Unlock The Leader In You!
Three Keys To Authentic Leadership & Genuine Greatness
Undoubtedly, we in the body of Christ have been locked up in chains concerning a false notion about what leadership and greatness really is and isn’t. It wouldn’t be so bad if this was the case for those who have no claims to our God but it is simply tragic that by this time in human history, the church still has not gotten our understanding of leadership right.
I ask that you would stay with me a few moments because it’s crucial that we get this concept right. I suppose the best of everything there has been, is and ever will be, is locked away inside this key principle. Our mission demands it; the world awaits it; the Lord requires it and his word teaches it.
Here’s our dilemma; the world suffers from a shortage of authentic leadership and deeply in the pit of her stomach she craves to see what greatness really looks like. Yet, the ambassadors that God has sent to solve this global world problem are too busily occupied competing and arguing about who is the greatest amongst us! Unfortunately, to this very day, the church at large still has the idea of leadership turned wrong side up. As a result, we have repelled those we should attract and attracted those we should repel. Worst yet, since everything reproduces after its kind; multitudes of congregations, districts, associations; conventions, denominations and movements at large have been polluted by as much spiritual arrogance, ego, selfishness and carnal thinking as you would expect to find in operation at a corporate board room completely filled with an absence of God. It’s odd isn’t it, that those who know no Jesus have at times, held to higher ethics, integrity and nobler ambitions than those who claim him?
Clearly, the free have been in chains for far too long and gratefully, Jesus taught us long ago how we can all unlock the true leader within each one of us. Yes, thank God that Jesus gave us the master key! He is the essence of leadership; is he not? He is the epitomy of greatness; wouldn’t you agree? Let us then learn from the lessons of our Lord about how we too can truly become the authentic leaders we should want to be and how to release the true greatness that we were born to manifest! I need somebody to really think this through with me; we MUST get out of these chains!
There are three keys I’ll show you concerning how to unlock the authentic leader inside of you an how to release the true greatness that God put in you to come out! All of it is found in John 13 and for brevity’s sake, I’ll leave out some of the background for you to review again on you own.
1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. 2 During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, 4 got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself.
Did you notice the first key to unlocking the authentic leadership inside of you and releasing the greatness that God deposited inside of you?
1. AUTHENTIC LEADERSHIP comes out of proper KNOWLEDGE of SELF.
Yes, it begins with self-knowledge of who you really are in God! Jesus knew and looked to his relationship with his Father for the dictates of his response to all people and situations. The text show us that he knew who he was; where he came from and where he was going! This level of intimate self-knowledge gave him the bold confidence to speak for the things he spoke for and against the things he spoke against; without respect to persons.
Get this, as it was with Jesus, so too, it must become with us! This means that to unlock the authentic leader within you --- you have to know who you really are! It’s then and only then that you can avoid being defined and confined by every identity card thrown at you by every ‘Tom, Dick & Harry!’
You have to know this! Folk will always try to throw fabrics on you to dress you that don’t even match who you are. They will often try to throw armor on you that you can’t even fit BUT you have to KNOW who you are and where you’re going even when they don’t!
This is why so many people in positions of leadership so readily abuse the position and the people entrusted to them because they don’t even know who they are much less who the others are around them! This is what causes them to gravitate to other models, measures and standards to gage themselves with. Remember; what’s not known and understood properly is always inevitably abused. So, instead of using their leadership properly as a platform to serve and release the greatness God deposited in others, they use it as a means to get others to serve them and to prop them up on the mount of greatness!
Yet, there is no such thing in the kingdom of God as it relates to what authentic leadership and greatness is all about! In fact, I’m discovering that when you know that you know who you really are; you won’t have to use people to make you feel any kind of way. You’re confidence won’t be based on what you get from other people; it will be predicated by who you know you are in God and it is then that as an authentic leader you can do what Jesus taught; to use that knowledge as a means to be a blessing to others.
So, here’s our 2nd key. Are you ready?
2. Authentic leadership is FOUNDATIONAL.
5 Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. 6 So He came to Simon Peter. He said to Him, "Lord, do You wash my feet?" 7 Jesus answered and said to him, "What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter." 8 Peter said to Him, "Never shall You wash my feet!" Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me." 9 Simon Peter said to Him, "Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head."
12 So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? 13 "You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. 14 "If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. 15 "For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. 16 "Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. 17 "If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.
Look closely at Pete’s principle of operation. He saw himself as under the Lord and as a result, he simply refused to get the pedicure that Jesus promoted!
Question: Why is it that those of us who need something the worst seem to want it the least! C’mon, let’s be real! Pete was the main fellow who needed that lesson because he was always the most arrogant and egotistical of the bunch. Any day of the week, it was Pete who was always so full of himself to the point that the other brothers were probably wanted to slap him. It wasn’t just that he thought so highly of himself but the problem was he often did it at their expense! On this day however, Jesus burst his bubble!
