We have been covering the widely misunderstood concept of LEADERSHIP.
Basically, the Bible and God see LEADERS as those who facilitate the purpose and progress of others. We've also seen masculinity is the ability to put the interests of others (wife and kids) ahead of one's self. We've seen that God's metric is profitability in the Long Term. The hardest sayings in the Bible make sense and lose their apparent contradictions when they are viewed from perspective of profitability. God makes us pay in the short-term and we get the benefit in the Long Term. The ultimate way to be profitable is to LOVE...to give to someone and not expect them to give back. This is the key to improving our selves, families, neighborhood, state, country, and world.
However, we've seen the world tells us to become BOSSES...to facilitate our purpose and progress at the expense of others. To put our own interests ahead of others. To get the benefit in the immediately...and pay for it in the Long Term. To measure people by HAVE and APPEARANCE. When it comes to God, we are told we can't and/or aren't supposed to understand apparent contradictions in the Bible. To define LOVE as an emotion...and we only see things getting worse.
We need LEADERS.
God knows we need LEADERS...God is speaking to everyone in GRACE how to become a LEADER. The fact that people who say they are Christians and hearing from God but don't demonstrate LEADERSHIP, profitability, LOVE, and a life of relying on God more OUGHT to concern us.
This leads to a popular misconception about the Christian life: we OUGHT to rely on God more over time.
This week we will look at examples from the Bible of people who relied on God more over time and those who worked to rely on God less...
Our first example brings up a very telling metric...
We've seen for the last couple of weeks that Jesus is the example of the perfect LEADER. We've also seen that Jesus said He did nothing of Himself and He did ALWAYS what the Father taught Him. This is GRACE - "the divine influence on the heart and its reflection in the life". So how can we show that Jesus relied on God MORE during His time on earth?
What was the toughest moment of Jesus earthly life?
When did Jesus rely most on God and not Himself?
Clearly, the "passion" was the most difficult thing and it was at the end of Jesus' earthly life. For the purposes of this post, I'd like to look at Jesus' last moments as a "free man"...
"Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." (Matthew 26:36-39)
Jesus says His soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death. Then He prays to God that this cup pass from Him, nevertheless God's Will, not His.
Jesus is stating that HIS Will is for the cup to pass! And even though this is causing Him to be sorrowful unto death, He is going to rely on God and do God's Will.
Notice, that He is praying. One of the quickest ways to diagnose the intent of a prayer is to ask yourself and others who are praying: Would getting the answer to your prayer cause you to rely on God MORE or LESS?
It amazes me when people rationalize why God OUGHT to answer their prayer by saying, "Why wouldn't God want to give me this (money, opportunity, job, etc.), doesn't He love me?"
We've equated "LOVE" with having an easier life...which ACTUALLY means relying on God less and having less opportunity to be profitable in the Long Term. Why would God answer that prayer if He LOVES you?
People who pray for immediate blessings to make their life easier, are trying to rely on God LESS over time. That is NOT what the Bible says happens to people who are headed for HEAVEN. This is an example of man-made culture and tradition replacing the Word of God.
"And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?
"Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done" (Matthew 26:40-42)
Notice, Jesus is getting contrastive! He prayed for the cup to pass away. Then He prayed from the perspective of if the cup may not pass away. He has covered all possible ways of avoiding the situation while still agreeing to do God's Will.
When you pray, ask yourself if the answer to your prayers results in MORE reliance on God, profitability in the Long Term, and the characteristics of LEADERSHIP...