From the Pastor’s heart
Joh 13:12So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Joh 13:13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. Joh 13:14If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. Joh 13:15For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Joh 13:16Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.
Jesus is giving us insight into His thoughts on spiritual leadership and at the same time instructing us about our own position in leadership through these verses so that we would understand what to do when it comes to leading people. Since leadership means bearing a mantle of authority, it requires special wisdom to not only be able to receive authority but execute that authority. When we speak of spiritual leadership, we speak of authority that governs many forms of relationship in the natural. Since we already have spiritual leadership over us, we do not have to seek spiritual authority over God, though some do in error and to their own detriment. They do this by telling God what to do especially in prayer. The subtly reveal their own secret desires and projections to God even about how someone else should behave especially in corporate prayer. Sadly, the lessons that are then meted out by God can be quite difficult to bear.
The numerous natural relationships that an individual goes through in this life time varies according to the maturing process of life. When the child is born, it is under spiritual leadership and authority of the parents. When the child grows, goes to school and then to work, he comes under authority in those areas. Then, when the child becomes a parent himself, he bears the mantle of spiritual leadership and authority. Finally, if the adult becomes a spiritual leader in the Church, then he carries the ultimate mantle of leadership as he governs both heaven and earth. In the sense of the heavens, he governs spiritual forces in darkness through that spiritual authority which is bestowed upon him.
When we see the twofold nature of spiritual leadership covering the heavens and earth, often time, we are mistaken about how to govern these realms. Apostle Paul alludes to two guys who went astray in these verses and uses their example to warn his young disciple about wayward use of authority. He also teaches him how to use his authority based on prophecy. 1Ti 1:18:20 This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; 1Ti 1:19Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: 1Ti 1:20Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.
In spite of life’s ups and downs, understanding spiritual authority is critical to life in order to have well being in it. This is the heart cry of Jesus for the Church; that we would understand spiritual authority and through that, lead His sheep into greener pastures. Jesus teaches Peter about leadership in this fashion. Joh 21:15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs Joh 21:16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. Joh 21:17He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
Spiritual leadership requires an abandonment of self. The flock take more out of leadership than one could possibly imagine. It even requires death at the cross for spiritual leadership to take full effect. That is what Jesus did for us. Though He led us and taught us, He also died for us. He expects we would lead by example. Rom_12:1I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. Many want to emulate the power of Jesus or the fruit of the Spirit that operated in Jesus but few want to suffer like Jesus did. Christianity has been touted as a faith without suffering. The suffering comes because of people who do not understand you or don’t want to understand you. Yet, each one is a soul who requires some form of leadership in their lives. They are craving for someone to show them the way because they are lost. I cannot tell you about how many families are in strife because there is no spiritual leadership at home. Wives are distraught and children are abandoned in many cases because of the lack of spiritual leadership.
Discipline and disciplinary action is a part of leading people. They may not like what you put in place but there is a way to do things that will bring them to submitting to your leadership. These ways will cost you almost everything you have. In other words, you have to die to yourself in more ways than one. Joh 12:24Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. The fruit that comes from that kind of fruit cannot be compared with anything else that you may sacrifice.
Death to self is not popular theology in Churches today. Spiritual leadership these days in Church is more about entertainment and prosperity and about living luxuriously at the expense of others. Little is said or done about the sheep who are in strife. Many in the Church die physically and spiritually because of the lack of spiritual leadership. Leadership itself is touted more as a dynamic of human endeavour than one that is led by the Spirit of God.
Men of God in the Bible were led by the Spirit of God into leadership positions. No one ordained themselves. They were ordained of God and so they took on a mantle that was reserved for them. Today, many are appointed into leadership and are given mantles of the spiritual offices that have no resemblance whatsoever to what Jesus intended for the Church. As a result, we have program oriented churches that are bound by agendas and attendance rather than life giving messages that change a person from the inside out. People in the church are employed on contracts and the like.
Very few take up the mantle when called by God because it does not suit their economic and social status at the time. They are afraid to leave family and home and face difficulty in life but want comfortable positions in Church where they are not threatened by anyone or anything. They have no fruit to show for their endeavours just reports. It is my passion that leadership in Churches operate on the presence and instruction of the Holy Spirit. Only He can lead us to Jesus. Instructions have been given to the Holy Spirit to speak to the Churches and lead them. The problem however is, many churches are not listening. Every form of leadership no matter the ranking, must come into submission to the Holy Spirit. He will bring us into unity so that, we ourselves are not trying to take over someone else’s territory. This is a common problem among leaders in a Church. Dissatisfaction or boredom within their own realm of leadership often cause them to look over the other side and see that the grass is greener. They start to desire it and then before you know it, there are offences and splits in the church. 1Co 3:3For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? 1Co 3:4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? 1Co 3:5Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? 1Co 3:6I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. 1Co 3:7So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. 1Co 3:8Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. 1Co 3:9For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.
Co-labouring with the Holy Spirit means submitting to His leadership which brings us to the leadership of Christ. Even the Holy Spirit will not talk about Himself. Joh_16:13Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. The Spirit of God in us should bring out in us spiritual leadership that exemplifies Christ under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. We see this in the following verses Luk_4:18,19The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel ….The moment the Holy Spirit comes on Jesus He is led. Mat 4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. How many of us would accept that kind of leadership in our lives. Let us learn to walk in spiritual leadership based on the leading of the Holy Spirit and let us submit to spiritual leadership in life and walk in the Spirit as the Holy Spirit governs us all.
No man is an island
Lots of love