“Winning is not everything, losing is! Learning to lose properly is a very healthy thing. Lose your pride, your fleshly desires, your sinful habits. The sooner you acknowledge that God is the ultimate winner, the sooner you can taste true victory, but you have to lose first!” Phanat Ouch
Building off the words of Jesus in Matthew 16:25, today’s thought summarizes the powerful need to reevaluate our approach to life.
In a world that believes in winning at all cost, the concept of losing does not possess much popularity. Even though several attempts to change this way of thinking are commercialized, the underlying mindset of success emphasizes the “W.”
From a spiritual perspective, however, true success is measured in the ideas expressed by Phanat: losing our pride, fleshly desires, and sinful habits. When demonstrated in leadership, followers find an incredible example that reflects the true nature of Christianity.
In every culture, the ideas of winning and losing generally follow the same pattern. Therefore, we need leaders today who hold up the biblical standard of true success by acknowledging the only way to win is losing self and siding with God.
Everyone seeks timeless nuggets of advice unaltered by time, generation, or culture. These nuggets are not always easy to find and often they are overlooked for something believed to possess greater value.
From a leadership perspective, Joshua was given a small snippet of advice meeting our criteria. God told Joshua, “be strong and very courageous.” God emphasized strength and courage three times in the context of Joshua chapter one, but only once did He use this specific phrase “strong and very courageous.”
The context of this one phrase has powerful implications in the realm of spiritual leadership surrounding God’s law. Notice the following list:
Be careful to do according to all the law.
Do not turn from it to the right or to the left.
This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth.
You shall meditate on it day and night.
Be careful to do according to all that is written in it.
God specifies how Joshua’s success depends on following this advice. Imagine how different our world would be if spiritual leaders today had the strength and courage to do the same.
Enoch is not a great biblical leader because of the number of people the Bible mentions he led. In reality, there are no followers mentioned.
He is not a great biblical leader because he did not see death.
Enoch is a great biblical leader because Genesis 5 states he “walked with God.” Just saying those three words should make our hearts and minds race.
Every spiritual leader needs to be characterized by their walk with God. How powerful it would be if our eulogy were simply summed up as one who “walked with God.”
The beauty of Enoch’s walk with God is explained in the book of Hebrews. The text says; “by faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death…”
Reading the account in Genesis and Hebrews leads us to a powerful conclusion: Enoch’s walk with God was a life characterized by faith.
Examining the whole of Hebrews 11, with an application to leaders today, we find a walk of faith is one of seeking God, obedience to His word, and trusting in His providence to help us receive what is promised.
Control is the power to influence and direct people’s behavior or the course of events. We think of control in a number of areas.
We claim that someone needs to take control. We talk about people being controlling. We preach about self-control. We even discuss the need to be in control.
What does all this mean and why is it important for spiritual leadership?
Quite simply, leaders exercise the power of influence to direct people’s behavior or course of events.
When situations get out of hand, leaders must take control.
We understand that spiritual leadership must not be controlling.
Leaders should be the epitome of self-control.
Above all, leaders should be those we can look to when someone needs to be in control.
When leaders know how to use their power of influence in a Biblical and godly way, people’s behavior and the course of events can be shaped in ways to change eternity.
We should all understand the value of control at the right time and in the right place. Think Souls!
Are we feeling healthier as we begin the first day of February? Considering how quickly January passed into history is frightening, especially when considering the spiritual health development needed for our future relationship with God and His church.
A healthy physical and spiritual approach to life provides the benefit of extending life. The benefit of this extension on a spiritual level is eternal in nature.
Paul phrased it this way in his letter to Timothy, “bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (1 Ti. 4:8).
Developing the habits for a godly life require at least three necessities: 1) constant nourishment in sound doctrine, 2) avoiding a worldly focus, and 3) discipline in godliness.
We are left asking, “how?”
We are encouraged to develop a mental habit to avoid distractions that move us away from God. The task is not easy. What works for one may not work for another. We need a reminder to bring us back to focus. If there is something that works for you, please share.
“The habit of always putting off an experience until you can afford it, or until the time is right, or until you know how to do it is one of the greatest burglars of joy. Be deliberate, but once you’ve made up your mind – jump in.” Charles R. Swindoll
Today’s thought is filled with encouragement. How many times have we continued to procrastinate when a decision needed to be made? Our intentions were in the right place, but we were waiting for the “right time.”
This can happen when beginning a family, i.e. getting married or having children. We also see it pop up in areas of career choices. Someone once said, “If you don’t love what you do, then do something else. Life is too short to not enjoy what you do each day.”
Our lives should be deliberate and intentional. Once we choose the direction we want to pursue, the area we are most passionate about, then jump in. When we do what we love the most, then we will notice how joy finds its way back into our lives.
Now that we have all the hoopla of the New Year’s festivities behind us, it is time to keep the ball rolling.
Apart from the challenges of learning to write 2016 instead of 2015 (usually takes about a month), what areas do we need to focus on regarding our leadership?
We need to take the adequate time to evaluate what has been done over the past year. The only true picture for the year ahead is built upon understanding past failures and successes.
We need to implement the proper changes necessary to bring appropriate growth. Change is essential to growth, but understanding the proper changes is the key.
We need to provide the appropriate support to the individuals who will contribute to the changes. Remember that any progress made by proposed changes will not be made alone.
We need to work according to available resources. Using and building upon our strengths will increase our strengths for greater stability and development.
Avoid procrastination and pursue dedication. Seek out and follow the counsel of those who are closest, then give our best to every endeavor.