Monday 14 January 2019

When God seems absent!

Photo by Robert Bye on Unsplash

Psalm 77

77:1 I will cry out to God and call for help!
I will cry out to God and he will pay attention to me.
77:2 In my time of trouble I sought the Lord.
I kept my hand raised in prayer throughout the night.
I  refused to be comforted.
77:3 I said, “I will remember God while I groan;
I will think about him while my strength leaves me.”  (Selah)
77:4 You held my eyelids open;
I was troubled and could not speak.
77:5 I thought about the days of old,
about ancient times.
77:6 I said, “During the night I will remember the song I once sang;
I will think very carefully.”
I tried to make sense of what was happening.
77:7 I asked,  “Will the Lord reject me forever?
Will he never again show me his favour?
77:8 Has his loyal love disappeared forever?
Has his promise failed forever?
77:9 Has God forgotten to be merciful?
Has his anger stifled his compassion?”
77:10 Then I said, “I am sickened by the thought
that the sovereign One might become inactive.
77:11 I will remember the works of the Lord.
Yes, I will remember the amazing things you did long ago!
77:12 I will think about all you have done;
I will reflect upon your deeds!”
77:13 O God, your deeds are extraordinary!
What god can compare to our great God?
77:14 You are the God who does amazing things;
you have revealed your strength among the nations.
77:15 You delivered your people by your strength –
the children of Jacob and Joseph. (Selah)
77:16 The waters saw you, O God,
the waters saw you and trembled.
Yes, the depths of the sea shook with fear.
77:17 The clouds poured down rain;  
the skies thundered. 
Yes, your arrows flashed about.
77:18 Your thunderous voice was heard in the wind;
the lightning bolts lit up the world;
the earth trembled and shook.
77:19 You walked through the sea;
you passed through the surging waters,
but left no footprints.
77:20 You led your people like a flock of sheep,
by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
(NET Bible)


There are times in our walk with God when we do not sense His presence. It is as though God withdraws Himself so that we will seek Him more earnestly. At times such as these it is important to know how to approach God and not to lose faith. Faith is easy when we sense God’s presence but in times of “darkness” the challenge is not to despair or give up but to follow the example of the psalmist.

Where is the Lord? (77:1,2)

The psalmist cries out to God in his distress. He is greatly troubled and seeks God unceasingly. God is absent. Even though the psalmist searches for God, he doesn’t sense God’s presence or comfort.

Remembering (77:3-6)

The psalmist begins to remember his God but is not encouraged. Spiritually, emotionally and physically he is struggling to find God even as he thinks about his God. 77:3,4
The writer reflects on better times with God when he could sing songs in the night in continuous worship to his Lord. 77:5,6

Interpreting circumstances (77:7-9)

As the writer considers the circumstances and God’s apparent absence, he begins to question his relationship with God and what he thought he knew about God. Questions that are a response to what the psalmist is experiencing, feed doubt into his spirit concerning God’s acceptance, grace, unfailing love, promises, mercy and compassion. In this section the writer speaks of God in the third person. Previously he addressed God in the second person a couple of times but mostly in the third person but now he only speaks of God as though he were not present.

Faith strategy (77:10-12)

The writer now questions his own interpretation of his circumstances and his thinking. The NET Bible translates this difficult verse like this, “Then I said, ‘I am sickened by the thought that the sovereign One  might become inactive’” (77:10). He begins to challenge his own thought process and makes a definite decision to change his way of thinking by thinking not of God’s apparent absence but about what God has done in the past! The writer chooses to remember the wonderful things God has done in his life and begins to meditate and reflect on God’s power and goodness (77:11,12).

Faith restored (77:13-20)

The psalmist turns his attention away from himself and fixes his eyes on the Lord. He addresses God personally in second person. He declares who God is – that God is holy, great, powerful, the worker of miracles, and his redeemer. The writer meditates on the testimonies of God and reflects on how God brought the children of Israel out of Egypt through the red sea (77:16-20). His faith is restored as he reflects on God’s work and on the assurance that if God did it once, He will surely do it again!


