life is exposed. If a man looks at porn it's because his sex life is lacking something that he is finding in the porn while having sex with himself. Here is the big kicker...God put the desire for sex in you. Sex is a form of worshiping him, but Satan has caused you to view your sexual worship as lacking something. Men try to deal with the addiction of porn by removing anything that could tempt them with porn in their life. Now the remedy of the effect which was based on lack, is more lack. Too often we look at the temptation as the cause of the sin.
Stealing isn't appealing until a lack is exposed. If a man steals...the money at the bank is only the effect. The cause of the stealing is a lack mentality about something missing in their life. God's provision is not enough...it LACKS what the theif feels they need.
Every sin has a cause and effect and the normal M.O is to believe the effect is the cause and to focus on it. While the real cause is never addressed. You will never be able to address sin areas in your life until you realize that your sin is caused by mentality that you carry about God that is lacking.
Alcohol doesn't become appealing in the way it does to a drunk until after a lack is exposed in their life. If you drink, the alcohol is not the cause of the problem. I have family that were on and off again drunks. They were constantly falling off the wagon. When life was good, they were sober. When life started to become difficult they were drunks. When they were sober, they would go to extreme lengths to remove any presence of alcohol in their life. I can remember that I had to get rid of any alcohol in my house so they wouldn't be tempted. So their fix to the problem is to lack and to cause others around them to lack. The addiction of alcohol is caused by a lack mentality. This lack mentality could be for any number of reasons...I didn't have the childhood I should have had, I didn't have, I didn't have because....you will always hear that statement.
Jails are overcrowded by men and women who comited crimes because the lack mentality was never addressed. Even criminals who do hard time, come out of prison, and have a hard time adjusting because their outside life lacks what their incarcerated life had. Structure and Discipline. If you have sin areas in your life that you want to address here is two tips that you find helpful.
1. Always remember that your sin has been covered by the blood of Jesus. It has been paid for. It has been forgotten. If you are trying to fix a sin area in your life and you find yourself falling short...this is normal. You will ALWAYS fall short of fixing yourself. If we could keep the law, then we would have! Obviously we suck at keeping the law.
2. The sin in your life is always caused by something you lack. Every sin, even the little white lie is caused by you lacking the courage to simply tell the truth and take the consequences. Every sin is caused by a lack. If you want to address sin areas, address the lack. When you realize that you lack nothing thru Christ, you will realize that your desire for that sin will no longer exist.
3. Satan is not like God. He doesn't know your thoughts. He was never given that power by God. He can't read your heart and mind they way Jesus can. Satan wants you think he has all this power, he doesn't. The power he has is to expose lack and to manipulate the desires and word of God. The only way he knows what your thinking...is if YOU TELL HIM!
I talk to so many people that want to be doing something. They want to know what their purpose in life is and then just go and do it. In ministry I have experienced this as well. A young protege wants to be elevated to his position before his time. In ministry I believe this mentality has a lot to do with why so many pastors leave the ministry.
As a kid I used to make jokes about Nun's that retire. They take this vow to God for their life and then retire, as if God was a job or something. Back then I didn't understand what I do now. I realize now, alot of the problems both in life and with ministry is that we want what we want before we are ready for it.
Would you go to a doctor who just decided to be a doctor and "faked it until he made it?" I know I wouldn't! This mentality of faking it until you make it is the problem. The faking it until you make it is the result of the deeper issue of doing before being. When we are called by God to BE before we DO. The disciples had to BE selected by Jesus, BE following Jesus, BE experiencing Jesus, BE witnessing Jesus, BE apart of his Jesus' life. They had to be BE all of this before they started DOING ministry. I have heard it said the greatest tragedy of Christian leaders are those that attempt to traffic in unlived truth. We cannot give away what we don't incarnate.....IN OTHER WORDS YOU CAN'T GIVE AWAY WHAT YOU FIRST DON'T HAVE.
You have to first import truth before you can export it. I believe that God wants to construct our "BEING" before our "DOING"...and that there is leadership order he wants to work in your life.
1. God wants you learn it. God wants you to spend time with him discovering his truths before can go and do and give his truth to others.
2. God wants you live it. He wants you to practice and apply to your life what you have learned. Jesus called the disciples to live certain ways after he taught them. The disciples didn't just say ok....I believe and then started doing miracles. IT DOESN'T WORK THAT WAY!
3. God wants you to give it. God wants you to pass on to others what you have embraced and lived. Only then can your gift be trusted and accepted.
If you are going to be successful in stepping into your purpose in life you first have to learn, live and give your life. All of this is a result of you BEING...only then will you be able to endure your DOING.
Remember this....you can't fake until you make it with people's lives and salvations. All you will end up doing in the long run is proving your fake!
If you are like me, you have heard the term "For The Glory of God" or "may the Glory be given to God"...but do you know really know what Glory means? Glory means weight. There is a weight concerning God which is the ultimate reality of life and more important and more powerful than anything and everything else. With weight, there is a thickness or girth to it.
So to fully understand the Glory of God you have to be willing to probe your understanding of God. When you know God as nothing more than a concept, you are weighter and heaver then God. You can't trust God which means you are more Glorious then God. When God is only a concept to you, your life doesn't change. There is no concrete reality. Sin teaches you that your identity is in yourself which something other than Christ. When your identity is in yourself and what your capable of, the Glory of your life then is yours...not God's. When you have a concept of God, you find it easy to justify why you don't need God. You carry an attitude of...I've Got This God, You Can Sit This One Out! When you carry around a concept of God, you carry a verison of God that you can twist, distort and manipulate as you see fit. When carrying around nothing more than a concept of God, you don't serve God, God serves you! In other words, your verision of God is nothing more than a mailbox version of God that is there for you when you can't handle the situtation at hand. You can call upon him and expect him to deliver.
On the other than, God may be a reality to you. When God is a reality to you, everything in your life changes. When God is a reality to you and things around you don't make sense to the world, they make sense to you becasue of God. When God is a reality to you, you realize that God has extended his grace and mercy to you. You realize that you are his adopted sons and daugthers. So when you think God sees you at your worst, he is actually seeing you as his best. When God is a reality to you, you have the confidence in knowing that your righteousness rests in what was done for you by Jesus dying on the cross.
Most importantly, once you understand the reality of God in your life, you can never walk away from God. If you can, you only have a concept of God.