Posts Tagged ‘wisdom’

From time to time I get asked to talk about some of what I have learned in years of ministry leadership.  What are some essentials for being a person who can lead spiritually?

First of all, I know I am inadequate and unworthy for such a calling.  As I have thought about it, it seems that spiritual leadership has a lot to do with whom and what you know.  These ideas, though surely not exhaustive, will help explain what I mean:

Know God

I mean really know Him.  One of the most helpful activities for me has been to study the names of God. It certainly has not been an academic exercise—God reveals what He is like through every name He calls Himself.

As I discover that He is El Elyon the most high God, and He is Abba, my daddy, that He both sees and hears everything about my life—and so much more—I find myself on my face before Him, worshiping Him, talking to Him, listening to Him, thanking Him.

I can know the God who made me!!

Know Yourself

A significant paradox of Christian faith is that you and I are nothing and everything.  Scripture tells us we are nothing—we are made from dust and return to dust, we are like grass, even our substance is just a vapor.  At the same time we are of unimaginable value—made in the image of God, treasured by Him, bought with the price of Jesus’ blood, a partner in the Kingdom-building team!  Both of these truths should remind us of who we are.

Another amazing reality: God was there forming us inside our mothers, and when we were born He declared each a work of art, a masterpiece.  He made us who we are because He loves us and because He designed us just right for the “good works He has prepared for us to walk in.”

Understanding our gifts, our like and dislikes, our strengths and weaknesses will  help us to make wise choices as we consider what opportunities we pursue.

Know Your Culture

Leading spiritually requires understanding of the times in which you live.  A few consistent activities will equip you to engage—and lead—across cultures and generations:

Read—Reading is still essential.  In a visual world, fewer people read.  But we need to know history as well as today’s news and events.   The past always interacts with the present as we move toward the future.  I read blogs, magazines, occasional newspapers—and books.  Reading expands and enriches our thinking.

Listen—Oh how we need to learn to listen!  What are people saying?  What are their concerns, hopes, dreams, fears, struggles…? To touch their lives, we need to know the ways into their lives.

Observe—Go through life with your eyes open, not shut.  Pay attention.  The same truths you learn by listening you will also grasp as you observe the people you interact with, watch online, in movies, on TV.  Ask questions. Make connections.

Technology—In our world, we must engage through technology to some degree at least.  I am so not technological—I have no idea how it works.  And yet it has given me access to people around the world—people I can love and encourage to believe God for the more He wants to do in and through their lives.

Know How To:

Take wise risks—Assess realities, don’t be foolish, but step out into the unknown, the uncertain, the scary with courage and confidence.

Learn from your mistakes—We probably grow more when we fail than when we succeed, if we take time to discern what happened and why.

Value relationships—Life is about people.  Leading is about people.  Meaning comes through relationships.  Give priority to the people in your life.

Grow in the difficult times—I’ve found that God is more committed to my character than to my comfort.  But I’m grateful that He comforts me while He works on my character.

Walk in the Spirit—This is the key, the bottom line.  Scripture reminds us that in ourselves we can do nothing.  But with Him, nothing is impossible.  Jesus sent His Spirit to comfort, to encourage, to teach, to remind, to convict, to change us, to equip, to empower.  Walking consistently in the power of the Spirit is the means to true spiritual leadership.

What about you?  What have you found helps you to grow as a spiritual leader?

C2012 Judy Douglass

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Making decisions can be challenging!  How often do we desire wisdom for the choices we need to make, the direction we need to go, handling of difficult situations?

Wisdom is available.  The key is to get it from the right source.

James, insightful and incisive as always, warns us that there are two sources of wisdom, and they lead to very different outcomes.  (James 3:13-18)

Some wisdom is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.  Thus it comes from the devil himself.  This is what it looks like:

Bitter.  Jealous.  Selfishly ambitious.

The result:  Disorder and vile practices.

The wisdom from above comes from God Himself through His Holy Spirit.  This is what it looks like:

Pure.  Peaceable. Gentle.  Open to reason.  Full of mercy and good fruits.  Impartial.  Sincere.

The result:  A harvest of righteousness sown in peace.

So how to make sure you discover the wisdom from above:

“If any of you lacks wisdom, ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5)

What a wonderful gift:  Wisdom from above.

Where have you been getting your wisdom?

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My sweet friend, Natasha, is a thinker, a leader, a Christ follower.  She reads and writes and converses with insight and wisdom.  So it is with great gratitude that I send you over to her blog, A Sista’s Journey.

She has given an encouraging review of my book Secrets of Success, recommending it for you to read, and especially to give as a graduation gift.

I wrote this book originally as letters to my children when they were in high school, encouraging them to make choices that would lead to success in living.  My children are all grown and married now, and for the most part living by these principles.  Very gratifying.

So hop over to A Sista’s Journey to read Natasha’s thoughts.

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I have been very occupied with some normal events of a woman’s life:  time with sisters, working through sadness in my son’s life, and rejoicing in the birth of my fourth grandson.  These things are true for most women–given to us by God.

God has also given us visions and opportunities beyond what most of us even imagine, as expressed by these wise words from women:

“The most important thing about a woman is her view of God.”  Vonette Bright (co-founder of Campus Crusade, author of many books)

“Why (would) God in this solitary instance… endow a being with powers which He never intended her to employ?  Catherine Booth (co-founder of the Salvation Army–an amazing woman: read her story

“If God hasn’t provided it, then it isn’t a need.”  Elisabeth Elliot (author, speaker)

“Being god’s image bearer means my highest calling as a woman is to know Him, to represent God in this world.”  Carolyn Custis James (author of Half the Church).

“Faith is not a feeling.”  Ney Bailey (shepherd of CCC women worldwide) Read her book by the same title.

“Missionary life is simply a chance to die.” And “One can give without loving, but one cannot love without giving.”   Amy Carmichael (founder of Donhavur Village in India, where she rescued and raised thousands of young girls)

Oh, and here’s one from me:  “God raises me up to more than I can be.”

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