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Meekness is the Leverage of Leadership

In today’s world, meekness = weakness. God does not view it that way, however. The Bible says of Moses,”Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.” (Numbers 12:3) And in a world where power is everything, Jesus entered the scene in a wooden manger surrounded by barnyard animals. He grew up in an humble village, the son of a carpenter, of modest means. He lived His life serving others, yet Jesus was certainly the most influential leader in all of history.

If you study the lives of Moses and Jesus you’ll find something interesting – they were both great leaders. Both were willing to boldly confront sin and error. Both would rebuke those who believed and lived lies. Both were willing to venture out into the future with faith. Yet they were the meekest men in history. How can this be? You see, we’ve misdefined meekness. Biblical meekness is not weakness, it is really just the opposite.

The Bible’s word for meekness is used in reference to a broken horse, which has all the power to destroy its rider but refrains out of respect for authority. The word is also used to refer to a soldier who has all the might to take on the enemy, yet submits himself completely to the authority of his commanding officer. Meekness is the key to having leverage in leadership. It’s the refusal to demand respect in exchange for commanding it with a life of integrity. It is “controlled power.” Meekness is the willingness to supress those urges to lash out at the wrong time, opting instead to wait for further orders from our commanding officer, Jesus.

Is meekness displayed in your life? How can you submit yourself to Jesus more today? How can you lead others with boldness and courage?

Walking in the Power of the Holy Spirit

AstronautsRemember the 1998 Hollywood hit, Armageddon? Here’s the IMDb’s synopsis…

After discovering that an asteroid the size of Texas is going to impact Earth in less than a month, NASA recruits a misfit team of deep core drillers to save humanity.

I love that! And the reason I love it is that it sounds a lot like the church Jesus started. I would summarize His idea for the church in this way…

After revealing that humanity was utterly and hopelessly lost to sin and doomed forever, Jesus recruited a misfit team of fishermen, tax collectors, and zealots to save humanity.

In other words, after Jesus died for sin and rose again from the grave, He commissioned a ragtag bunch of guys to go change the world by carrying the message of the gospel to every creature on earth. Just as the professionally trained astronauts in Armageddon scoffed at the idea that a bunch of oil drillers could save the world, so we would probably evaluate Jesus’ plan as a little on the insane side.

Here’s what we miss though. Jesus didn’t just select these men, train them, and then commission them. He did one more HUGE thing that made all the difference. He endowed them with immeasurable power through the Holy Spirit.

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” – Acts 1:8 (NIV)

The odds would be a million-to-one against the success of the mission Jesus gave His disciples were it not for this one detail: The awesome, almighty Creator of all things, the sovereign ruler of the universe has Himself taken up residence in them and is empowering them to fulfill this otherwise impossible calling. And because God, the great equation-changer, has been willing to empower the church ever since, the world is different and millions have been saved.

The Holy Spirit is already here working, already indwelling the life of every believer in Jesus. We simply need to accept and access the power He offers to us on a moment-by-moment basis.

Demolishing Strongholds

Living Room FortI love having what I call “family fortnights,” nights when our family builds a fort. Sometimes we break our sectional sofa apart and turn pieces of it up on end, stretch blankets and bedsheets over it all and create a fort. In the imagination of my toddler, this creates a special fortress of protection from the elements and our enemies. In the mind of my wife, I’m making a mess of her living room, but she’s in the fort too.

Satan loves to build forts too. The Bible refers to them as strongholds, which are essentially miniature outposts he establishes as he scales the walls of our hearts in an attempt to completely harden and destroy us. If we are unaware of these strongholds, we can slowly surrender more of our spiritual territory over to him without even realizing it. For example…

  • We fail to forgive our ex-spouse for abandoning us, so we refuse to get close to people in the future.
  • We suffered a moment of abuse in our youth, so we buy the lie that we weren’t worth protecting.
  • We were exposed to pornography in adolescence, wiring our brains to seek pleasure in illicit imagery and creating a lifelong battle with lust.
  • We were offended or hurt by someone within the church, so we turn against the very idea of church.
  • We can’t explain some of the Bible’s difficulties, so like dominoes, our beliefs turn into skepticism about God.

And the list goes on. The point is, Satan will use the smallest of experiences to create pockets of festering infection in our lives that can ultimately spell the ruin of our relationships with God and other people.

Or…

We can fight with the weapons God hands to us. We can demolish the strongholds and lies that bind us using God’s truth. We can invade the territory the enemy has taken by praying, calling on God to act and watching Him respond. Paul said it this way,

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.

– 2 Corinthians 10:4 (NIV)

He’s willing to fight for you and to equip you for battle. And here’s the best part… the war itself is already won. Jesus died for your sin and rose again in victory over Satan, sin, death, and the grave. We just have a few more skirmishes to fight with the floundering armies of darkness.

To Know God’s Power, Know God’s Love

I love the presentation Paul makes in Ephesians 3:18 of the four-dimensional love of God…

And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is… (NLT)

I love that these four dimensions are the dimensions of the cross as it points in four directions. But what I love more is the fact that Paul makes a connection between understanding God’s love and understanding His power! He goes on to say why he wishes we could know God’s love…

THEN you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God. (NLT)

So here’s the equation: discover how much God loves you equals experiencing the fullness of God’s power in your life.

He didn’t say discover your talents or climb the corporate ladder to experience God’s power. He didn’t even command us to work ourselves into an emotional frenzy to have God’s power. Just understand how much He loves you.

Understanding His love for us is freeing, it’s empowering in a way nothing else is. Do you have any idea just how much God loves you today?

Pentecost Plus Persecution Equals Church the Way It Ought to Be

I know this is a strange assertion, but I’ve been studying the book of Acts all morning and the thought hit me that Pentecost plus persecution produced the mightiest change agent in all of history – the local church empowered by the Holy Spirit. We are never commanded to purposely try to duplicate either, but we certainly ought to live in the warmth and glow of that early New Testament flame.

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