Dear leader, who’s leading you?
I know it’s not a question that you’re asked often. You’re more than likely used to hearing about how you’re leading others.
Yet I’ve found that one of the greatest hallmarks of a good leader isn’t just in their ability to lead, but particularly in their ability to follow and submit to another. You cannot lead if you have no clue how to be led. This is especially the case for Christian leaders.
Why? Let’s consider who a Christian leader is. What is it that makes one a Christian leader? Is the “Christian” part merely a notation of the faith they ascribe to? Or is there something more evident in their leadership that sets them apart from everyone else?
Can people tell your leadership is Christian in nature merely by observing the impact it has on those you lead and that which you’re responsible for?
As a leader, are your thoughts (mind) in charge? Is your heart (emotions) in control? Is your impulse (will) what guides your decisions?
Or are you in step with the Spirit of God as a Christian – leader or otherwise – should be.
“If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.”
– Galatians 5:25 ESV
Being saved by the Spirit and being led by the Spirit are not automatically synonymous for any Christian. One is a choice made in a moment that changes the course of your life eternally; the other is a life-time of daily, intentional surrender. It’s the difference between having Jesus as your Saviour and having Him as your Lord.
Unfortunately, there’s a high number of saved Christians who are as estranged to the Holy Spirit in their salvation as they were before they got saved. Yet He was the one Jesus was keen to leave us as He prepared to go back to be with the Father. Consider why Christ would put such an emphasis on the need for us to have His Spirit (John 14).
If you are not led by the Spirit in your everyday Christian walk, He will not find room in your leadership. What the rest of the world sees in public is but an expression of what’s going on in your private life. If you are led by self (mind, heart and/or will), the fruit of this will be evident in your leadership. If you are led by the opinions of others, this too will be seen in how you lead. But if the Lord Almighty is the One who guides your every step, the world and Body alike will take note of the remarkable difference in your leadership even when they may not understand it.
Leadership is a heavy call for any person to bear, all the more for Christian leaders for whom eternity is at stake. However, it’s not the weight of leadership that often breaks us but how we carry that weight. The weight of having others looking to us for direction; to know that which they do not, to understand that which makes no sense to them, to have answers to the questions that are ringing in their minds.
We cannot take people to a place we have no knowledge of. It is the Spirit of truth who leads us into all truth and helps us in turn point others back to Christ in everything we do, even in the workplace. This is why we can’t afford to lean on our own strength and understanding. We will limit people to our limitations as human beings when we should be creating environments for them to walk in limitless freedom in Jesus.
I can’t help but think that our greatest call as Christian leaders, is to be led by Christ. Everything we do will stand or fall based on our ability to submit ourselves to His Lordship.
So let’s look to the One who called us to establish and keep us in the paths He has set for us and those He has given us charge over. And may His Spirit be our advocate and guide in all we do in His name and for His glory.
Are there dimensions of your leadership that are not led of the Holy Spirit? Make the invitation to Him today and ask Him to take over. Be intentional in following His lead from now on.