In times of darkness, when God seems absent, we can despair and lose faith or we can simply hope for the "gift of meeting" (Christopher Chapman) or reflect on the testimonies of God's goodness and faithfulness. When our circumstances begin to challenge our understanding of who God has revealed Himself to be, we must choose to trust God and remember when He was present and we enjoyed the gift of sensing His presence or the "gift of meeting". If you are going through a difficult time and it seems like God is not there, I want to encourage you to think about God's goodness in your life that you have experienced in the past. Meditate on testimonies of God's faithfulness and power. Turn your heart away from yourself and towards God in worship. Declare how wonderful God is and how good He is. Let the Holy Spirit ignite your spirit as you speak to God and declare your love for Him. May your faith be restored as you meet with your God. He loves you and will never forsake you.  

Sunday 4 June 2017

Holy Spirit and Fire

"John answered, saying to all, 'I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather the wheat into His barn; but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.'" Luke 3:16,17

Baptized with the Holy Spirit

Pentecost marks the birth of the Church, the day on which Jesus baptized and saturated all those who believed in Him with His Spirit of holiness. Pentecost is also the fulfilment of the first part of what John prophesied concerning Jesus, that He would clean out His threshing floor and gather the wheat into His barn. The Church is God's "gathered ones," set apart by His Spirit to dwell in Him for eternity.

Baptized with fire

Pentecost is also the evidence that Jesus will fulfill the second part of John's prophecy. When Jesus returns, He will indeed baptize with fire and condemn those who have not been gathered into His barn - the chaff that will burn with unquenchable fire.

As the Church celebrates Pentecost let us be reminded that we are Christ's gathered ones, filled with His Spirit, who belong to Him and are set apart for Him but let us also be reminded that those who have not believed will also be baptized, not with the Holy Spirit but with fire.

My prayer for us, as the Church, is that we would respond to the One who is mightier than us with reverence and awe as we recognise that He has the power to baptize with the Spirit and with fire. Let us be saturated with the Holy Spirit but let us also be filled with compassion and urgency to reach those who have not yet been gathered into His barn.

Thursday 3 March 2016

Simplify to Glorify!

"My message and my preaching were not with wise and pesuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power." 1 Corinthians 2:4,5

The apostle Paul knew the key to seeing the power of God move in him and through him. He understood that if he depended on himself or had any inclination to look good before men, God would not manifest His power through him. In the spirit of true humility, the apostle lived a life that depended on God to glorify God. Paul followed Christ's example of becoming nothing so that God would be glorified (Phil. 2:6-11).

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8,9

The manifestation of God's power in the believer's life is by grace so that no man can boast. As long as we think it is because of our own righteousness or our own abilities that God will move in power, we will hinder God's desire to manifest His power for His glory.

"But (the Lord) said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

The key to demonstrating Christ's power in our lives is weakness - complete dependency on God to glorify Him! Pride depends on self to look good before man. Humility depends on God so that He is glorified.

God desires that we simplify to glorify - that we strip ourselves of all that depends on self and everything that we could boast in for our own glory instead of depending completely on God to glorify Him.

"The Lord said to Gideon, 'You have too many men for me to deliver Midian into their hands. In order that Israel may not boast against me that her own strength has saved her, announce now to the people, 'Anyone who tembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.'" Judges 7:2,3

God simplified to glorify - He caused Gideon to strip down his army of 32000 men to 300 men to fight against Israel's enemies -

"The Midianites, the Amalekites and all the other other eastern peoples had settled in the valley, thick as locusts. Their camels could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore." (Judges 7:12)!

God demonstrated His power by using man's weakness to glorify Himself. Israel became weak so that she could become strong. She humbled herself by depending completely on God so that He would be glorified through her!

Having understood God's will for us to depend completely on Him so that He will be glorified, I believe we, the Church, need to ask ourselves some honest questions. For example,

  • Is it more important to us that we have an attractive, polished event on a Sunday or that people encounter the presence and power of God? Clearly we can have both but what is most important to us?
  • If we stripped away the cool venue, the cool music and the fun sermon, what would be left? Could it be we have replaced the fire of God for His sake with a cool meeting for our sake?
  • Is what we pray and how we pray, when praying for one another, more important than seeing God touch the other person's life? 
  • Is how we worship on a Sunday more important than making room to encounter God?
  • Is how we preach more important than making sure we come with a demonstration of God's wisdom and power? Are we more concerned about being acceptable than accurate; being popular than powerful?
  • Do we compromise the truth in the name of love for our sake or do we speak the truth in love for God's sake?