See, the way Pete had it figured out was that Jesus was on top and he was next in line! Let’s be clear! Peter didn’t have a problem with his feet being washed; he only had a problem with Jesus doing it! In other words; he saw foot washing as a job much too low for Jesus but perhaps just right for one of the others! Right after Jesus assigned him those keys of the kingdom, Pete probably was thinking he was the fourth person of the Trinity! Remember, he was a fisherman not a mathematician! Seriously, I don’t think he would have had much of a problem if Andrew, John, Judas or any one of the others would have lined up to wash his feet! In his own mind, he probably would have felt deserving. Why? Because Pete saw in his mind a hierarchy that many of us in the body of Christ are still to this day sadly, led by. It’s the totem pole mentality; the ones on the top are greater in value and the ones on the bottom are lesser. Many of us don’t mind serving; as long as it’s serving someone we perceive as over us. Yet, this same person if asked to serve those under them may have a completely different point of view.
Too often we measure out our service as to who gets our service based upon where we see them on the totem pole! If they’re up at the top --- they’re good ! If they’re down--- off at the bottom however; well, that’s somebody else’s job [we say!]
This is where Jesus messes us up! He totally overhauls our paradigm of service so that we can get the keys to authentic leadership and genuine greatness. He gives us a new world order in which we must see things. Get this: authentic leaders tend to see the world upside down so that they can then turn their worlds right side up. They tend not to see themselves as if they are on top; they tend to operate from more of a “foundational perspective.” This means they intentionally position themselves at the bottom to support the weight of those on top in a way that elevates those they have been called to serve. Furthermore and again, as our Lord demonstrated in this passage, it is this pre-determined commitment to serve that is the cornerstone of authentic leadership and genuine greatness!
Here’s our problem. Too many of us are still acting like Pete before he got this advanced class on leadership.
So, here’s a question for you. How do you see leadership as a power moving downward or a power flowing upward? Is the level of your leadership based on the number of people you are being served by or on the quality and amount of service you willingly give to others for the glory of God? What are the measurements you are most motivated and guided by? Surely this is a key, we all need to operate with. Let me give you this last one though. Good God Almighty --- it is a crucial one!
3. AUTHENTIC LEADERSHIP is demonstrated by not only how you handle those who love you BUT especially in how you handle those who HATE you and even BETRAY you!
See, many of us may manage to get a decent grade on the tests of life as long as everyone around us seems to be cooperating. Things can suddenly change on our spiritual GPA however, when cooperation changes to conflict!
Then once again, a great many of us tend to wash out of school altogether when instead of open conflict we are then faced with secret betrayal.
Surely, it is a rare student mature enough to ace this type of test on the first go round! It is a test that requires much study, meditation and preparation. See, it’s so much easier to handle folk who you know don’t like you or want anything good for you but don’t mind telling you. At least you know where they stand. Yet, it is another thing altogether to handle the injuries and wounds caused by people that you counted on, trusted and confided in but only remained close for the benefit of their ultimate plan to betray you!
The reason I bring this up as a key part of your authentic leadership and as a means to release the greatness inside of you is because we find a common thread amongst many of the most notable leaders that have ever lived on the planet; most of them had to both face and ace the test of betrayal!
Listen carefully; you’ll never graduate at the top of your spiritual class of becoming an authentic leader and releasing the greatness inside of you until you can properly handle, overcome and rebound from the experience where someone you loved, served and cared for STILL betrayed you!
Its tight but it’s right! I have to go but look at how Jesus handled Judas!
10 Jesus said to him, "He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you." 11 For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, "Not all of you are clean."
18 "I do not speak of all of you. I know the ones I have chosen; but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, `HE WHO EATS MY BREAD HAS LIFTED UP HIS HEEL AGAINST ME.' 19 "From now on I am telling you before it comes to pass, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am He.
21 When Jesus had said this, He became troubled in spirit, and testified and said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray Me." 22 The disciples began looking at one another, at a loss to know of which one He was speaking. 23 There was reclining on Jesus' bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. 24 So Simon Peter gestured to him, and said to him, "Tell us who it is of whom He is speaking." 25 He, leaning back thus on Jesus' bosom, said to Him, "Lord, who is it?"
26 Jesus then answered, "That is the one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him." So when He had dipped the morsel, He took and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 After the morsel, Satan then entered into him. Therefore Jesus said to him, "What you do, do quickly."
Did you get that? Jesus sure handled Judas a whole lot differently than the way my flesh would tell me to handle him! For many of us Judas never would have made it to suicide because homicide would have found him first! Yet, not so with Jesus! He practiced authentic leadership! So there you have it! You want to really be the authentic leader so desperately needed in this world today; especially the church?
Get the keys and don’t leave home without them. Take them everywhere you go and use them to set the captives free that you will encounter along your way. Remember and practice them well for in them you will surely tap into the level of leadership that will meet countless needs while stirring up and releasing the greatness within multitudes of others as well as in yourself. Here they are again. Put them on your key chain:
Pastor Mel Keyes,
Success Coach & Vision Locksmith
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