Summary: A look at some of the building blocks needed for effective leadership.
What’s most important to you? If you were to list out the top ten most important things in your life what would be on top? You are probably wondering why I am asking such a penetrating question. The reason is that God is concerned with what we are, not just what we do. So many Christians and leaders are oblivious to the implications of the message they profess. They teach about Christian behavior, attend seminars on fighting moral evils in the community and many times even discuss the need for devotion. The biggest problem is at the same time they fail to realize that the message must be first lived out in their own lives. Let’s face it, we all have inconsistencies. It’s not enough to just look like a Christian or just wear the title of a Christian leader. The most important thing is our personal relationship with God. Leaders, of all people need to recognize this. In fact this issue was recognized by Paul and he considered it of paramount importance. In recognizing the importance of this issue Paul compared himself to an athlete in training for a sporting event. Keeping up ones relationship with God is not easy for anyone, but for a Christian leader it becomes harder yet. The leader is expected by others to be spiritual. Some times this becomes a great pitfall as a leader begins to act more spiritual than they really are. The reason behind this is to be able to keep up appearances. This was the same problem that was evident in the Pharisees. It is hard to find time for daily prayer and Bible Study as well as being difficult to find time to attend church functions besides Sunday morning. The busier you become in “church business” the less time you have available for your own spiritual development. I want to issue a warning this is not going to be an easier teaching for us to accept. In fact it might make us down right uncomfortable but in God’s view effective leadership requires total devotion.
I. We need to have a total devotion to maintaining a growing personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
A. Regardless of how busy you get, there still needs to be time budgeted to spend alone in God’s Word.
1. Paul’s concern was that after putting all the energy in preaching to others that he might find that he had not grown spiritually.
2. We excuse negligence of spending daily time in God’s word quite easily: “I am really involved in the Bible all the time. I prepare lessons for my class. I am in the worship service and attend Bible Study. So I really hear a lot about the Bible.”
3. Second hand Bible Study can not replace you doing it on your own.
4. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:11—NIV)
5. We often live, “I have hidden your Word.” We often find our Bibles hidden under newspapers and magazines.
6. God’s Word is like medicine, it does not help unless it is used.
7. A Chinese man who became a Christian had as his motto, “No Bible, No Breakfast.”
8. Billy Graham stated that he attempts to read five Psalms and one chapter of Proverbs everyday. He says he reads the Psalms to keep right with God and the Proverbs to keep right with men.
B. We need to make our spare moments, prayer moments.
1. An older elder put it this way, “I make it a rule never to speak to a man before I have spoken to God.”
2. You will never find time for daily prayer, you need to make it.
3. Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18—NIV)
4. Uninterrupted communication with God keeps temporal and spiritual values in balance.
5. A growing relationship with God was of paramount importance to Paul, our text clues us into the fact that Paul was as concerned about living the Gospel as preaching it.
II. We need to have a total devotion to the Lord’s Church and the message.
A. God has promised that He would bless the church that teaches the truth.
1. Paul was committed to presenting the whole truth to people. (Romans 1:16—NIV)
2. Have been invited to someone’s home for an evening party expecting dinner to be served and you were mistaken? You arrive only to find snacks you try to fill yourself with snacks but they do not satisfy. You leave still feeling hungry.
3. Many people today leave the church feeling that way. They come hungry for the Word of God but leave feeling hungry and frustrated.
4. The Word of God is a precious commodity that needs to the focus of the church.