I believe it is time for the Church to simplify to glorify. It is time to take a serious look at how much we are doing in our own strength and for our own glory. It is time to strip away everything that depends on self and that is done for our own glory. It is time to depend fully on God so that He will be glorified. It is time for people to experience the presence and power of God in our meetings so they "will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, 'God is really among you!'" (1 Corinthians 14:25).

Church, let us simplify to glorify!

Thursday 31 December 2015

2016. Sow what?!

As we enter the new year, I am sure many of us want to see change in our lives. Obviously if we continue to do what we have done in the past we cannot expect a different outcome in the future. Someone once said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results." In other words, if you keep sowing the same seed, you cannot expect to reap a different harvest!

What will you sow into?

"Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life." Galatians 6:7,8

The seed we sow will either be destructive or constructive. If we sow seed to please our sinful desires, we will reap the negative consequences but if we sow to please the Holy Spirit, we will reap fullness of life.

Sowing to please the Spirit does not come naturally. The apostle Paul even says that the desires of the sinful nature are contrary to the Spirit and that they are in conflict with each other (Gal. 5:17). In order to sow to please the Spirit, the believer must make a disciplined effort to overcome his or her natural desires. A great example of this is found in Matthew 26:36-46 where the disciples gave in to "sleeping and resting" instead of "watching and praying." Jesus said that "the spirit is willing but the body is weak" and so we need to understand that in order to sow spiritual seed, we must overcome the weakness of the body. In Gethsemane, Jesus overcame His emotions (26:38), His will (26:39) and His physical tiredness (26:40) to fulfill the will of the Father. If Jesus "learned obedience" then surely we need to as well (see Hebrews 5:7-10)!

All of us sow seed. The question is, "Are we sowing seed to please ourselves or to please the Holy Spirit?"

How much will you sow?

"Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously." 2 Corintians 9:6

We must sow generously if we what to reap generously. In order to sow generously we must be prepared to sow beyond natural expectations and boundaries. Supernatural harvest comes from supernatural investment - sowing that is beyond the natural.

As stewards of what God entrusts us with whether gifts, talents, finances, time, energy, relationships, revelation, etc, we can use these for ourselves, to bless or to invest. We see these three principles in Matthew 25:1-46 where Jesus teaches on the believer's need to be ready (25:1-13), the believer's need to invest (25:14-30) and the believer's duty to bless (25:31-46). All three parables deal with stewardship and the consequences of wise investment whether for ourselves, for others or for the Kingdom. Generosity is commended because it reflects the very heart of the Father toward all creation. God gives beyond the boundary and those who are of Him will do the same! If we sow generously, we will reap generously!

So as we enter 2016, consider what you will sow into and how much you will sow to determine what you want to reap and how much you want to reap!

Consider what you want to reap in the future and how much you want to reap concerning:

  • Your relationship with God.
  • Your own life: spiritually, physically and emotionally.
  • Your family: salvation , care, reconcilliation, provision, honour.
  • Your relationship with others: forgiveness, reconcilliation, care, support, investment.
  • The salvation of the lost: prayer, sharing the Gospel, caring, supporting.
  • The needy: provision, support, love.
  • Your church: serving, investing, supporting, honouring, spiritual gifts.
  • Your work: attitude, colleagues, honour.

"Each man should give what he has decided to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." 2 Corinthians 9:8

May God bless you richly as you generously sow into what the Spirit desires in 2016!

2016. Wie säen wir weiter?!

Gerade jetzt, ganz am Anfang des Neuen Jahrs, bin ich sicher, dass sich viele von uns Veränderung in ihrem Leben wünschen. Es ist aber klar, dass keine veränderten Ergebnisse erwarten können, wenn wir weiterhin das tun, was wir in der Vergangenheit auch getan haben. Jemand sagte einmal “Es ist geisteskrank immer und wieder dasselbe zu tun und andere Resultate zu erwarten!“ Mit anderen Worten, wenn Du weiterhin denselben Samen aussäst, kannst du nicht erwarten, eine andere Ernte einzubringen!

