I was listening to a sermon the other day and he pastor said something very true: we don’t train for the start or even the finish. We train for the moment when we want to quit, for the moment when we are faced with desparation and temptation to give in to those very things that would prevent us from all we have dreamt.
Leadership is not about the glory of the outcome; it is about the moment when we are faced with difficulty and challenge and decide to perservere. A leader is someone who is willing to continue on when the going gets tough, when the future isn’t so bright, when everything within them says “stop”! So the challenge for today is prepare for the moment.
When looking through the scripture it is clear that it was certain moments when leaders arose or fell:
David with Bathsheba
Joseph and Potipher’s wife
David and Goliath
Jesus in Gethsemane
Adam and Eve in the Garden
Daniel and Lion’s den
Jonah and the Whale
All of these people had moments that defined their legacy. It wasn’t that they could have predicted what their lives would face but in the day in and day out living, they certainly realized the importance of a moment. What can we do to better prepare for the moments that will decide our futures?
1) Embrace Pain.
I’m sure you have heard it before: No Pain. No Gain. Leaders draw from the pain in their lives. The hurt, the suffering and the grief are not allowed to become bitterness and anger turning a heart callous. Rather a great leader will draw wisdom, strength and even find hope through it all. The hardship that we face now prepares us to withstand the painful decisions we have to make in the future.
12 Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us,2 keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shameand has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.
3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, so that you won’t grow weary and lose heart. 4 In struggling against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. Hebrews 12:1-4
2) Endure with perseverance.
Sometimes when times are tough quitting is the only thing on our minds. Leaders do not think this way. Quitting is never an option. A great leader always holds on, even if by a thread! One defining characteristic of those in leadership is that they never give up! When the battle rages on a leader fights with every ounce of strength and finds themselves on the other side.
10 Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. 11 Put onthe full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil.12 For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. 13 This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. 14 Stand, therefore,
with truth like a belt around your waist,
righteousness like armor on your chest,
15 and your feet sandaled with readiness
for the gospel of peace.
16 In every situation take the shield of faith,
and with it you will be able to extinguish
all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
17 Take the helmet of salvation,
and the sword of the Spirit,
which is God’s word.
3) Acknowledge the enemy.
A leader is going to be faced with many foes. Being aware of the enemy, his strategies and strongholds is what each leader must do. To be naive and think that the enemy has no plan for your demise is foolish! The enemy is looking for the moment when you will be weak…it’s in those moments that you MUST CALL OUT TO CHRIST! Stand your ground. DO NOT CAVE IN. Remember Esau who sold his birthright for a bowl of soup. One moment affected everything else! Nothing wrong with soup but it’s not worth one’s birthright! Beware of the enemy. Every moment counts!
4) Stand your ground.
Leaders don’t always advance immediately. In fact many leaders are catapulted into leadership because of their past success in simply standing their ground. When we determine what our convictions, core values and and standards are we simply need to stand upon them. Leadership is not about imposing our beliefs or ideas on another. It’s about believing in them so much that we never waver ourselves. We don’t have to convince others to be convinced ourselves! Simply living right consistently and standing firm will open doors of influence and leadership never expected.