Summary: Servant Leaders are high on self awareness. They use this self awareness to grow closer to God
Servant Leadership Part 9: Awareness
I am happy to be back here talking about my favourite subject. Servant Leadership.
In the past sermons on the topic, we have established that all of us have a claim to “leadership” since we all have been called to “influence” others as Christians. If we do not remember that let us remind ourselves of some of the most common definitions of leadership.
• Process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task.
– Martin Chemers,a thought leader and author of ‘An Integrative Theory Of Leadership‘.
• “Leadership is influence - nothing more, nothing less."
– John C Maxwell : Leadership Guru and author of books like, 21 irrefutable Laws of Leadership, 360 degree leadership, Leadership Gold etc. Also compiled the Leadership Bible
• “Leadership happens any time you are trying to influence the thoughts and actions of another individual to accomplish specific tasks or goals.”
– Ken Blanchard, Leadership Guru and Author, The One minute Manager, Lead Like Jesus etc
And let us remind ourselves of the call that we have as Christians
"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Matthew 5:13-14
This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. John 15:8
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. John 15:16
So we have established that we have to influence others, so that they might have the same hope that we have as Christians.
Through Jesus’ own words we know that this call to influence, this call for leadership is not through the power and authority model of leadership but through the Servant Leadership Model demonstrated by him. For, He clearly tells us so, in Matthew 20:25-28.
Over some of my past sermons we have also seen the key characteristics of Servant Leadership. There are 10 Characteristics and 7 behavioral patterns of Servant Leadership. We have seen some of them in the past. I plan to help us examine the characteristic called “Self Awareness” today.
In the secular world, Self awareness is always touted as a first step to leadership. Emotional Intelligence, which has become a rage now days, puts this as one of the basic things to have, for growing in Leadership. When it comes to Church and Christian circles, some times, the idea of self awareness is frowned upon. There are some Christian views which consider self awareness as “sin”. After all, it was after the “fall’, that Adam and Eve became “aware” of their nakedness. (Gen 3:7). The proponents of this view also misrepresent the verse John 3:20 where John the Baptist says “He must become greater; I must become less”, and explain this to mean that we must be focused on God alone and not on ourselves. They also claim that the term self awareness is not mentioned in the bible. Well we need to tell them that the term “trinity” is also not there in the bible, but that does not mean it is not a fact.
The fact is that the Bible does not explicitly command us to be self-aware, but the need for us to face the truth about ourselves in relation to God, our relationships with one another and the implications of our behaviour is a constant theme:
• In Genesis 32:22-31, Jacob’s wrestling with a shadowy adversary is all about his need to face the truth about who he is so that God may transform him.
• 1 Corinthians13:12 looks forward to the time when our knowledge of ourselves in relation to God is as clear as God’s knowledge of us. (….then I shall know him fully even as I am known fully)
• Romans 12:3 calls us to think realistically of ourselves from the perspective of what God thinks is important.
• Many of Jesus’ stories are about inviting people to face the truth about themselves:
Mark 10:17-23: the rich young man
John 4: 1-42: the Samaritan woman at the well
Luke 7: 36-50: Jesus’ dinner with Simon the Pharisee
• The letters to the churches in Revelation hold a mirror to the churches so that they can see their truth in relationship with God.
• James 1:22-25 tells us that obeying the word of God is like looking in the mirror, taking note of the picture it shows us and then living in the light of what we have seen.
So this is my studied view, based on these biblical guidelines, “You really cannot begin to know God unless you know yourselves”. Let me put it another way. As Christians all of us believe that we are called to surrender to God. We are called to surrender “ourselves” to God. My question to us is this. If we do not know what we are surrendering, what are we really surrendering? Isn’t surrender without self awareness superficial? Is it not equivalent to saying, “Lord, here I surrender to you what is evident, what is outside, but deep within me are a number of things that I don’t care about and hence please don’t bother about them. There are places inside myself that are locked and out of bounds for you”. Is that our idea of surrendering ourselves to God?