Wo hinein wirst du säen?

"Irrt euch nicht, Gott lässt sich nicht verspotten! Denn was ein Mensch sät, das wird er auch ernten. Denn wer auf sein Fleisch sät, wird vom Fleisch Verderben ernten; wer aber auf den Geist sät, wird vom Geist ewiges Leben ernten" Galater 6:7,8

Das Saatgut, das wir aussäen, wird entweder destruktiv oder konstruktiv sein. Wenn wir das säen, was unserer sündigen Natur gefällt, werden wir negative Konsequenzen ernten; aber wenn wir das säen, was dem Heiligen Geist gefällt, werden wir die Fülle des Lebens ernten.

Das zu säen, was dem Geist Gottes gefällt, liegt nicht in unserer menschlichen Natur. Der Apostel Paulus sagt sogar, dass die Wünsche der sündigen Natur konträr zum Geist sind und dass sie miteinander im Konflikt stehen. (Gal. 5:17). Um aber dem Geist Gottes gefallend zu säen, muss der Gläubige sich diszipliniert bemühen, seine eigenen, natürlichen, Wünsche zu überwinden. Ein großartiges Beispiel dafür finden wir in Matthäus 26:36-46 wo die Jünger sich hängen ließen und "schliefen und ruhten" anstatt zu "wachen und beten." Jesus sagte dazu: "der Geist willig, aber das Fleisch ist schwach". Und so müssen wir verstehen, dass wir, um geistliche Samen zu säen, die Schwachheit unseres Leibes überwinden müssen. In Gethsemane, hat Jesus all seine Emotionen (26:38), seinen Willen l (26:39) und auch seine physische Müdigkeit (26:40) überwunden, um den Willen des Vaters zu erfüllen. Wenn selbst Jesus "Gehorsam lernte”  dann müssen wir das sicherlich auch (siehe Hebr. 5:7-10)!

Wir alle säen etwas. Die Frage ist “Säen wir, um uns selbst zu gefallen, oder um dem Heiligen Geist zu gefallen?“

Wieviel wirst du säen?

"Erinnere dich an dies: Wer sparsam sät, wird sparsam ernten; und wer segensreich sät, wird auch segensreich ernten." 2. Kor. 9:6

Wir müssen großzügig säen, wenn wir großzügig ernten wollen. Um großzügig zu säen, müssen wir bereit sein, über unsere natürlichen Erwartungen und Begrenzungen hinaus zu säen. Eine übernatürliche Ernte kommt von einem übernatürlichen Investment – Alson das säen, was über das Natürliche hinausgeht.

Als Verwalter dessen, was Gott uns anvertraut – ob nun bezüglich unserer Gaben, Talente, Finanzen, Zeit, Energie, Beziehungen, Offenbarung, etc., können wir diese Dinge für uns selbst, zum Segen anderer oder als Investition nutzen. Wir sehen diese drei Prinzipien in Matthäus 25:1-46, wo Jesus darüber lehrt, dass die Gläubigen bereit sein (25:1-13), investieren (25:14-30) und segnen (25:31-46) sollten. Bei allen drei Gleichnissen geht es um Verwalterschaft und die Konsequenzen von weisen Investitionen; ob für uns selbst, für andere oder für das Königreich. Großzügigkeit wird empfohlen, weil dies das Herz des Vaters für seine Schöpfung wiederspiegelt. Gott gibt uns über alle Grenzen hinaus und die, die von ihm abstammen, tun dasselbe. Wenn wir großzügig säen, werden wir großzügig ernten!

