REALITIES OF LEADERSHIP
Philippians 1:27-30 Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, 28 and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. 29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, 30 engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.
Paul defines the reality of what it means to be a follower of Jesus and a spiritual leader. What are the things we discover from this verse? What does it look like to live a life worthy of the call of God on our lives?
Unity, not division
We are standing firm in one spirit & one mind together. Leading & serving SIDE BY SIDE.
This implies there is a potential of NOT being in ONE spirit and ONE mind. There is a potential of not doing this SIDE BY SIDE.
The realities of division, disunity and frustration among people is a real thing. We must fight against the potentials of this and understand IT WILL HAPPEN! But we don't have to succumb to its pressure.
Faith, not fear
We are not frightened by opponents or opposition. This word "frightened" is the word to describe when a horse is startled. It bucks and runs aimlessly until it is out of danger. When you are surprised, startled or shocked by the opposition of the enemy - DO NOT BE AFRAID (or surprised)! You don’t have to be afraid. Have no fear.
Recognize that being startled by opposition and your enemy is a part of leadership. You will find yourself reeling from a sneak attack from your enemy. Take a moment, a deep breath and consider the source of the opposition. When you experience opposition or you have others who oppose you it is a clear sign to them of their destruction and your salvation. They realize you are right and they are not.
Suffering for the sake of Christ
It has been granted to you that you should suffer. Wait. What? Granted to me? The word granted, is a form of the word GRACE! God has give you the grace to suffer for him. To not just BELIEVE IN HIM, but to SUFFER AS WELL.
How are we supposed to suffer?
You are engaged in conflict...
This word conflict (agon) has two definitions:
- A place where athletes compete. We get our word Agony or Agonize from this word. This is where there is struggle, competition, challenge, putting your body and mind to the ultimate test. A race.
- To take the lead, leadership.
Ok. Stop for a minute. The partner word to AGON, CONFLICT, AGONIZE, AGONY is leadership? Leadership is conflict, agony, struggle, contention, opposition, a fight, a race and a battle. BUT, We’ve been give the GRACE for it. Meaning, we will be able to experience contentment, satisfaction and fulfillment amongst the challenge of leadership. But, also remember, there is also FRUIT! That fruit is the reward, outside of knowing Jesus better, that we get to experience. We get to experience the FRUIT OF OUR LABOUR.
Just know that when CONFLICT comes in your leadership it doesn't mean you are not good enough, or that you can't make it...take it as evidence that GOD IS UP TO SOMETHING GREAT! You are on the precipice of breakthrough. You are on the verge of FRUIT! Don't stop. Keep going.
I'll end on this verse as an encouragement for you:
Galatians 6:9-10 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Ryan Iverson is the Founding & Lead Pastor of Love City Church. Together with his wife, Stephanie, they lead a growing church in Calgary, Alberta.