Are You Leading or Are You Following?

In recent years, much has been spoken and written on the subject of leadership.  Corporate America has spent millions of dollars trying to develop leadership skills within their ranks.  It is certainly a worthy topic and one that is important not only in the secular world but an important topic to God’s work as well.  The key difference between a successful leader and an unsuccessful leader is that a successful leader always remembers that he or she is a follower first and then a leader.  Confused!  What I mean is that in order for a leader to be truly successful, they must first understand their role as a follower of Jesus Christ.  Sounds good, but not at all easy to do.  So often, when people step into a leadership role, Satan takes the opportunity to try and convince the person that they are experiencing this position due to their own merits and abilities.  If we buy into these lies, we suddenly find ourselves practicing the “me first” or “looking out for number one” approach to daily living.

Matthew 6: 33  tells us “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  So even leaders are to seek God’s kingdom and righteousness before all other things.  It is when we do this that we are truly “leading” as God desires.  Not long ago, someone sent me an email that had a wonderful description about the word “guidance.”  Unfortunately the author is unknown but I wanted to share it with you.  It says,

“When I meditated on the word GUIDANCE, I kept seeing ‘dance’ at the end of the word. I remember reading that doing God’s will is a lot like dancing.

When two people try to lead, nothing feels right. The movement doesn’t flow with the music, and everything is quite uncomfortable and jerky.

When one person realizes and lets the other lead, both bodies begin to flow with the music. One gives gentle cues, perhaps with a nudge to the back or by pressing lightly in one direction or another. It’s as if two become one body, moving beautifully. The dance takes surrender, willingness, and attentiveness from one person and gentle guidance and skill from the other.

My eyes drew back to the word GUIDANCE. When I saw ‘G,’ I thought of God, followed by ‘u’ and ‘i.’ ‘God’, ‘u’ and ‘i’ dance! God, you, and I dance.”

What a beautiful word visual is described in this writing!  I want us to focus on the statement “The dance takes surrender, willingness and attentiveness.”  I think these three actions give a leader a good understanding of what being a follower of Jesus Christ is all about.

First, there is “surrender.”  Many of us have sung the chorus of the hymn that says “I surrender all, all to Him I owe.”  The problem is we say it but do we really comprehend what it means?  Psalm 40: 8 tells us “I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.”  So surrender means having the desire to do God’s will.  Psalm 143: 10 says “Teach me to do your will for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.”  We must surrender ourselves to becoming the student and allow God to be the teacher.

Secondly there is “willingness.”  2 Corinthians 8: 12 states “For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.”  God doesn’t get worried about what we don’t have if we are willing to hand our will over to Him.  Philippians 2: 13 says “for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.”  You see, if we have the willingness to yield ourselves to our Heavenly Father then He can do great and mighty things with what we have.

Third is “attentiveness.”  I don’t know about you, but I have missed countless opportunities to serve God simply because I wasn’t paying attention.  Proverbs 4: 1 says “Listen my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding.”  I think all of us could give examples of valuable learning that came from those who had greater experience and had gained wisdom form those experiences if we only paid attention.  More importantly, God is so ready and willing to instruct us if we will only pay attention.  Our Heavenly Father has great instruction to share with us if we will pay attention and gain understanding.

So, how’s your dance with God these days?  Are you surrendering all to Him?  Are you willing to let Him lead and guide you according to His good purpose?  Are you attentive to the opportunities He is providing and the knowledge and wisdom that can be gained by these experiences?  God is so ready to give you the dance of your life if you will simply do these three things!

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