Nun in 2016, bedenke, wohinein du säen möchtest und wie viel du hinein säen möchtest – den das wird festlegen, was du ernten möchtest und wieviel! Bedenke, was du in folgenden Bereichen zukünftig ernten möchtest und wieviel: 
  • Deine Beziehung zu Gott.
  • Dein eigenes Leben: Geistlich, physisch, emotional.
  • Deine Familie: Errettung, Fürsorge, Versöhnung, Versorgung, Ehre.
  • Deine Beziehung zu anderen: Vergebung, Versöhnung, Versorgung, Unterstützung, Investition
  • Die Errettung der Verlorenen: Gebet, das Evangelium weitergeben, Unterstützen, Fürsorge
  • Die Bedürftigen: Versorgung, Unterstützung, Liebe.
  • Deine Gemeinde: Dienen, investieren, unterstützen, ehren, geistliche Gaben.
  • Deine Arbeit: Haltung, Kollegen, Ehre.

"Jeder gebe, wie er sich in seinem Herzen vorgenommen hat: nicht mit Verdruss oder aus Zwang, denn einen fröhlichen Geber liebt Gott. Gott aber vermag euch jede Gnade überreichlich zu geben, damit ihr in allem allezeit alle Genüge habt und überreich seid zu jedem guten Werk."  Korinther 9:7 und 8
Möge Gott euch reichlich segnen, so wie ihr großzügig in das hinein sät, wonach sich der Geist Gottes in 2016 sehnt!

Tuesday 28 July 2015

Pray without ceasing!

"Ransomed men need no longer pause in fear to enter the Holy of Holies. God wills that we should push on into His Presence and live our whole life there. This is to be known to us in conscious experience. It is more than a doctrine to be held, it is a life to be enjoyed every moment of every day." A.W.Tozer

Prayer is life in Christ. 1 John 5:12
Prayer is being God-conscious - a life lived in the reality of God's presence. Heb. 11:1,6
Prayer is remaining - a life that abides in the enveloping experience of Jesus. John 15:4
Prayer is participating - a life that feeds on the Bread of heaven and is filled with Him. John 6:57
Prayer is communing - a life entwined in dialogue with God. Matthew 17:5
Prayer is reflecting - a life unveiled in the face of God and echoing His glory. 2 Cor. 3:18

Through our faith in Christ, we are reconciled to God. We, therefore, not only have access to God, but are called to live our lives in God's presence all the time. To pray continually is to live in Christ, to be aware of Him, to remain in Him, to draw from Him, to interact with Him and to reflect His very being as we are filled with Him. Prayer is not an occasional spiritual discipline but a continuing spiritual necessity for life. Let us live our lives in Christ. Let us pray!

Pray without ceasing! 1 Thess. 5:17

Monday 8 June 2015

Müssen wir unvollkommenen Leitern gehorchen?

 Image courtesy of stockimages at

,,Gehorcht euren Führern und fügt euch ihnen." Hebräer 13,17

Voraussetzung für Gehorsam

Der häufigste Einwand, warum man einem Leiter nicht gehorsam sein will, besteht darin, dass er oder sie es nicht verdient hätte! Offensichtlich ist es eine Voraussetzung für vollständigen Gehorsam, dass der Leiter perfekt ist und dass er perfekt leitet. In seiner Weisheit hat Gott jedoch in der Gemeinde und auch in der Welt unvollkommene Leiter eingesetzt. Da haben wir’s! Wir sind fein raus. Da müssen wir ja keinem Leiter gehorchen, richtig?

Eine Herzensangelegenheit

Eine ähnliche Frage wurde Jesus gegenüber aufgeworfen. Nachdem ein Gesetzes-Experte die korrekte  Antwort hinsichtlich des größten Gebots gegeben hatte, fragte der Gesetzes-Experte Jesus selbstgefällig: „Und wer ist denn mein Nächster?“ (siehe Lukas 10,25-37). Jesus durchschaute allerdings die Selbstgerechtigkeit im Herzen des Mannes, dessen Frage eigentlich lautete: „Wer verdient es überhaupt, geliebt zu werden?“ Als Entgegnung erzählt Jesus das Gleichnis vom barmherzigen Samariter und dreht damit die Frage um, indem er den Gesetzes-Experten fragte: „Welcher von diesen Dreien ist deiner Meinung nach nun der Nächste dessen gewesen, der unter die Räuber gefallen ist?“. Jesus geht damit gegen den Zustand des Herzen Mannes an, das gesetzlich geprägt war. Die Frage ist nicht: „Wer verdient es, geliebt zu werden?“ Die Frage lautet vielmehr: „Wie ist deine Herzenshaltung anderen gegenüber?“ Genauso ist die falsche Fragestellung: „Wer hat es verdient, dass wir ihm gehorchen?“ Vielmehr müssen wir fragen: „Wie ist deine Herzenseinstellung Leitern und Autoritäten gegenüber?“

Gott oder Menschen gehorchen?

