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Avenues to Avoid and Aims to Adopt

August 4, 2022

When it comes to leadership and personal development there are always things to keep intact. Have you ever found yourself wishing you were someone else or somewhere else? Leading with someone else’s gifts, talents, and abilities? Thinking you could be a better leader if you had a bigger budget, a larger gathering space, or more individuals to lead? Zechariah 4:10 reminds us, “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin…”

Three Avenues to Avoid

1. Competition– We can compete for the spotlight or to have the most likes on social platforms. Does anyone feel like we are in constant competition with the world and those around you? The world teaches if you are not first, you are last.

Let’s be honest, the moment we go to school we are trying to be the fastest on the playground, the smartest in the classroom, the first to be picked in gym class. Then we move into middle school and high school! YIKES!

By the time college comes we want to be in that dream relationship, get the biggest scholarship, intern at the most prestigious businesses, churches or organizations. Then you are competing in the pool of dating and marriage!

Then it’s buying a home, having a family, life insurance, and retirement!

May we not be leaders who get sucked into the vortex of competition, but may we be leaders who finish the race well.

*The trap of worldly competition leads to comparison.

2. Comparison – Comparing is sizing ourselves up to others through observation.

We can find ourselves comparing ourselves to other leaders, pastors, churches, or leadership styles. The only thing comparison causes us to do is be inferior; it makes us feel inadequate and actually causes us to be ineffective.

When we are constantly sizing ourselves up to others, what we are doing is telling God that He didn’t know what He was doing when He created us.

3. Complaining – The Rolling Stones coined the phrase “you can’t always get what you want.” You may not always get what you want or what you think others deserve, but we can control our tongues and our actions. This happens to be the process of sanctification.

Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Once we surrender our lives, ministries, families and future to Christ – everyone can experience freedom. Second Corinthians 3:17 says, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

We can experience freedom when we understand our identity is in Jesus Christ and we begin to monitor and wrestle with our own competitive spirit, comparison with others, and complaining about what we don’t have or who we haven’t become yet. 

Three C’s to Adopt

Confidence – We need to be confident in who we are and who God created us to be. First Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

Josiah Kennealy once said, “If we can have secured our eternity in God and what Jesus did on the cross, how much more can we trust Him with our leadership, ministry, finances, health, future, and everything else?” Let us be confident in Christ!

Cheerleaders – Let’s be leaders who cheer each other on. The reality is that we are on the same team. Even if we are wearing different jerseys working at different locations, churches, or nonprofits, we are on the same team and need to cheer each other on when it comes to dreams, desires, and aspirations as leaders and pastors.

May we be cheering and encouraging others on. When one wins, we all win. We are stronger together.

Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Champion – To champion means to support the cause of something. As we promote and believe in one another we begin to eliminate the gap of jealousy. If we give the enemy an inch, he will take a mile. May we be leaders and influencers that can sing the praises of what God is doing in our lives as well as those who are leading around us.

People are always watching, and unfortunately there will always be an audience of critics when it comes to this world. But we ultimately have an audience of one and that is God himself. May this world see our love for one another as brothers and sisters in Christ and may be love those around us well.

John 13:35 says, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

My prayer is less of me and more of God. Let it be said that all of us started well and finished well. May we live on mission with a heaven-minded urgency building God’s Kingdom, not our own. What are you building? Whose strength are you functioning in? What keeps you up at night? What wakes you up in the morning? What dreams and aspirations are getting dusty and lying dormant?  

Begin to leave a legacy. Remember a legacy needs to be worth living for and a legacy needs to be worth dying for.  

“Choose today the legacy you want to leave others. People will summarize your life in one sentence – pick it now! Don’t make your friends and family guess at your life’s purpose at your funeral…When you consistently combine character with competence, you establish credibility.” – John C. Maxwell