Friday, January 14, 2011
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
David understood God’s delegated authority when he refused to kill Saul (even though Saul would have taken him out in a heartbeat!). He even repented for tearing off a piece of his robe. After doing so, he said to his men, "The LORD forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the LORD's anointed, or lift my hand against him; for he is the anointed of the LORD." 1 Sam 24:6 David set the bar high for all of us. We must respect those in authority over us and never cause them harm by our words or actions.*
More importantly, we must NOT be like Saul—taking advantage of our position because of pride and insecurity. Several years ago I taught from Watchman Nee’s book Spiritual Authority and it had a profound effect on the way I view leadership in the church. As leaders, we must realize the importance of staying under God’s authority. Too often we’ve seen pastors fall when they come out from under the protective umbrella of God’s covering and arrogantly try to lead in their own strength and know-how.
As Nee puts it, “One is not fit to be God’s delegated authority unless he himself first knows how to be under authority.” Also, it is “obedience that qualifies us to be God’s delegated authority.” Along with obedience, we must “lose our cleverness and opinion,” and allow God to break us of self. The only way to live in this state of mind is to constantly stay in communion with God. It is in this place of intimacy that we “clearly see our own faults” and our need for Him.
As leaders, our followers will benefit from our leadership to the extent that we have surrendered to God and been changed by His activity in our lives. In Watchman Nee’s A Balanced Christian Life, he explains this point. “Unless we are delivered, we cannot expect other people to be delivered. If we do not have vision, how can we expect others to see God’s way? Except we walk in it, no one else will be able to follow. Today God wishes to deal with us first. And after He has gotten some of us, we can then expect to gain other people.”
Oh God, give me the grace to be led by you and to lead others well!
*I’m not saying there’s no occasion to remove someone from their position in the church. That’s why we have things like church by-laws. I’m just saying we must tread very cautiously when it comes to these delicate matters—with a heart and attitude like David.
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Last year I distinctly remember starting the year with clear instructions from the Holy Spirit, “Pray for unity, wisdom, and favor.” Just the sound of those three words still makes me feel good.
What am I hearing from the Lord this year? “Give more.” This is not as pleasant to hear as last year’s word. At the same time, our personal goal is to get out of debt.* My prayer is, “Lord, how do I get out of debt (which requires spending less) while at the same time giving more?” TBD.
Last week I spent a good deal of time talking to the company handling my school loans. I’m thrilled to be done with school, but now it’s time to pay for my education. Not so thrilling. We’re trying to figure out where the extra money is going to come from to pay my school bills. The only answers seem to be “downsize,” “spend less,” and “Trust God!”
For a girl who likes to shop (and I’m an excellent bargain shopper thanks to my mom), I am sad to say good bye to my friends--the mall, Ross, TJ Maxx, and Marshalls. You will be missed.
However, I confess that I’m excited to see how the Lord will help us navigate our way through this year. Spending less, giving more—what will that look like? I believe as we do our part, God will do His part. Miracles are going to happen. Extraordinary events are inevitable. The adventure of 2011 begins. . .
* After Matt & I set this goal, I attended our annual New Year’s Day prayer meeting with our CBN staff. Pat Robertson spends the week after Christmas at his home in the mountains praying and seeking God’s face. He delivered a prophetic word that he believed was from God and I took the following notes (as fast as I could!):
For me, this confirmed the urgency we feel to get out of debt. Time will tell if this prophecy comes to pass, but I do believe Dr. Robertson is a man of God.