Manche mögen hier einwenden: „Solange ich Gottes Autorität gehorche, muss ich mich keinem Menschen unterordnen“. Das Problem mit dieser Einstellung ist, dass unser gewöhnliches Verhalten unseren geistlichen Zustand widerspiegelt. Johannes spricht genau dieses Prinzip an, wenn er schreibt: „Wenn jemand sagt: »Ich liebe Gott«, und hasst doch seinen Bruder, so ist er ein Lügner; denn wer seinen Bruder nicht liebt, den er sieht, wie kann der Gott lieben, den er nicht sieht? Und dieses Gebot haben wir von ihm, dass, wer Gott liebt, auch seinen Bruder lieben soll“ (1. Johannes 4,20-21). Wir unterliegen einer Selbsttäuschung, wenn wir denken, wir könnten ein gehorsames Herz Gott gegenüber haben, ohne uns menschlichen Leitern unterzuordnen. Gottgegebene Autorität dient dazu, gehorsame Herzen zu entwickeln, die unsere Haltung Gott gegenüber dadurch enthüllt, wie wir uns einander unterordnen. „Ihr Knechte, gehorcht euren leiblichen Herren mit Furcht und Zittern, in Einfalt eures Herzens, als dem Christus … dient mit gutem Willen dem Herrn und nicht den Menschen“ (Epheser 6,5-7). Das gleiche Prinzip gilt auch für Ehepartner, für Eltern und Kinder und sogar für die Unterordnung unter staatliche Gewalt (siehe Römer 13,1-2). Natürlich sollen wir uns nicht ungöttlichen Leitern oder ungöttlicher Führung unterordnen die den Willen Gottes nicht tun, aber das ist nicht der Punkt, den ich hier machen möchte. Es geht mir hier vielmehr ganz generell um die allgemeine Herzenseinstellung gegenüber Autorität.

Wie kann man eine bessere Einstellung gegenüber Autorität und unvollkommene Leiter und Führung entwickeln?

„Gehorcht euren Führern und fügt euch ihnen; denn sie wachen über eure Seelen als solche, die einmal Rechenschaft ablegen werden, damit sie das mit Freuden tun und nicht mit Seufzen; denn das wäre nicht gut für euch! Betet für uns!“ (Hebräer 13,17-18)

Unsere Haupt-Motivation für aufrichtige Unterordnung muss es sein, der Mission zu dienen! Gott ernennt Leiter, damit sie die Menschen so führen, dass sie seine Absichten umsetzen. Leiter haben einen Auftrag auszuführen und sie brauchen dabei Unterstützung. Leiter trainieren den Leib Christi und rüsten ihn so aus, dass er geistlich wächst und dazu in der Lage ist, dass jeder seinen Auftrag ausführen kann (siehe Epheser 4,11-16). Unterordnung unter Leiter dient dem höheren Anliegen, dass Gott verherrlicht wird. Es geht nicht um den Leiter! Es geht um die Mission, die auszuführen ist. Unsere Einstellung einem Leiter gegenüber wird ihn/sie entweder behindern und belasten, oder sie wird ihm/ihr bei seiner/ihrer Leitungsaufgabe Freude bereiten. Wenn man nur alles kritisiert oder ständig die Unvollkommenheiten des Leiters herausstellt, dann hilft das in keiner Weise bei der Aufgabenerfüllung. Aber Unterstützung, Hilfe und Gebet für den Leiter werden hilfreich bei der Erfüllung der Aufgabe sein. Es nützt auch den „Gefolgsleuten“ überhaupt nichts, dem Leiter unnötige Lasten aufzubürden, sondern es behindert nur das gemeinsame Werk. Wir müssen im Hinterkopf behalten, dass wir einem übergeordneten Ziel dienen, und dass es diesem Ziel dient, wenn wir die Verantwortung des Leiters achten und ehren. Leiter sind nicht deshalb Leiter, weil sie vollkommen sind. Sie sind Leiter, weil ihnen eine Verantwortung übertragen wurde.

