Sunday, January 23, 2011

Above Repraoch a Leadership Character

I think I heard it best stated once that character is what you do when no one else is around.  How much closer to the truth could you ever get!  How tempted are you when your friends or associates are watching you and waiting for you to be and act like them? Your character is on the line.  This is a huge challenge for Christian leader’s in corporate America.  To be like them because you become like them and fit in. Our leadership is not of this world or as my wife says our leadership should be “out of this world”.  God tells us in His word that in the end times we will be most misunderstood.  Why are you so weak “Why won’t you get back at them for what they did?” it is easy to follow our nature of selfishness.  The feel good lie that you are beind sold. 

          1 Peter 2:11
                     Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in this world, to abstain from sinful desire, which war against your soul.

It is easy to go the way of secular society because that is the path everyone takes.  In my walk with God there has never been a day that my faith was not attacked in some way.  Being a Christian leader takes practice and hard work, and most importantly preparation.  You don’t want to come off as “Holier than thou”.   In our society there are so many books and tapes and shows on self help.  What has been forgotten is helping everyone else. Let’s take a moment to follow this illustration:  I have a long commute to my office everyday what I see amazes me at how selfish people are in their cars.  As we discussed a little bit ago what we do when no one is looking defines our character.  This also goes to the level of how we act when no one knows us and chances of you seeing this person again are very slim.  The blinker is on, or it is just a movement of the car without regard for anyone else to change lanes.  Then what you see is people start using their vehicles to push their way into traffic.   We fight for meaningless pieces of asphalt at a price of great stress and aggravation.

All this to maintain a spot in a lane of moving traffic on the highway, what did you gain, 1 to 3 seconds of time?  Think about it.  What is wrong with being nice?  Why is it so important to not allow someone to get in front of you in traffic.  As if this is a defining point for your being, and this makes you "who you are".  It is meaningless frustrations like this we put on ourselves by not ever wanting to give someone a break.  I have actually observed drivers being criticized for letting someone in their lane as a courtesy.  “What is wrong with you!”. 

In leaving your selfish ambitions behind it actually can irritate some around you.  Now why in the world would this irritate some?  In following the example of God’s design we will leave the things of the world behind us.  People will be confused by what we do.  What is not understood can bring on anger in some around us.  It is amazing to me that what I see as simple and even healthy, others are confused by these actions.  The part that is healthy if you really think about it is this:  When you are fighting with someone, maybe you are blocking them from getting in front of you.  What is happening to your body at that time.  Isn’t your blood pressure going up?  Aren’t you in a higher state of anxiety?  Probably because the person that is trying to get in your lane is pushing their way in anyway, they are cutting close to your car.  This only makes you angry.  Your temper is getting can be unhealthy.  Now, when you get to your destination, whether this is work or home, you take this frustration out on those that you really care about. 

God has called us to be above reproach.  What does this mean?  To reproach is to reprimand, or condemn or criticize someone.  If you allow these little temptations of sin to pull you away from the goal it affects those around you. As God’s Word says:

1 Peter 2:11 “Abstain from sinful desires”

James 1:19-20 "So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God".

This is anything that will take your eyes off of God.  When we look away from God we are looking towards sin, and you have a choice.  In your daily walk there needs to be a commitment to honor, prefer, and respect God, your family and friends, and anyone you come in contact with.  It is a way to change your thinking of those around you. See them as Jesus did with nothing but love. Your personal well being is important to build appropriate leadership.  But, this is how many lead in today’s world "its all about me baby!".  If I help that person others will think I am wierd, or I will be weak.  We fail to be the examples because we are too worried about our own personal gain, or how others will think of us.  Some even take it to a point of not wanting to share or distribute a task because then I will have to train the person, and if they end up being better then me I will become expendable.  Everyone is expendable in the corporate world. We are called to be courageous and bold:

Joshua 1:7 "Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. But what you have is greater by far than anyone could imagine.”

You are heirs to the throne of Christ!  How do you want to be remembered?  Do you want to be that selfish person who wouldn’t let me in his lane this morning?  Or, do you want to leave a longer lasting impression by building a great relationship with a small example of grace as God gave us (undeserving I might add).  Let that person get in front of you it is ok and you will feel better for it, and they will appreciate your kindness, and even if they don't you have stepped in the role of a leader with a small event even as letting someone in your lane.  This is one building block of many that God has a plan for you, but you need to put the blocks in place by your actions.  He wants you to be firm and unwavering, and courageous. 

Teach others what God has given you in strength of leading by example.  There is a tremendous hunger in our society today for kindness.  Not too long ago there was the move for “Pay it Forward”.  This whole process amazed people at the generosity and kindness of others.  This is nothing new to Gods Word.   

Act 2:44-45 “Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common,and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.”