Ich möchte euch ermutigen, dass ihr entschlossen ein gehorsames Herz gegenüber Autoritäten und Leitern in eurem Leben entwickelt. Macht Ihre Verantwortung zu einer Freude! Und so geht es:

  • Bete für eure Leiter (Eltern, Lehrer, Chefs, Regierungsbeamten, Pastoren usw.)
  • Ermutigt eure Leiter
  • Unterstützt eure Leiter nach Kräften
  • Dankt euren Leitern

Friday 29 May 2015

Why follow imperfect leaders?

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"Obey your leaders and submit to their authority." Hebrews 13:17

Condition for obedience

The most common objection to obeying a leader is that s/he doesn't deserve to be obeyed! It seems that the condition for perfect obedience requires perfect leaders and perfect leadership. However, in God's wisdom, He has placed imperfect leaders who lead imperfectly in the Church and in the world. So that's it. We're off the hook. We don't need to obey any leaders then. Right?

A matter of the heart

A similar question was raised with Jesus. After giving Jesus the correct answer concerning the greatest commandments, the expert in the law smugly asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbour?" (see Luke 10:25-37). Jesus saw right through the man's self-righteous heart that was actually asking, "Who deserves to be loved?" In response, Jesus tells the parable of the merciful Samaritan and turns the question around by asking the expert in the law, "Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?" Jesus addresses the condition of the expert in the law's heart. The question is not "Who deserves to be loved?" Rather, the question is, "What is your heart attitude toward others?" Similarly, the question is not, "Who deserves to be obeyed?" Rather it is, "What is your heart attitude toward leaders and authority?"

Obedience to God or man?

Some may object and say, "As long as I am obedient to God's authority, I don't need to submit to any man." The problem with this attitude is that what we are in the natural is a reflection of what we are in the spiritual. John addresses this very principle when he writes, "If anyone says, 'I love God,' yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother." (1 John 4:20,21). We deceive ourselves when we think we can have a submissive heart toward God but not to human leaders. God-given authority serves to develop submissive hearts that reveal one's attitude toward God by the way we submit to one another. Paul writes, "Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ....Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord." (Ephesians 6:5,7). The same principle applies to husbands and wives, parents and children as well as to submitting to governing authorities (see Romans 13:1,2). Obviously we are not to submit to ungodly leaders or leadership but that is not the issue I want to address here but rather the attitide of our hearts toward authority in general.

How can one develop a better attitude toward authority and imperfect leaders and leadership?

"Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you. Pray for us." Hebrews 13:17-18

Our primary motivation for sincere submission must be to serve the mission! God appoints leaders to lead people to fulfill His purposes. Leaders have a job to do and they need help. Leaders teach and equip so that Body of Christ will mature and be equipped so that everyone can do his or her work (see Ephesians 4:11-16). Submission to leaders serves the greater purpose to glorify God. It is not about the leader! It is about the mission that needs to be fulfilled. Our attitude toward a leader will either hinder him or her and burden him or her or it will help make his or her leadership a joy. Criticizing and exposing the leader's imperfections does not help get the job done. Supporting, helping and praying for the leader will help get the job done. When the leader is burdened, it is of no advantage to the "followers" because the work is hindered. We must keep in mind that we are serving the greater good and that honouring the leader's responsibility will help get the job done. Leaders are not leaders because they are perfect. They are leaders because they carry a responsibility.

I want to encourage you to be purposeful about developing a submissive heart toward authority and leaders in your life. Make their responsibility a joy! Here is how:
  • Pray for your leaders (parents, teachers, bosses, presidents, pastors, etc).
  • Encourage your leaders.
  • Help your leaders.
  • Thank your leaders.