God did not command everyone to sell their possessions and give to the family of church members.  Out of the excitement of what God was doing they all joined together and not one person had any needs that weren’t fulfilled.  There was no debt that wasn’t satisfied.  This was in a sense the “Pay it Forward” mentality.  What was being done was because of an unconditional love and respect they had for Christ and each other.  In doing things such as this it enables you to be above reproach.  Not looking for the spotlight or the glory in what you are doing, but doing this because it is the right thing to do.  This is the character builder that makes you stronger.  You are creating a character which allows you to be above reproach.

What would you say if on your way to your office there was an interaction with another motorist.  Lets say this person is driving way too fast and they cut you off.   As you continue to drive there are several interactions with this person to the point of extreme aggravation to you.  You take note of the car because you are angry. As you continue on your way to the office, and pull into the parking lot you notice the same car that cut you off in traffic.  Now, to take it that extra mile in this example you walk into your office and the person waiting in the reception area is the same person that was driving that car.  What is your initial thought of this person?  If they were looking for a job would you hire them? Probably not due to the character they showed you. 

You immediately come to a conclusion in your head that you have seen this persons character unbeknownst to them.  They have shown you what they do when know one is looking is .  They have shown a lack of caring for anyone around them.  Now, what if the story changed, and lets say this time that the individual driving the car was kind to you in a situation that required for you to change lanes.  They were the car that let you get in front of them and allowed you to avoid the obstacle in front of you.  Which person would you hire?  Which person is above reproach?  You have nothing to hold against the person that let you into their lane.  Each of these cases the person driving their cars have shown their true character.  It is these examples that we must make in every action we take every day.  It is a challenge that only through the study of Gods word and prayer can help us to accomplish. 
Building a great leadership character takes time.  A big mistake many people make is they take on more than they can handle.  Don’t rush into leadership.  Don’t make this mistake.  What you need is to study a great leader.  Ways of doing this is to first study Gods Word, and pray.  Jesus was the greatest leader of all time.  It is important to understand how to edify the people around you.  They will in turn lift you up into a greater position.  Jesus taught that it is not important what you look like to impress people.  Where is your heart? 

James 1:3-5   Because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 
How do you build a Character that is above reproach? Let’s take a look at a great character that the world knows.  What is that in the sky?  It’s a bird!  It’s a plane!  It’s Superman!  Superman Mr. Do-gooder of all time for all the comic book junkies that wasted away precious sleep late at night with a flashlight to read under your covers hoping your parents wouldn’t notice.  He was the boyhood dream that many of us wanted to be like.  We wanted to be stronger than a train, faster than a speeding bullet and able to leap any building with ease.  He was a great character of an individual that always fought for the underdog, and never let the bad guy get away.  

He was the night in shining armor for the damsels in distress.  Even though he was not real what gave him this character?  Did he just come to earth in his space ship and tad a! Everyone knew he was a good guy.  No, of course not.  He had to learn from examples and gain wisdom.  It took time to build his reputation.  But, where did he get all this wisdom?  And who were his examples to follow? Remember he had that crystal that he threw into the glacier and a great city of ice was built.  He would go there to view the video records his father left for him to follow.  Instructions on how to treat people appropriately, how to act in times of trouble.  We have that same crystal to throw into the glacier it is Gods Word written for us to follow in His footsteps. 

He packs His Word full of wisdom to help us in our daily walks to avoid being drawn into the pathway of destruction.  Do you think Superman was above reproach?  I feel that he was.  By reading Gods Word and taking time each day to focus on His word you enable yourself to take on a character above reproach.  You will learn how to avoid your temper from getting the best of you when no one is looking.  Or you hope no one is looking.  As you study God’s word each day take time to pray.  In this day an age there is less time for us to spend quality time with anyone else but getting to and from work.  Use you time wisely.  Set aside the time each day to turn on the T.V., or listen to the radio.  Instead use this time to do the following:

  1. Open God’s word – pick a book.  Any of them are good.  Get a version of the Bible that you will enjoy reading.  I enjoy the King James version.  But, there are many people that I know that really don’t enjoy reading King James.  Try the NIV, or the New King James version.  Read the book.
  2. Take time to memorize some scripture.  My wife and I have found great refuge in memorizing chapters of Psalms.  After each prayer we recite either Psalm 91, or Psalm 34. 
  3. Pray fervently.  Don’t be afraid of what to say.  Say what is on your heart.  It is ok to be angry with God.  If your frustrated with Him let him know.  Tell him what is on your heart.  I always have this picture in my mind of God sitting in a chair.  He has a big smile on his face and all of us (His children) are running around the feet of His chair jumping and playing and making all kind of noise.  He wants so much to talk to us and give us some insight of wisdom yet we don’t slow down long enough for Him to talk to us.  When we finally slow down we fall asleep.  Pray to God, and let him talk to you. 

These are the simple steps to becoming above reproach.  It takes time and commitment to build this type of character.  But, over time you will reap a great harvest that God has planned for you.  Each day you study his word and pray you will become stronger and God will change you over time.  Trust Him and He will deliver you.  Take these steps to build your character of becoming above reproach.

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